Spaeth Design Expands Use of VectorWorks to Help Bring New York City's World-Renowned Animated Holiday Window Displays to Life

Columbia, Maryland (December 19, 2006)-Nemetschek North America announced today that Spaeth Design used VectorWorks in designing the elaborate holiday displays that animate the windows of the top department stores in New York City, as well as Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, and Vancouver.

The Macy's windows will be featured in the History Channel's Modern Marvels series Wednesday, December 20, at 9 p.m. The episode is called "Christmas Tech."

For more than 60 years, Spaeth Design has been creating the magical masterpieces that populate the windows of Lord & Taylor, Macy's, and Saks Fifth Avenue between Thanksgiving and Christmas for generations of holiday shoppers. This year, the New York City-based firm expanded their use of VectorWorks' 2D drafting and 3D modeling capabilities to design and construct Lord & Taylor's gazebo window, Macy's "O Christmas Tree" scenes, and Saks' snow crystals story.

"We're trying to tell a big story within a very small space, between five and seven feet deep, and ten and twelve feet wide, and it's a constant challenge to make sure our concepts translate accurately, the pieces fit precisely, and the parts move as they should to create a realistic impression," says David Spaeth, CEO of Spaeth Design. "With VectorWorks, all potential problems are solved in the design and drafting process. VectorWorks was a real lifesaver for us on these windows, because we could draw things in full scale, then use the scale command to bring them down to the window's scale to see if objects would fit in the space."

As part of Spaeth's eight-person design team, Cris Dopher, a freelance lighting and scenic designer brought in to assist for the season confirms, "For the window in which elves are blowing ornaments using a dragon's breath, we found out pretty early on that the dragon's head was turning too far and causing the streams of fire, which were silk bands, to smash up against the inside of the window and get tangled. So we limited the head turn, shortened the flames, and extended the elf's glassblowing rod in the design phase using VectorWorks, rather than spending the time, money, and materials to figure it out in the construction phase."

The firm recently added a CNC router to their shop to do all fabrication on site. What began as rough conceptual sketches and 3D physical models were translated into 2D drawings and 3D models in VectorWorks. 2D drawings were then exported to a CNC router for fabrication.

"We are really impressed with how easy it is to import VectorWorks files into our ArtCam software; the process is pretty much seamless," says Matthew Spaeth, production designer and CNC router expert. "The CNC router likes closed vectors, and it's very easy to make what you need using closed vector shapes with VectorWorks. It was amazing to see how accurate the final product turned out compared to the original vision."

Dopher adds, "My favorite part of working on these windows was seeing the crowds, young and old, take in the finished product, all staring in rapture at the wondrous details, pointing out another clever gem to each other, activating the interactive features. I was honored to be part of the Spaeth Design team that created that magic."

For more information about Spaeth Design, visit

For more information about the Modern Marvels "Christmas Tech" episode, visit

Nemetschek North America is a wholly-owned subsidiary of European software giant Nemetschek AG. A global leader in design technologies, Nemetschek N.A. has been developing CAD software for the AEC, entertainment, landscape design, and manufacturing fields since 1985. VectorWorks, its flagship product, is one of the world's best-selling cross-platform CAD applications. An all-in-one solution that's easier to learn and use and more cost-effective than most other CAD programs, VectorWorks is ideal for firms that don't have unlimited IT budgets. For more information, visit

Michelle Ervin
Marketing Manager
Nemetschek North America
7150 Riverwood Drive
Columbia, MD 21046 USA
410-290-5114, ext. 719

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