Roger Taurant, who founded an exhibit design and production company in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France, passed away on Oct. 8 at the age of 85. His company, Les Ateliers Millet, began in a building previously occupied by famous painter Henri Matisse. Taurant was an artist and a scene painter who used the very painting easels left by Matisse in the very same workshop.
As the exhibit industry grew, so did Taurant’s company. In those days, exhibit building companies were called decorators. His company became very successful, earned high respect, and Taurant dedicated extra time to formulate industry association groups.
IFES was created in 1984 when French contractor, Roger Taurant, met with Belgium contractor, Koen Bogaert. Taurant asked Bogaert, “When crossing borders for tradeshows, do you have the same challenges as I do?” The answer was an astounding yes!
On Oct. 14, 1984, Taurant organized a meeting in Paris with six European stand builders from Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Netherlands, France and Belgium.
This group of six European stand builder nations quickly grew to approximately 14 by 1991. At that time, only the country associations were the board representatives; thus, the word “federation” was used to describe the group of associations. In 2009, IFES changed its bylaws to include direct membership of the individual expo supplier companies, in addition to the associations, as equal members. Membership now includes exhibit supplier companies that do not have an association in their region. Today, 46 countries are represented as IFES supplier representatives.
IFES created the Roger Taurant Award in 1995 to bestow and to recognize IFES leadership as well as to promote the IFES mission of global unity among exhibit suppliers worldwide.
Roger Taurant’s vision for world unity among exhibit suppliers is now a reality. His vision and his passion for our industry live on!