The worldwide proliferation of the selfie was inevitable from day one. Let’s face it: almost everyone has a cellphone, the great majority of them now being smartphones with cameras. A good example of this popularity was measured via a survey taken in Great Britain in 2015, which indicated 1.5 billion selfies were taken United Kingdom alone, with one in 10 people admitting to snapping one at least once a week. A more recent survey in the United States indicated that of today’s internet users almost 50% said their smartphone was the most important device for going online, compared to 37% who opted for their laptops.
In this age of selfies and social media, business are turning to selfie booths—a sort of next-generation photo kiosk—as the latest way to engage customers and build brand awareness. Global adhesives specialist Bostik did just that with its recent promotion, the Selfie Studio. The company has been on a branding mission since being purchased by Arkema in 2015.
“Bostik is very well known in Europe,” said Scott Banda, Bostik’s director of marketing and business development for North America. “We have strong market share in the B2B arena here in the States, but we know we must capture even more eyeballs to truly become a household brand name, especially because we have the horsepower and overall wherewithal to accommodate great growth.”
In 2016, inspired by a branding campaigns Bostik conducted in Europe, the company co-sponsored the mosaic competition Design’N Gather (DNG) with its originator, Artaic Innovative Mosaics, a company that designs and fabricates custom, award-winning tilework. The winning creative design was unveiled as a backlit 8' x 20' tile mural, permanently installed poolside at the MGM Grand’s Wet Republic day club in Las Vegas.
For the 2017 edition of DNG, the teams at Bostik and Artaic knew they wanted to make an even bigger impression. Working closely with Joyen Vakil, MGM Resorts International’s senior vice president of design and development, the teams agreed to stage another contest with this year’s winner unveiled at the Bellagio resort and casino as a permanent installation.
“We wanted something nouveau, something totally reflective of the essence of Las Vegas that also captured the social consciousness of a focused Vegas visitor,” Banda said. “We came up with the idea of having a veritable ‘Selfie Studio’ installed at an amazing new nightclub. Joyen offered us the venue at the height of decadence—the Hyde Bellagio. The winning mosaic would serve as the back drop for the Selfie Studio, setting it on course to be one of the most frequently photographed mosaics in the digital world.”
To execute their vision, the team transformed a small section of the nightclub into the Selfie Studio. The premise for its design was to have the winning DNG project be installed as an 8’ x 8’ backlit mosaic. Guests would be invited to pose in front of the mural and have their partying countenances captured by a special tablet-based, selfie camera program that would also email the selfie photo to whatever email address the participant entered. “It was obvious the right, most attractive and highly durable tile installation products were to be used,” Banda said. “These materials would have to complement the mural, which was to be produced using glass mosaics robotically assembled by Artaic, and incorporate Bostik Dimension RapidCure Diamond Grout, which contains 60% recycled glass that adds further illumination to any glass wall project.”
Paul King, senior project manager at Team Construction, a Las Vegas-based general contracting firm, executed the buildout. “We were given an eight-week timetable,” King said. “From original design to final installation, we had to make this happen. Luckily, the tile installation process included Bostik, Artaic, and the amazing tile contractor, T. Nickolas Company, with whom we’ve worked numerous times on some of Las Vegas’ most high-profile projects. So. from the start, we were confident we had the right, most professional team on the job.”
To best showcase the winning tile mural, King’s team constructed a backdrop using Crossville’s Laminam porcelain tile panels. One of the most exciting recent product launches within the tile sector, these large-format, thin-gauge porcelain tile panels created an elegant backdrop that allowed the colors and luminescence of the mosaic art to shine. The porcelain panels were installed using a new state-of-the-art product, Bosti-Set, which is formulated to gauged thin porcelain tile panels.
“This was the first time we had ever even heard about Bosti-Set and it was also the first time we had ever worked with Crossville’s lightweight panels,” King said. “We loved how these two products performed together right from the beginning. We discovered that per square foot, installation of Crossville’s Laminam with Bostik’s Bosti-Set was less expensive than when using traditional mortar, as the adhesive only had to be back-buttered one time on the panel or the wall but not on both. This saved a tremendous amount of time, resulted in a much more durable installation and even brought sound dampening characteristics to the new wall assembly.” To complete the wall application, the Laminam panels were then grouted with Bostik’s Dimension Onyx.
The team chose the Allways collection by Bedrosians Tile & Stone for the flooring of the Selfie Studio, which was installed using Bostik surface preparation and tile-setting products.
“This was a great, creative project, and we’re glad our product was selected,” said Eddie Bedrosian, Bedrosian’s marketing director. “It’s a beautiful, wood-look larger format porcelain tile, which is not only extremely attractive, it’s extremely durable. With all those people taking pictures of themselves, there’s no question there will continue be heavy foot traffic in the room. Clearly, our Allways collection is a product line absolutely ideal for this sort of installation.”
On the evening of May 5, 2017, with more than 600 amped-up, hospitality design thought leaders in attendance, co-emcees Banda and Dr. Ted Acworth, founder and chief executive officer of Artaic, brought the late-night soiree to its crescendo. They announced architectural designer Lisa Darroh-Pouls of Pouls Hospitality Design in of Albuquerque, New Mexico, as the grand prize winner. Vegas showgirls revealed Lisa’s creation, “Champagne Wishes,” a larger-than-life glass mosaic backdrop for what is now referred to as the “World’s Most Focal Selfie Studio.”
“This year’s competition was exceptional for Bostik because it allowed us once again to showcase our most innovative materials,” Banda said. “We used our Dimension RapidCure glass-filled grout on the backlit mosaic, our Bosti-Set adhesive to install the Crossville Laminam, our SL-175 underlayment and our Big Tile and Stone mortar to install the tile floor. The competition also allowed us to connect to the A&D community in a way that is more innovative than the typical industry standard, product-focused tactics we and our competitors traditionally use. Finally, it has brought us even closer to our partners at MGM Resorts International and several of their key subcontractors. Above all, it’s an outstanding way to make sure we are all having fun and changing our industry for the better!”