Frame Awards honours the best trade fair stands at Orgatec 2018

Cologne – We handed our jury members a difficult task: select the most innovative uses of colour, light and material among the exhibitors at this year’s Orgatec fair, and then select an overall winner. The first challenge? Each and every one of these potential nominees, from the brands to the designers in charge of the stands, are part of the industry’s already competitive highest echelon. It was, to put it lightly, an embarrassment of riches.

The second challenge? You’re looking at it right now: What role does the trade fair stand have in an increasingly digitized world? At Frame, our awards go beyond recognizing the outstanding work of companies and designers; we use them as conduits to engage in debate than can further innovation in a range of interior-design industries. This new era we are entering into requires us to address how the concept of the traditional trade fair will evolve to remain relevant. As Orgatec, one of the largest trade fair shows of its kind, unites the increasingly blending contract, home, workplace and hospitality markets, we thought it would be a perfect place to have this timely conversation.

That’s why the four leaders that emerged from the selections made by Mike Meiré, from branding agency Meiré Meiré, UNStudio’s William de Boer and Barbara Hickl of Hicklvesting PR are particularly commendable: they all helped build brand equity within this complex contemporary business landscape.

If our obsession with the upgrade-and-the-update cycle means that we produce enormous amounts of waste and excess, how might these ideas of reuse be worked into the design of trade fair stands?

For example: addressing the crowd at our awards ceremony, Meiré spoke about how companies should focus more on sustainable design, and steer away from the temptation of continuously building new things. If our obsession with the upgrade-and-the-update cycle means that we produce enormous amounts of waste and excess, how might these ideas of reuse be worked into the design of trade fair stands?

De Boer, himself a product designer, shared that vision: he spoke of his hopes of the more proliferate usage of sustainable building materials in the near future, eventually undermining our dependency on new productions.

Think of how this can impact B2B industries, closed off to the outside world: they can start investing more in experience that could in turn create more brand equity

And even beyond that, should trade fair stands be more performative? As the three jury members and our director, Robert Thiemann, discussed on stage, we now focus a lot on customer experience, but trade-fair stands often act as booths for business stakeholders to view. This year’s Orgatec indeed saw a shift towards the more experiential aspects of product display, and our selection of the overall winner confirms that a cinematic experience, harnessing light and material in innovative ways, might be the future of the trade fair. Think of how this can impact B2B industries, closed off to the outside world: they can start investing more in experience that could in turn create more brand equity.

As people photograph and share their experiences with their own communities online, the trade fair becomes elevated above and beyond the traditional material product showcase. Here are our selections for the stands that, certainly, went above and beyond.

BEST USE OF COLOUR

Winner: De Vorm by De Vorm

Jury member Barbara Hickl commented on the colour trends at this year’s fair: the strong palettes and the softer, natural tones complemented the textural materials used specifically in De Vorm’s stand.

 

BEST USE OF LIGHT

Winner: Kokuyo by Kokuyo Furniture

'It harnesses lighting in a way that showcases the product in a beautiful, almost otherworldly way,’ said jury member Mike Meiré.

 

BEST USE OF MATERIAL

Winner: Molo by Molo Studio

‘Molo really took the holistic approach in terms of usage of material and the showcase of its product,’ explained de Boer.

 

TRADE FAIR STAND OF THE YEAR

Winner: Kokuyo by Kokuyo Furniture

Two stand designs stood out in particular, both vastly different from one another: on the one hand one stand was stark yet almost cinematic and otherworldly, while the other was inviting, warm, and sweeping, creating the perfect environment for fluidity of movement and communication. This polarity demonstrated the difference in the approaches of the companies creating the stands and their response to the needs of the market, as well as the opinions of the jury. In the end, Kokuyo by Kokuyo furniture took the prize, with Vitra’s Work Campus as a runner-up.

 

This edition of our awards was made possible by our partner, the German trade association for the design of work environments (IBA). Discover more about the Frame Awards and our next editions here.

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