- by Michael S. Eddy
in Company 411
You probably have heard recently about Cosmic Truss’ award-winning booth design at this year’s LDI where they displayed a giant skull — which looked like it came straight out of hell — made entirely from truss. While many assumed that the huge skull was all custom, in fact it was almost completely stock pieces with minor custom bits. PLSN caught up with Cosmic Truss’ brand director, David Park and sales manager, Paul Saghbazarian to talk about Cosmic Truss, what’s new, and what they’ve been up to lately beyond building awesome truss skulls.
Distributed by GLP
Cosmic Truss was established in 2011 as a part of the realignment of Global Truss’ distribution in the U.S. market. Cosmic Truss is now distributed via German Light Products (GLP) in both North and South America. Saghbazarian and Park handle Cosmic Truss sales for North and South America, working closely with GLP, and both are based in the company’s Los Angeles-area location.
“We share the GLP sales staff and work with GLP America’s president, Mark Ravenhill and his four regional sales managers — Rick Fallon, Dusty Hudgins, Jamey Brock and Dave Barten, as well as the rest of the GLP staff,” explains Park. Cosmic does have one sales rep company and a series of stocking dealers in their territories, but for the most part, all of the products are stocked and supplied out of the GLP office in Sun Valley, CA.
“We use the four regional sales managers at GLP as our eyes and ears out in the market,” Park adds. “We have one in each region of the country — the Northeast, Southeast, Central, and West. They have a lot of knowledge and experience with truss and production, most have over 10 to 15 years; some have 20 years of experience; they’ve been in the business for a long time. They will go out and get projects from their customers and bring them over to us; we’ll work on them in house and send those projects back out to GLP with what they need for the sale.”
The Cosmic Truss products are based around conical truss design and are primarily marketed towards the installation market. “Obviously, there are the big three truss companies with Thomas, Tomcat, and Total; those guys have been around for a long time but mostly do production work,” says Park. “They also do quite a bit of installation work as well but because of their price point we do well in the installation market.”
Recent Cosmic Truss installations and projects include the BMW Expo, Citi Presents The Grove Summer Concert Series at The Grove in LA, the television special Legends: OWN at the Apollo with a production design by Matt Shimamoto, and for Madame Tussauds venue re-designs in New York and Las Vegas that were handled by designer Herrick Goldman.
“Cosmic Truss has been around for about five years now,” says Park. “Our factory was one of the very first ones to bring a conical truss into the United States and be successful at it. There are a couple of other companies that tried, but they weren’t very successful until Global Truss came along in 2001.” Today there are other players in this part of the truss market that have similar products, but to Park, he sees them mostly sticking with standard, stock products.
“We do a lot of custom work along with our stock sales,” he comments. “Whether it be from our factory in China or work that we do here locally in Los Angeles, we use regular pieces and add custom pieces as needed. The skull that we won the ‘Best Product Presentation’ award for at LDI is an example of this principle. I was told that it was the most photographed item at the show.”
He continues, “The skull itself is a version of one that had been conceived earlier by Australian designer Aldo Fabrizio in collaboration with Cosmic’s territorial distributor in Australia, Design Quintessence Pty Ltd. We wanted to highlight that truss can really be used as a design feature, not just as a structural element. The skull itself combines standard off-the-shelf components — like the arcs and corner blocks — along with a few custom pieces like the eyes and teeth. I think that it really exemplifies the fact that, with a strong concept and a creative design team, truss can become a high impact, expressive statement. We’re grateful to the LDI judges who acknowledged the impact that it made at the show. LDI was a huge success, and we are also grateful for the support that we received from our manufacturing staff in getting this complex structure made in just a couple of weeks.”
Interfacing with clients is important, and the Cosmic Truss team meets designers and end-users at industry trade shows as well as those who reach them through the Internet or call them directly. At the Los Angeles office, they handle a fair amount of designs that come in, but for the most complex ones they send those designs to their China manufacturing headquarters.
“For more complicated drawings we’ll send over to the factory in China and they handle those design requests,” Park explains. “A lot of times it’s a quicker turnaround on getting the CADD files back because the factory in China work the opposite hours as we do. If I get something today and I have to CADD it up and can’t do it because we are busy, I’ll send it to China and they can get to it their next morning. They will finish it up and then I’ll quickly have an answer to my customer. It’s like we don’t really lose any time. We’ve got that routine down pretty well at this point.”
The recent LDI was also launching pad for a range of new products from Cosmic. Their booth team at LDI was promoting its new range of rugged staging platforms complete with standard sections and curved pieces. Other products that work with the new staging include steps as well as a full set of handrail and balustrade accessories. They also showed off a variety of new adaptor plates, corner sections and some new additions to the range of clamps and couplers.
The company prides itself on providing a range of market-driven product solutions to everyday trussing needs. “All of the new items that we showed were really well received by customers,” Saghbazarian comments. “We supported them with the new staging range and other existing products, like our safety barrier range; they’ve all been shipping since the show ended, so we are very pleased with the response to our products.”
Park sees that, for a lot of people, the last thing that they think about is truss. He’d like to change that thinking and have designers and end-users think about other ways to creatively use truss in their productions.
“You know, they’ll get their lighting; they’ll get their other stuff; and they need to hang it. So they’ll try to find some way of hanging it, and they default back into trussing basically. But it’s not just an element where it holds other products. I think that you can bring a creative side into it; to build into your project.”
Things may be changing, however, as larger productions get more creative in their use of truss. “It’s out there, part of the design, they put it into the design elements of the shows and overall look of the show. I would like to see more of that kind of thinking, where it’s actually something that you could bring it out and make it interesting. At Cosmic we have the team to help support that kind of design thinking. We have a strong team at our office here in LA and at our factory. The factory team is a very big part of our company.”
Park sums up his experience and love for all things truss related. “All I’ve been doing for my career is truss; that’s all I know how to do! I’ve been in the industry since the early 90s; my first LDI was in Reno. It is great that it was at this year’s LDI I got to be part of causing all the buzz about truss.” It is safe to say that David Park has truss as a core element of his career DNA.
- Cosmic Truss
- When Founded: 2011
- Brand Director: David Park
- Sales Manager: Paul Saghbazarian
- Warehouse/Facility Size: 11,000 sq. ft.
- Address: 10945 Pendleton Street, Sun Valley, CA 91352
- Phone: 818-767-8899
- Affiliated With: GLP/German Light Products, Inc.
- More Info: www.cosmictruss.com