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 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 St-W, 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 , William de Boer and Barbara Hickl of 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.