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GOLD AWARD
Category: Green Exhibit Exhibitor: Nature's Path Foods Inc. Design: Rural/Urban/Fantasy (RUF) Project, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 604-569-3282, www.rufproject.com Fabrication: Pinnacle Exhibits Inc., Hillsboro, OR, 503-844-4848, www.pinnacle-exhibits.com Show: Natural Products Expo West, 2015 Budget: $250,000 – $499,000 Size: 20-by-30 feet

PHOTOS: Michael Taft
Deep-Rooted Design
Exhibit designers have produced several stunning spaces with central tree elements – such as a stand for Ueberholz GmbH that featured a 250-year-old olive tree and an exhibit for Intel Corp. that showcased a captivating electronic "tree" comprising 180 Ultrabooks. Clearly, then, trees aren't anything new. But designing an entire exhibit to resemble a tree – and crafting that structure from mostly Green materials – well, that's about as rare as a live oak bearing avocados.

The Giving Tree
Paying homage to Nature's Path Foods Inc.'s organic products, the 20-by-30-foot exhibit comprised mainly Green components, including Falconboard and water-based adhesives. The booth also housed a ground-floor bar where staffers distributed samples, as well as an aisle-side product-sampling station, the exterior of which featured "upcycled" Nature's Path cereal boxes.
This Green tree scenario, however, came to life at the 2015 Natural Products Expo West. Constructed for Nature's Path Foods Inc., a producer of organic food products, the exhibit paid homage to the firm's 30th anniversary in a manner that also spoke to its eco-friendly ethos. The elaborate booth, which featured a central trunk, cantilevered canopy, and upper-level meeting area, appeared to defy gravity. "Aside from a truss-mounted logo, the entire structure was built around a freestanding, raw-steel core," said RUF Project designer Sean Pearson. "But the strong inner core and precisely placed panels created the illusion that the canopy was floating."

While judges lauded the illusion, they also hailed the exhibit as "a commanding yet eco-friendly edifice." In fact, the majority of the weight-bearing components comprised wood certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the uppermost canopy comprised recycled-content corrugated panels. Fabricators also incorporated water-based adhesives and finishes as well as energy-saving LED light fixtures and recyclable carpet squares. In addition to the central tree structure, the space housed a ground-floor bar and aisle-side station where staffers served up samples, making this arboreal exhibit a feast for both the eyes and the belly.



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