Grand Stand 6, the definitive source on trade fair stand design, is out now. Get your copy in the Frame Store and, while you’re waiting for it to be delivered, here’s a sneak peek of the interviews that introduce each of the book’s five chapters: with Fabio Calvi and Paolo Brambilla, Guido Mamczur, Jeffrey Ludlow, Philipp Beck, and Ben van Berkel.
The first Grand Stand raises the question of whether it is the stand or the contents that makes the running. How do you find the right balance between a beautiful, eye-catching stand and one that doesn’t overshadow the products on display?
FABIO CALVI and PAOLO BRAMBILLA, co-founders of Calvi Brambilla: The design of a stand must always be perfectly consistent with what it contains, or with the brand it represents. Even though fair booths have to be eye-catching to be noticed among many others, we don't like projects where the author's personal touch prevails. Especially when you're inside, the design should guide you to focus on the products, not on the stand.
How can these fleeting spaces make a lasting impact on a brand’s image?
GUIDO MAMCZUR, managing director of D’art Design Gruppe: Temporary spaces are free from the shackles of permanent buildings; they can be much more experimental, focused and provide a preview of future developments. In this respect, they are an ideal solution through which to put new strategies or concepts to the test. It’s like learning under realistic conditions. With the input, you can improve the concept and turn it into something more permanent.
Stand design is typically constrained by a tight budget and timeframe. How do you conciliate these restrictions with the need for innovative, eye-catching designs?
JEFFREY LUDLOW, principal and creative director of 2×4 Madrid: Time and budget are indeed two big challenges, as you are creating a condensed version of a brand experience, or a concise way to communicate the brand. I think the first thing to do is to not see constraints and innovations on opposite sides. Time or budgetary restrictions help you to clarify the creative process, otherwise you could spin your wheels on deciding what shade of red is right.
How do you measure the success of a stand?
PHILIPP BECK, CEO of Atelier 522: At the start of a project we define some important questions, on which its success is based. If these questions have been successfully answered and implemented, the story we constructed will be remembered and in that case, we have a successful stand. Stories help us to achieve our goals. As a powerful tool of communication, they go beyond the informative level to an emotional one. They can do what is impossible for plain information and naked figures.
Do you think technologies like virtual or augmented reality can render trade fairs obsolete?
BEN VAN BERKEL, founder and principal architect at UNStudio: I don’t believe so, for a number of reasons. Trade fairs provide a platform for very specific-themed exhibitions. They bring together relevant products and services in a very convenient, focused and condensed way. Virtual and augmented reality can certainly enable the demonstration of the potential of products, materials and concepts in a way that isn’t physically possible in the often confined spaces of the fairs, but they don’t yet adequately replace reality or the need to see, touch and feel in order to truly experience a product. These events are of course also a platform for companies to make direct connections with interested parties, potential customers and other parties in their field. Direct contact is essential to fairs but, as yet, not a facet of these technologies.