Benjamin Murphy, MD of Iguana Group, on how the company is tackling shorter builds with intelligent design.
Iguana Group is an exhibition design agency with over 26 years’ experience working around the globe. Our ability to adapt our design approach to the challenge of a constantly evolving exhibition environment is evident to all our clients and something we are deeply proud of.
However, there are growing pressures that are not so visible to our clients, and indeed we strive to shield them from them completely. Specifically, I’m talking about the ever-changing challenges with regards to the build-up period of an exhibition itself.
We are seeing a trend for shorter and shorter build-up periods around Europe, but in particular in the UK. The financial pressures that show organisers are under mean that they cannot afford to hire the exhibition venue for an extended period, and thus build periods of three to four days are subsequently squeezed down to two days.
These shorter build periods present us with the challenge of designing a stand that can be transported and installed swiftly within the shortened period, but also that we can install without compromising health and safety. A shorter build period generally means longer hours for the teams on-site, and a tired team leads to an increased risk of shortcuts, over-sights and subsequently accidents.
How are we tackling this at Iguana? As always, it starts with intelligent design. We are constantly researching new materials and technologies, and a big focus at the moment is on how we can substitute traditionally heavy wooden structures with lighter weight materials. The lighter a section of structure is, the faster it is to install and fewer team members are needed to install it.
We must consistently ask ourselves; how can we design this stand so that 99 per cent of the work can be done in the workshop, away from the time pressures and chaotic environment of the exhibition hall? Can we make these product displays in one piece so they can be ‘walked-on’ during the install?
Of course, all of this needs to be achieved without compromising a creative design and innovative stand experience, and we must rely on the excellence of our designers to achieve this. We can learn a great deal from our North American colleagues, where there is a great focus on minimal weight – to reduce the prohibitive cost of material handling (aka ‘drayage’), and brevity of install – to minimise the escalating costs of unionised labour.
However, trade show booths in the US are arguably much less design-oriented, so to meet the continuing expectations of our clients we must find a way to deliver both an efficient install alongside uncompromising design.
Finally, we are living in a world where unnecessary waste is becoming less and less accepted, and rightly so. Thus, we all must be looking at how we can provide our clients with the best possible experience while maximising the use of re-usable materials and environmentally-friendly manufacturing methods. The days of ‘building and burning’ an exhibition stand are surely limited in number.
So, with regards to the build-up period of exhibitions at least, these are the pressures we face in our immediate future. Iguana Group is a company that prides itself in finding solutions to new challenges, and we will continue to offer our clients innovation and excellence in the ever-changing trade show environment.