uMaking awesome exhibits

Exhibition design is a fascinating fusion of architecture, set design and marketing savvy that has to come together to help sell a product or inform prospective consumers/ users and leave a somewhat lasting memory. In addition to this, it often has to be done under tight deadlines with many constraints. [caption id="attachment_1352" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]

The Geneva International Autoshow Floor[/caption] With the auto show circuit in full swing, with the recent Geneva and New York Auto Shows, the auto industry was out in full force with amazing stages and exhibits where they presented their latest concepts, tech, and features to excite both the press and consumers about the future. What is amazing about the exhibits at auto shows is their sheer size, attention to detail and complexity. The basic anatomy of an auto show exhibition stage includes:

  •  A stage for presenting the latest release/ concept vehicle
  • A 'floor' for the latest lineup of vehicles.
  •  Some space for some technology displays/ exhibits, as well as some concepts a company may be exploring.
  •  At the back of these exhibits there are small offices with space for interviews, meetings, VIP dining, and a place to stash your stuff.

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Bentley Stand at Geneva International Motor Show 2017[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_1357" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]

Audi Stand at Geneva International Motors Show 2017[/caption] In many cases, these exhibits are quite fluid and change during the course of an auto show. During press days there may be a huge open stage to show off the latest vehicle, and most vehicles are fully accessible. When the public days open up however, higher end vehicles are cordoned off with glass barriers, and the big stages are removed to make room for more production models. Thus in a way, these exhibits have a life of their own.

Micro Exhibits:

In addition to the bigger larger exhibition stage, most companies have smaller experiential exhibits to help inform journalists and consumers about new technology and features, or let users experience a 'virtual ride' in one of their cars or even race cars. In many cases, these exhibits are quite unique and require quite a bit of design and thought on their own. In Geneva, automakers did not hold back in showing off some pretty innovative and fun mini displays. From laser etched 3D motor displays, to actual engine cutaways, to getting to sit in the cockpit of a LeMans car, each mini-exhibition made for a great overall experience at the show-- exactly as intended. [caption id="attachment_1349" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]

Jaguar's 3D Laser Etched Augmented Reality experience[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_1356" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]

Toyota Le Mans Race Car Experience [/caption]   [caption id="attachment_1351" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]

Falken Tire Wire Vehicle. This tricked the uMake team when the photo was shared internally :) [/caption] As you can see, the design of these exhibits can be quite complex, but then you add in the fact that they often have to be designed and built in a short time, and they must meet brand requirements, safety requirements and fit within the space allotted for them during that show. In some cases, these complex exhibits are one off and unique to the show. [caption id="attachment_1362" align="aligncenter" width="1200"]

Volvo Platform Display. [/caption] While wandering the floor of the Geneva Motor Show it became clear that a tool such as uMake could be extremely useful in the early development and concept stages for exhibition design. We re-created one of the small exhibits at Volvo in about 10 minutes as a mini challenge.  As automakers strive to have unique exhibits they are pushing the limits of design every year, and their stages have taken on new dimensions over the past several years while also becoming less 'structural' and more 'organic'. Mercedes uses flowing  wooden ribs in their displays while Mini and BMW almost always have a few cars mounted vertically and on walls for example.

Mercedes Stand at the Geneva I yernational Motor Show 2017 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

The Design Challenge:

In order to maintain brand consistency while also giving visitors a wow factor, these 'living exhibits' provide designers several challenges that need to be overcome in a relatively short amount of time. Having a tool that lets them explore and present design concepts quickly, easily and in some cases, on location could save exhibit designers time and money. At the same time, uMake's unique tool set could enable even more unique and creative designs to be executed. [caption id="attachment_1375" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]

quick ideation sketch[/caption] Add to this that uMakes ever growing 'Playground' content library gives users assets they can use to quickly explore ideas without having to create everything from scratch. Or, users could even use imported models to design a display around. Whether a designer uses uMake to create an underlay for some initial sketch renderings or creates a fully surfaces model, the work can be taken further both on the iPad with apps like Concepts and Procreate, and on the PC with apps like Rhino and Keyshot. What might initially have taken a day or more to create a quick proposal in other software could be done in a matter of a few hours with uMake. Sound too good to be true? The following three proposals took just under 3 hours to create using uMake, Rhino and Keyshot. If you work in exhibition design or have ever had an idea for an exhibit, we'd love to see how you use uMake and what you've made with it. [caption id="attachment_1405" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]

Large Exhibit Proposal[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1406" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]

Small Exhibit Proposal[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1407" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]

Medium Exhibit proposal[/caption]  

Posted on

April 14, 2017