If you want to present yourself at a trade show in style, you don’t choose a turnkey exhibition booth, but a custom booth instead – custom-made so to speak. For the past 17 years, interior designer Enno Block has passionately erected small structures for the Trade Fair Düsseldorf, which –even though they are not permanent structures- leave a permanent impression. He reveals how he is able to transform a booth into a living room in the middle of a huge exhibition hall. He also gives us a look behind the scenes and shows us which trends and visual delicacies we can expect at the next EuroShop.
Mr. Block, what does individual booth construction actually mean?
This kind of booth is entirely custom-made and designed. Just like building a single family home. The architect sits down with the family and asks: what would you like? What does the property look like and how much money do you have to spend? What are your key aspects? And what can we do for you? Afterwards, together with the family - in our case together with the exhibitor – the architect designs the booth.
How long does such a custom-made design take?
It depends on the size, which ranges from 80 square meters all the way to entire pavilions. The ‘Boat’ Trade Fair in part has booths that are up to 2,500 square meters in size, of which one thousand square meters are double-stacked. We need about one year of lead time for these types of booths. Recently, we implemented a highly customized booth at the A+A Trade Fair for the exhibitor Uvex – with actually one and a half years of preliminary work. As soon as the old ‘A+A' is over, we already get together with the marketing department again and design booths for the next trade show.
This type of booth can cost several thousand Euros.
Yes, but they are the goodies for us booth builders. But you can also get booths for less money.
The most affordable custom-made booth I can get from you ... ... is a 50 square meter individual booth construction at 250 Euros per square meter. You have to do the math on this one.
What is important for companies these days when it comes to their booth design?
More and more, exhibitors no longer want to ostensibly present their product. It takes a backseat, while the company takes centre stage. Today, people come to the booth or talk things over in a lounge. This is the 'new way to exhibit things'.
You meet, talk and discuss. You are invited and have the chance to order products in a relaxed atmosphere. Machinery trade shows are actually the only pure product shows that are still left.
An exhibition hall by itself is not really comfortable to have a sales conversation. How can you create ambiance with a very large booth?
We have a few tricks up our sleeves. You also have to be familiar with the trade show and the market: where am I personally located at the trade show and what is my environment like and who is my neighbour? If you want to have a relaxed atmosphere and would like to build your lounge or your 'living room', you need to pull out all the stops. This is done with the materials we choose and particularly with lighting. The right lighting is already half the battle. And then you also need warm materials and great furnishings.
What is the appeal for you to build booths?
What I appreciate the most is that I always need to remain flexible. Even though I am able to build a few monuments, because the booths are not permanent, but this is not the appeal. After all, not everything you do always turns out good. I have to be prepared for a 'EuroShop', a 'Boat Trade Show' as well as a 'MEDICA'. That means, I need to do research and cannot build everything the same way. A booth at the Boat Show has other parameters than a booth at the MEDICA. The exhibitor, the visitors and the market are completely different. What’s interesting is to deal with these issues and design a custom-fit.
What exciting things can we expect at next year‘s EuroShop?
Quite a few things! The EuroShop is our event of course. This is where the industry, the booth builders, interior designers and shopfitters get together. All the people we also always deal with. They showcase and measure themselves and their products. This is super exciting. The EuroShop is one of those trade fairs that allows us to reach deep into our bag of tricks.
There is the Lighting Designers' Zone for instance. Designers will present innovative lighting solutions there, which cannot be seen yet anywhere else. Those companies are really going to show their stuff. This time, the Designer Village is going to be outstanding – this is a concept area where hip designers, agencies and architecture firms are going to meet. They rent equal concept areas within this overall zone to showcase their products, and we design this space.
What would be your dream project?
There are always great projects. I like building large projects, across half a hall and with high standards, whenever possible. Those are challenges I love to meet. Once we built an entire pavilion for the Metro. The Metro Trade Fair wanted to show what it can do. There was great emphasis on design and decor. That was a super project.
Author: Natascha Mörs; EuroShop First publication at iXtenso.com