2017 SEGD Arrow Award Recipient SH Immersive Environments

2017 SEGD Arrow Award: SH Immersive Environments

The SEGD Arrow Award recognizes exemplary service or dedication to advancing technologies and manufacturing in experiential graphic design, and striving to provide the highest quality in products and services to the field. Recipients of the SEGD Arrow Award have advanced new manufacturing processes, led the development of innovative new products, and championed sustainable practices and materials. Past winners include 3M, Neiman & Company, CREO Industrial Arts, Matthews Paint and Nova Polymers.

Innovative design solutions fabrication firm SH Immersive Environments was founded in 1975. Through the use of their exclusive FOLIA (custom high pressure laminate) and ALTO (custom powder coated graphics embedded in aluminum) products, SH Immersive Environments creates a variety of graphic surfaces including, but not limited to: signage, flooring systems, partitions, murals, cladding and tables. The company also designs, builds and installs corporate environments.

SH Immersive Environments and its president, Stephan Roy, have been strong supporters of the SEGD community since 1999. We caught up with Roy to discuss what makes the firm a success.


What sets SH Immersive Environments apart?

We strongly differentiate ourselves by our experience. With both of our durable graphics process, FOLIA (1989) & ALTO (2007), we were the very first to market.  We are true pioneers of durable graphic materials. For the past 28 years, we have produce thousands of projects and have gain significant and unparalleled experience.

And because we have an over-80,000-square-foot state-of-the-art millwork facility, we have the ability to incorporate all of our durable graphic materials onto almost any architectural element. We can build personalized and branded furniture, displays, structures, signs and much more.


How did SH Immersive Environments begin?

SH Immersive Environments was established in 1975 as Systeme Huntington Inc. or SHI, which initially specialized in the design and construction of exhibition stands, showrooms and components. The company quickly became a leading provider of graphic solutions, aided by the innovative new methods it developed and the modularity of its units.


What is the company culture like? 

It’s a passionate and creative team-based culture! We work in an open office plan with an informal atmosphere. We are a very close team and definitely all share and agree with our company values of creativity, clarity, efficiency, collaboration and respect.

We have a team of knowledgeable experts fully dedicated to our customers. Every single person at SH has an impact on every project by bringing their experience, their ideas and solutions to the table. Most of our staff members have been part of our team for over 10 years. We have produced thousands of projects and understand all the circumstances and challenges designers often face when elaborating a project.


What projects were critical milestones for your company?

One was the construction of a major theme park resort. We built furniture using over 6,000 sheets of our custom high pressure laminate. The project was very exciting for us. It was awarded to us because of our color matching capabilities, the overall quality and durability of our process and the technical capabilities of our team. At that moment, we knew that we were a leader in our industry. 

Another highly significant project for us was the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission). After four years of extensive product testing, our ALTO signs received the highest marks for every single aspect evaluated.


What is the best part of working with experiential graphic design professionals?

For us, it’s the level of creativity they bring to projects and how they can make wayfinding exciting. Working with experiential graphic designers has made us better over the years by pushing our limits and helping us find creative uses for our materials. 


What’s the most rewarding thing about your work?

Very simply, a happy client and a few pictures of their finished project. We make sure everyone in our company sees it.  It makes everyone very proud, gives a sentiment of accomplishment and motivation for future projects. 

Also, since our material is widely spread around North America, every one of us is always happy to see our signs somewhere unexpectedly. For example, one family vacation, my kids looked at every single sign we saw during our trip to make sure it was an SH sign. Most of them were!


How did your relationship with SEGD begin?

We joined SEGD in 1999. A client of ours recommended we joined the association and after looking into it, we realized it was a perfect fit. 


What role does participation in SEGD play in your company?

SEGD membership has been amazing for us—it has greatly helped us deepen our knowledge and understanding of the needs and applications for experiential graphics. It’s been a truly educational journey for us and at the same time, has allowed us to develop meaningful relationships with other members.


What materials/methods for fabrication are you developing now?

For years, we have been consistently doing research and development with the goal of improving our offerings. Even though we have been producing ALTO for over 10 years, we feel we have so much more to explore using aluminum.


What do you see as the future of the field or for your business?

Experiential graphic design is everywhere and will always be! It isn't until you work in this field that you realize how ever-present wayfinding is, for example: how we rely on it and how it touches our everyday life. We have been in business for 42 years now and we are predicting a major expansion in the next two years.


>>> More about Stephan Roy and SH Immersive Environments.

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