"Design is a process. It is an evolution. It is a genesis marked by trial and error, by planning, unraveling, and improving, by constant revising and changing, by creating and scrapping, by mental pauses, by distance and intimacy. The first draft is like a fleeting thought. It only solidifies if it withstands intensive examination and rethinking."
This quote from D'art Design Gruppe GmbH, which appeared inside its award-winning stand, provides the perfect commentary on EXHIBITOR Magazine's 29th Annual Exhibit Design Awards.
For in their own way, each winner proves that great design is as much about editing and reducing as it is about generating and producing. Including everything from a well-edited exhibit that managed to feature hundreds of products to a standout small booth the judges called "a wonderful little space that packed an experiential wallop," this year's winners have mastered the art of examination and rethinking — and found the right balance of creative abandon and sophisticated restraint.
Assembled in a Los Angeles design studio in December, our six judges waded through myriad entries from multiple countries, such as Denmark, Israel, Colombia, and Thailand. After eight hours of analysis, jurors arrived at 18 winners — and established a clear preference for restraint, and perhaps a penchant for small exhibits.
Take Gold Award winner Oligo Lichttechnik GmbH. Its designers used inventive architectural forms and a neutral color scheme to craft an exhibit that allowed Oligo's lighting products to take center stage.
Or consider the minimalist design for Kplus Konzept GmbH, a 10-by-20-foot booth that featured little more than three ladders topped with white, wooden boxes. Spurred by their curiosity, attendees couldn't help but climb the ladders and stick their heads through circular cutouts and into the mysterious cubes, where they discovered visual, auditory, and olfactory delights.
What's more, designers' restraint also applied to budgets. Ten of the 18 winning projects had price tags of $149,000 or less. And a full one-third of the winners' footprints were 400 square feet or smaller.
So please join us in congratulating the 2015 Exhibit Design Award winners. They've shown us that while designers should have an arsenal of creative concepts at the ready, it's their ability to apply only a handful to any given project that ultimately creates award-winning design. E
An "undo" theme helps D'art Design Gruppe GmbH create an award-winning interactive space.
A House Divided
Eternit AG takes home a Gold Award for this minimalist design.
Kohlhaas builds a conceptual garden and harvests a Gold Award.
Oligo Lichttechnik GmbH receives a Gold Award for its striking black and white booth.
Force of Nature
A nature-inspired exhibit helps Walter Knoll AG & Co. KG take home a Gold Award.
Eleven miles of polypropylene cord wraps up a Silver Award for Brunner GmbH.
Bait and Pitch
Rustic design elements help Dolly Varden Outdoor Clothing's exhibit win a Silver Award.
Hall of Frame
When dolled up in a sophisticated design, even steel framing can be a sultry seductress.
Kid-centric aesthetics combined with a level of sophistication made this exhibit a winner.
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but in this exhibit, it also attracted the attendees.
To Infinity and Beyond
A Silver Award goes to Studio Dega for a design that pairs LEDs with fabric panels.
Artist in Residence
This exhibit invited visitors to the cozy intimacy of the House of Arting.
Derse Inc. reached out to exhibit managers with a message-in-a-bottle theme.
General Cigar Co. smoked the competition through experiential storytelling.
Plan-j GmbH used a concept-sketching activity that mirrored their creative process.
By appealing to its target market's affinity for selfies, Scion's in-booth experience was picture perfect.
Crowded as the beaches on D-Day, the booth won an unconditional victory over attendees.
Margo Chase, founder and executive creative director, Chase Design Group, Los Angeles; Curt Doty, senior vice president, West Coast digital and creative services, Weber Shandwick, Los Angeles; Tom Doumasiou, creative director, NeosCreative, Hampton Wick, U.K.; Wayne Hunt, founding principal, Hunt Design Associates, Pasadena, CA; Diane Perlov, senior vice president for exhibits, California Science Center, Los Angeles; Regina Rubino, founder, Image: Global Vision, Santa Monica, CA