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Fashionable Furnishings
Four furniture experts weigh in on this year's hottest trends and how you can incorporate them into your next exhibit or event. By Travis Stanton
Metallic Décor
Metallics are back in a big way. While popular in the 1970s, they fell out of favor and were considered dated for many years. But now, they're popping up everywhere. "Metallic pieces are statement pieces," says Fritz Williams, president of FormDecor Inc., who encourages marketers to incorporate both metallic furniture and light fixtures into their companies' exhibits and corporate events. "People tend to gravitate toward good lighting for those must-have selfies, and metallics are life right now." Similar to mirrored elements, reflective furnishings can exponentially enhance the value of exhibit lighting and audiovisual installations.
The Tom Dixon Etch Web Pendant features brass etched with geometric shapes and gives off gorgeous light and shadows for added ambiance.

Urban Edge
Infusing cosmopolitan flair into your exhibits and events can add a refreshingly unexpected and decidedly youthful vibe. "Edgy pieces and graffiti art speaks to a young audience," Williams says. "It's approachable, introspective, and relatable." What's more, it can take the formality of your furnishings down a notch, which is often a welcome benefit when courting Millennial attendees.
FormDecor Inc.'s Graffiti collection turns Victorian-inspired furniture into edgy, contemporary statement pieces with a little spray paint and a few provocative words.


"If my grandmother and my teenage son were sitting on the Rapper's Delight Graffiti Sofa having a conversation," says Fritz Williams of FormDecor, "they would both be equally thrilled."

Neutral Grays
Say goodbye to stark-white sofas and clinical couches. If orange is the new black, then neutral grays are the new white. "Neutral pieces are cornerstones in design that set a relaxing background to a space," Williams says. Accent those neutral gray furnishings with pops of your corporate color, or let your furniture fade into the background so your product displays can really shine.
Upholstered in charcoal tweed, the Eero Saarinen Womb Chair combines textured fabric with chrome finishes.


Sophisticated shades of neutral gray provide an opportunity to inject corporate hues via well-chosen accessories.

Illuminated Elements
LED technology continues to evolve and become more versatile and user-friendly, even when it comes to rental furniture. "The addition of LEDs can instantly turn bars, reception desks, and other furniture into engaging backlit surfaces," says Charles Kay, president and founder of Modern Event Furniture Inc. "The result is glowing pieces that stand out and offer greater impact on the trade show floor." What's more, many pieces of exhibitry enable exhibitors to insert branded graphic infills, making those illuminated elements both fashionable and functional by drawing attendees' eyes to your logo or messaging.
This Industrial Steel Backlit Bar features built-in shelving and fluorescent fixtures that result in brightly lit graphic panels.


The Borealis, a 39-inch LED tube available from Modern Event Furniture Inc., allows exhibitors to easily and inexpensively add a little illumination to a wide range of structures.

Mirrored Finishes
Mirrored finishes are undeniably on trend, according to Kay. But don't limit yourself to traditional mirrors and polished stainless steel. "While standard silver-mirrored finishes remain in vogue," Kay says, "mirrored gold and rose-gold finishes are rapidly growing in popularity."
Also available as a tall or standard side table, the Venetian Coffee Table has both a mirrored top and mirrored legs.


Rather than mirrored acrylic inserts that may be scratched and damaged, Modern Event Furniture Inc. uses stainless steel panels that can be easily repolished to look brand new.

Bold Colors
According to multiple sources, splashes of color amid otherwise neutral seating arrangements will literally and figuratively brighten up your space. Whether it's an upholstered ottoman or a few simple throw pillows, the addition of jewel tones and bold, vibrant colors – in moderation – can add an element of uniqueness to your exhibits and events, helping them to appear inviting and on trend.
FormDecor's 15-inch-tall Vogue Ottoman is a unique and cosmopolitan option perfect for any exhibitor looking to add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral-hued space.


Combining bold color with metallic accents, the Sunset Hall Cabinet incorporates two furnishing trends.

Collaborative Environments
According to Kevin Dana, executive director of marketing and product development at Cort Event Furnishings, Millennials are driving several trends in exhibit furniture. For trade shows and events catering to this demographic, then, marketers may want to mix and match from different styles. "Using a variety of seating accommodates and encourages collaborative learning, networking, and brainstorming," Dana says. "Creating an atmosphere where Millennials feel connected and engaged makes trade shows and meetings more successful."
A mix of Hexagon Ottomans and Island Sofas from Cort Event Furnishings can encourage group collaboration.


Bar tables and barstools are popular among Millennials and can increase energy and improve social dynamics.

Powered Furnishings
"One wouldn't necessarily think of furniture when talking about technology, but it is important that trade show furniture adapts to allow for technology and productivity," says Jose Lopez, vice president, trade show division, AFR Furniture Rental, who advises exhibitors to select pieces that offer charging capabilities. "Part of that adaptation is enabling attendees to stay powered up and connected so they can still do business while on the trade show floor."
Furniture with multiple charging outlets prevents attendees from fighting over access.


AFR Furniture Rental's Charged Furniture options allow guests to take a load off while powering their devices at the same time.


SOURCE INFORMATION:
AFR Furniture Rental, 888-237-7368, www.afrtradeshow.com
Cort Event Furnishings, 888-267-8937, www.cortevents.com
FormDecor Inc., 310-558-2582, www.formdecor.com
Modern Event Furniture Inc., 877-999-1633, www.moderneventfurniture.com
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