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Lula company stays busy designing arctic props
Foam sculpted into 'ice' igloos, caves
Paul Hubbard puts the final paint touches on a piece to be part of an ice themed group of sculptures made from Styrofoam Wednesday morning at Shape Innovation in Lula.

A Lula company is busy transforming blocks of foam into a winter wonderland for a major event in Washington state.

Shape Innovation Inc. has created two glittery igloos and ice bars, an ice tunnel and a giant ice cave for the Washington event whose guest list will include Miss America and the governor of Washington.

This impressive project began when the client visited the company's website and made a simple request for an "enchanted arctic evening."

"They basically just sent us an idea and we came up with the details," said Molly Hubbard, co-owner of Shape Innovations Inc.

The client merely told Hubbard they wanted an ice cave and a tunnel big enough for people to walk through. After that they had the creative freedom to design the giant foam pieces.

"We gave them drawings and they were like ‘Yes, continue, keep going,'" said Paul Hubbard, co-owner of Shape Innovations Inc.

The project has taken nearly 45 days to complete with almost half of that time spent in design.

The problem in designing something this large is determining how to transport it. They decided the best way was to assemble it into multiple pieces.

Once the basic design was completed they started by cutting into the blocks of foam using hot-wire machines and then hand carved details onto the structure. After the shape and texture were completed the project was airbrushed and glittered to give it an icy effect.

Hubbard said she has "really enjoyed" working on this project.

"Working here in general is fun because every day is different. Every day we have a new project going on so everybody gets to be really creative and you don't get bored," Molly Hubbard said.

Shape Innovation Inc., formerly called Shape Formation, specialized in making architectural foam for such things as columns and moldings for many years before the building market declined.

Today the bulk of the company's work involves making props for events, trade shows and movies.

"Our customer base includes almost everybody from every industry, which is great. That is what has helped us with the economy. We've been able to focus on different products," Molly Hubbard said.

The company makes everything from foam cakes to props used to demonstrate evidence in legal cases.

Their client list includes several movies and TV shows such as "Vampire Diaries," "Life as We know it," and "Sweet Home Alabama."

"That's fun too when you actually make the prop and then you see it in the movie," Molly Hubbard said.