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New Year, New Digs

The international headquarters of Exhibit City News has been transformed

into a state-of-the-art workspace with a mission

by Emily Olson,  Photography by Gary Prochorchik / Exposures LTD

ECN publisher Don Svehla has known Clemente Guillen for nearly three decades. There’s years of friendship and trust between the two of them, so when ECN needed someone to design and oversee its office renovation, Svehla didn’t hesitate.

ECN renoGuillen, who started Clementine Creative Services in 2018, immediately had a vision—the office had to be representative of Svehla and his spirit. “Anybody who’s met Don knows what a character he is,” Guillen explains. “He’s businesslike, but he’s anything but boring. So I didn’t want to make an office that sucks your soul. It had to be a show office because Don’s a showman.”

From those two words—show office—an entire concept sprang up. What if the ECN office became an opportunity for tradeshow suppliers and service companies to prove that their products, design and ingenuity could find a home off the tradeshow floor?

With that idea in mind, Guillen contacted ten of the best, most exacting vendor companies in the business and asked them to be partners in the renovation. And the results were astounding. “The products used in the renovation are commercial grade,” Guillen explains. “The lighting from DS&L is retail lighting. It’s tradeshow friendly, but also used in restaurants and airports. The network infrastructure that’s running the office is robust enough to handle a small tradeshow. The flooring Brumark supplied and installed is on par with the turnkey flooring solutions they have provided for projects like Samsung at CES.”

ECN reno pix 2 Dons officeAll these partner suppliers came together to make the renovation a success, much like they come together to make a tradeshow a success. But it’s not only the office’s physical structure that represents the workhorse companies behind the tradeshow industry. The office embodies the spirit of tradeshows as well and almost acts as a museum. “Don had 30 years of memorabilia packed away in the office,” Guillen says. “I pulled those badges and knick-knacks out of storage and displayed them on the walls of Don’s office.”

When Guillen talks about his vision for the office redesign, his passion for the industry is evident, particularly when he talks about the details. “I calculated every angle on the desks to be ergonomic,” he explains. “The legs on the sales desk form the Exhibit City News logo. I refurbished and repurposed elements of tradeshow builds to make fixtures.” Even the paint color he chose for the outside of the building is representative of the industry. “The grey echoes the aluminum that makes up the skeletons of the exhibits we build,” he says.

ECN reno pix 3 lobbyAnd as a result of the work of Guillen and the contributing partner companies, the premier magazine that represents the tradeshow industry is born from an office literally built by the tradeshow industry. It’s poetic in a way, and serves as a constant source of inspiration to the ECN team.
Hopefully it also will serve as an inspiration to road warriors in Las Vegas for a show. “My hope for the office was that it would be not only be a great place for the ECN team to work, but would also be a place for entertainment and a lounge space for industry professionals who need a quiet spot to work,” says Guillen.

Consider this your official invitation!

We spoke with the partner companies about their contributions to the office renovation, and this was what they had to say:

Remodel partners ad“Our customers are exhibit companies and general contractors that have a design team in place, but send us their overflows. My partner and I have several seasoned exhibit, event and A/V content designers on our team, like beMatrix and CORT, that are armed with libraries of industry-proven products. We are a white label design service provider that allows companies to flex up and down their design pipeline and alleviate bottlenecks that delay sales or production. We approach exhibit companies and ask them to consider us their in-house designers because we understand all the moving parts from fabrication to logistics. Companies can hire a designer, but exhibit design is a whole different animal and designers without tradeshow experience don’t know about the challenges you have at a show site.

“For this renovation project, I pulled in companies our team has worked with before. And basically, I not only designed the renovation, but project managed it, supervised the vendors and did a lot of the purchasing. I wrangled everybody and made sure they were in communication and basically made sure they weren’t tripping over each other.” —Clemente Guillen, Clementine Creative Services, design/project lead

“DS&L has been delivering innovative, quality lighting and supply products along with a first-class customer experience and lighting design services for 42 years. The Exhibit City News renovation project exemplified these DS&L core principles. From day one of being called in on this project, we worked with Don and Clemente to understand the new vision they had for the ECN office. Working alongside both of them we were able to bring their ideas to life by brightening up their workspace throughout the building, adding colored accent lighting, and adding some flair to the Don & Mike studio room. All of this was accomplished while incorporating tradeshow lighting elements that they had envisioned. It was our pleasure to partner with ECN on this project and we’re grateful for that opportunity.”  —Mike Sunseri, Display Supply & Lighting, lighting

“Brumark welcomed the opportunity to work with our partner Exhibit City News and help them refurbish their headquarters with new and improved flooring. To help us understand their goals and objectives for their upgraded offices, the team partnered with Clemente Guillen to choose the best solution that would meet and exceed their needs. We focused on designs and styles that would complement their upgraded space visually and provide value, through durability and cost-effectiveness. We utilized our flooring knowledge and extensive catalog to find styles and materials that would match their desired look at a great price.”   —Matt Kelly, Brumark, flooring

“We were honored with the opportunity to fabricate a custom lightbox and graphics for the Exhibit City News worldwide headquarters. As a permanent installation we used our patented ADA-compliant, single-sided lightbox frame + UL high output LED lighting. What made this fabrication so custom was perfectly in-setting an LED monitor flush inside the box. Custom cutout backlit prints were fitted for a seamless look. We also matched the LED lighting temperature to the LED monitor so it would be hard to tell the difference between the screen and the backlit print. The finished piece was a seamless backlit+LED monitor. Thank you ECN for truly being a partner over the years. Your contribution in keeping the exhibit and decorating world informed is second to none. —Josh & Stefanie Bevans, SEG Warehouse, backlit SEG frame and Design to Print, graphics

“When Don called and asked if we would be interested in providing some “state-of-the- art” equipment to be a part of the newly-renovated ECN offices, we gladly joined the outstanding list of industry experts in making the ECN office a showroom for the industry. 4 Productions provided some new 4k monitors and computers to display some elaborate content in the ECN space. The monitors were delivered to DTP to incorporate into their custom light boxes. The final product is quite impactful and ties the whole space together. It was an absolute pleasure to work with the Exhibit City News team to help create this space. ECN provides a voice for our industry and we feel privileged to have been a part of this project. —Dave McCormick, 4 Productions, digital signage displays & computers

“Edlen is always delighted to ‘Light the World’ in so many unique and different ways. It was our pleasure to assist Exhibit City News with their recent office renovation project. Two of our IBEW electricians redirected electricity and installed special lighting to rooms and offices, which provided a needed and a desired working atmosphere. From convention centers and stadiums across the country, to office ‘nooks and crannies,’ Edlen, The Power People, is always available to service a customer and help a friend!”—Jim Ness, Edlen, electrical

“Preferred Network Provider/We Are Conventions assisted Exhibit City News with WiFi and hardline network, running new cables and setting up computers/monitors for the building.” —Johnny Fecchino, Preferred Network Provider, network infrastructure

This story originally appeared in the Jan./Feb./Mar. 2022 issue of Exhibit City News, p. 58. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_q1_2022

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