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Designing with furniture

Using furniture as a unique design element can go a long way toward bringing the entire exhibit space together. With this is mind, Exhibit City News discussed the role furniture plays in the exhibit design process.

Exhibit City News: What are some issues facing today’s exhibit designers when they consider furniture?

Tricia Costello, owner, FWR: Maximizing space and keeping in mind traffic flow patterns, as well as finding dual purposes in furniture. For example, turning a registration desk into extra storage (or wall dividers as extra storage) makes it a prudent use of valuable real estate. Also they are worried about the quality and matching the color scheme and brand.

Frank McCall, VP of west coast, AFR Event Furnishings: The time it takes to design and drop just one chair into a rendering could take almost an hour. Furniture suppliers like AFR, who provide 3D models, save designers considerable time and offer a much more cost effective way for designers to complete renderings for their clients.
Jose Lopez, CEO, Agile Trade Show & Event Furnishings: Most designer factor in the flow, movement and desired atmosphere that they wish to create. With custom furniture, you must secure your order ASAP. Since the beginning of 2011, furniture requests have increased significantly, creating a strain on most rental distributors.

ECN: At what point in the design process should furniture be considered?

Jose Lopez, Agile: Furniture should be considered from the very conception of any design process. Furniture factors into the contours and color scheme of every design. Quantifying how many individuals will walk through a particular booth, designers must consider how they wish to accommodate those clients and prospects.

Tricia Costello, FWR: Almost at the inception of the project, but typically once the overall structure is approved, then furnitureDesigning with furniture selection follows. A designer should begin considering his/her furniture needs as soon as the client begins to understand what type of actions are going to be happening in the space. Whether it’s a lounge seating meeting space, these are all crucial elements that should be considered at the very beginning of the project.

Frank McCall, AFR: Furniture should be considered at the outset of the booth design. Furniture rental companies that specialize in serving the tradeshow exhibitor have developed a very flexible mix of products that afford many options to the end user, including lighting, storage, attendee comfort and their company’s logo.

ECN: Do you think exhibit designers place the proper amount of importance on furniture in their designs?

Mark Greason, director of tradeshows, AFR: Yes I do. Booth designers have so many directions they could go during the conceptual phase of their design. Designers tell us that they appreciate furniture rental providers that offer multiple fabric, color, style, lighting, an online 3D model library and branding options.

Jose Lopez, Agile: Experienced designers understand how incorporating the proper furnishings in their booth concepts can have a huge impact on their success. New designers gradually learn this.

Tricia Costello, FWR: Nowadays, more and more. The old way of looking at furniture was reaching out and getting “a” chair. Whereas now, you want to create a unique chair that represents your brand that can convey that to your audience and make a statement.

ECN: What common mistakes have you seen at recent shows with regards to furniture choices by exhibit designers?

Tricia Costello, FWR: A lack if creativity! Doing all whites! Many designers seem to be afraid of color and taking risks on unique pieces.

Jose Lopez, Agile: The biggest challenge I have seen is a clear understanding for proper spacing. Trying to squeeze too many pieces of furniture into a small environment and not allowing for enough room.

Mark Greason, AFR: The most common mistake we see is designers not taking full advantage of all of the décor lighting, branding capabilities and value added services that they could use to add even more value to their end user clients.

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