USA National and Student Exhibit – BUILD, pt. 3, conduit and more conduit.

Paul and Brad continued to research different ways to create the curly q’s and spiraled metal. We were glad to have the minds of Paul and Brad on the team to figure this out, as we knew it was not an easy task. We needed to use a material that was lightweight and malleable in order to bend into curls. Klara approached Paul during a design meeting with small gauge wire wrapped around a pencil and then pulled apart in different sized curls. How were we going to create that in full scale?

After deciding to use conduit pipe, we used hossfeld bending dies and a shop made bending jig to fit the conduit pieces in and manually bend the pipe that we picked up from Menards. Klara and the design team wanted various sizes of spirals, twists and curls, and the trick was to bend the pipe without causing kinks in the turns.


All of us bent at least a pipe or two, it was cool to see how each one ending up being a unique shape. We were glad when the conduit was all bent, and a bit anxious when we knew the next step was to put them all together….


Katie Gruenhagen

Katie Gruenhagen is a lighting designer and photographer living in Denver, Colorado. She recently received her M.F.A. in Lighting Design from Indiana University. Katie is the photographer and blogger covering the USITT Student Build Team for the U.S.A. National and Student Exhibits at the Prague Quadrennial 2015. As a part of the Indiana University Student Build Team, she has also served as a carpenter and electrician for the National Exhibit. At Indiana University, she was the lighting designer for nine main stage productions including Romeo and Juliet (award winning design at the 2014 Southeastern Theater Conference) and Into The Woods. To see her work and contact information, see