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The theme this year was “America’s Next Top Modular” inspired by a popular reality show “America’s Next Top Model.

More than 250 industry professionals came to celebrate excellence in portable and modular exhibit design at the fourth annual MOD Awards, which were held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas on March 16. Hosted by celebrity television and radio personality Leeza Gibbons, the event also raised funds for Leeza’s Place, a charity foundation for caregivers of persons affected by Alzheimer’s Disease.

The theme this year was “America’s Next Top Modular” inspired by the popular reality show “America’s Next Top Model.” Before the spotlight was turned onto the exhibit designs, models dressed by designer Kathy Yoon paraded down the runway in outfits flashing with LED lighting and metal extrusion parts.

“Are you ready to MOD?” cheered Dan Hanover, editor and publisher of Event Marketer and Event Design magazines.

It had been a difficult year for the industry but designers had risen to the challenge to marry creativity and economic sense, which made the awards even more special. More than 200 entries had been submitted to the competition’s nine categories.

The panel of judges, which included Derek Gentile, president and CEO of EEI Global; Russ Fowler, head of design at Derse; and designer Mitchell Mauk, principal of Mauk Design.


Before the spotlight was turned onto the exhibit designs, models dressed by designer Kathy Yoon paraded down the runway.

Led by Hanover, the panel presented their opinions on the two finalists for each category but then it was up to the audience to decide the winners using instant tallying technology.

And the winners were:

Best 10×10: The Portables, Cleankeys

Best 10×20: Derse, lllumina

Best 20×20: 2020 Exhibits, BP

Best Custom modular: Access TCA, Celgene Corp

Best Green: Derse, Cray

Best Fabric-anchored: The Portables, Lakehead University

Best Panel-anchored: Laarhoven Design, PRA International

Best Extrusion-based: ABEX, Octanorm

Best of MOD: The Portables, Lakehead University

Robbie Blumenfeld, president and CEO of Abex Display Systems and one of the presenting sponsors of MOD, drew the audience’s attention to the topics that are changing the industry right now – drayage and keeping jobs.

“Exhibitors are leaving, and unless we do something about it, we are going to see it more and more,” he said. “But there is a silver lining. There is a real opportunity here if we all work together to stall these problems. Sitting in this room are the people who are doing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of exhibition business. There is an opportunity to lower exhibit-related costs through pressure from within our industry while at the same time offering exhibitors lighter, smarter exhibits that can reduce their total tradeshow-related expenses.”

Blumenfeld also announced a new partnership between Abex Exhibit Systems and designer Mitchell Mauk.

“I’ve been trying for years to convince Mitchell to design a line of  portable modular exhibits for us and I’m happy say that we’ve come to an agreement,” he said. “Hopefully that line will be coming into our product line sometime in the fall of 2010.”

MOD ‘10 and the 2010 MOD Awards were presented by Event Design, Exhibit City News, Abex Exhibit Systems, Octanorm USA, Laarhoven Design, Dave Barten Production Services, K & S Floor Studio, NuVista, EliteXPO, ExhibitForce, Trussworks, Catch the Moment, Quicktally, Encore, Exposures Photography, Dazian Rentals, Quick Tally, V3 Data and Print, Clegg Promo and other leading exhibit and event resources.


Those interested in the awards and design entry information can visit the Web site at www.modawards.com/modawards.html.

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