The brief was to design an exhibitor stand for ZIP Water which was immersive, educational, experiential and exciting. We chose to focus on fetishizing the product, to display it with a sense of dominance and artefact - highlighting the inherent design attributes of the objects.
Initially the brief was to design a static space that had a bar and some chairs on a built-up floor with branding all over it. Our response to that was... ‘why?’ As designers, our role is to challenge expectations and make people think, so we responded to the brief with a totally unexpected concept. A space that had no fixed boundary but also contained activity and intrigue.
In a scenario such as a trade show with overwhelming branding, our strategy was to create a tranquil space that used the architecture not the branding to establish its presence amongst the other vendors. As designers we are not bound by bricks and mortar, we need to think creatively beyond our fields. In this instance, we proposed an idea that we dubbed as ‘soft branding’ that would speak louder through the architecture than the use of traditional banners and logos of previous trade shows. The pavilions only sign was a small neon light that sat not on the outside, but within the tassels, obscuring the sign and affirming the importance of the architecture over the branding.
The principle concept looks towards an abstraction of water, to create a fluid boundary within which the products could float. Like a body of water, the volume created by hanging tassels obscured the internal spaces from beyond to create an ethereal floating cube, while on closer engagement spaces were carved from the whole to enable movement of people and prominence of product. The mirrored plinths which anchored the tapware range became islands of activity, enabling viewing and appreciation of the product in ‘display’ mode, and tall tables for congregating around in ‘party’ mode. The concept seeks to explore the relationship between spatial experience and human interaction/ engagement. Transparent and intriguing, the space felt light and gracious - standing out from the generally cluttered designs of industry exhibition events.
Further to the concept of soft branding, we wanted to challenge the status quo of the tradeshow consumption. With a lifespan of two days, we sought to design a space that utilized the least amount of material whilst maximizing the site. The total suspended weight of the canopy was circa 250kg and all of the materials used were recycled.