A new environmentally-friendly take on how designing more means building less
Want to do more to save the environment? Forget recycling. Why not build less in the first place? Rather than focusing on just recycling after building, one should consider cultivating a “Build Less, Save More” green philosophy.
BMW’s recent BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé launch at Singapore’s Glass House at Sentosa Cove is a fine example.
Before the design team even took out their sketchpads, creating a story for the launch was foremost on their minds. This eventually evolved into a concept about transporting guests through space, where they would discover the rare and exquisite phenomenon of a solar eclipse. As guests watched the moon veil the Sun, the BMW 6 series Gran Coupé would be dramatically unveiled from the shadows.
The only build for the entire launch was an art installation, or the “transportation device,” running down the length of the ceiling made of a thin layer of hand-crumpled paper. The effect of the lighted AV projection on the installation was suspenseful as the luminescent lights danced down the textured surface, cutting through the darkness and making guests feel as if they were really moving through space.
The car was finally revealed at the end of the room in front of a video-projected, full-length solar eclipse. But if you thought the projection wall was built, you guessed wrong. This special effect was achieved by using one of the glass windows in the Glass House with a thin film applied onto its surface and a projector placed behind it.
Thus, unlike typical car launches, there was hardly any build up at all.
The smart, minimal-waste design for the launch originated from a concept that was based on a heavy-build design, but it is something that BMW car launches have adopted for the past few years.
To create something refreshingly different and futuristic, the design team decided to completely reverse their design strategy. Instead of coming up with the design of the structures, they focused on developing a strong storyline first. Only then could they figure out how to use simple materials to tell the story.
With a strong focus on the story, a design concept that was consistent with the original BMW concept of the eclipse could be created with additional twists and expanded to use their choice of materials to showcase the story. Therefore, instead of building physical structures to create ambience, live music was chosen to enhance the “phenomenon” concept of the event. Building fewer structures also “respects the integrity of the space” as heavy-build structures obstruct the beauty of the Glass House.
In place of an actual stage, a seascape provided a natural backdrop for the cocktail reception and discussion area, while modular furniture was used because they are easily reusable for future events.
Kingsmen’s “Build Less, Save More” philosophy is reflected through tradeshow events as well, like the joint exhibition stand for Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) and the JTC Corporation at the 2012 Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.
The exhibit showcased Singapore’s first eco-business park, which emphasized the preservation of as much of the surrounding natural environment and biodiversity as possible. Similarly, the design of the stand aimed to save on material usage and waste by creating the most functional space with as little build and lighting as possible.
A different design strategy was adopted this time, as the aim of the design was to make the client’s five key graphic panels stand out before designing anything else.
As a result, the stand was designed to have a light ceiling structure with only five free-standing graphic panels supporting the entire stand beneath. Not only was all attention drawn to the information panels, the overall amount of materials used was significantly reduced as well.
Moreover, the stand ceiling’s unique design allowed lighting from the venue to shine through its gaps and light up the stand, reducing the need for high energy-consuming spotlights in the stand itself.
Once the team knew that they had to focus their attention on the five panels, they had the freedom to remove redundant decorative wooden elements, which caused unnecessary material usage, cost and waste that digressed from the exhibition’s main focus.
The EDB-JTC exhibition stand was accorded 1st runner-up for the SIWW’s Best Booth Award under Category B (24 sqm. – 95 sqm.), while the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupé launch set a high benchmark for Kingsmen’s future events and launches.
Who would have thought less actually means more?
Crystal Chu is the Design Director of Kingsmen Exhibits Pte Ltd, a communication design and production group in Asia Pacific and the Middle East.