When budgets are tight exhibition designers can help you come up with solutions that still look great but cost less. Turning to some of today’s newest modular systems is one way designers are keeping budgets under control while creating a design statement that looks custom but isn’t.
We did our homework on the latest cutting-edge features and accessories that modular system designers have to offer from systems that require no tools to construct and new LED lighting systems for fabric panels to new finishes that create completely original looking results. Four highlights:
No tools. Saving money on labor costs is critical in challenging economic times and systems developers are coming up with new ways to make modular architecture easier and quicker to set up.
Burkhardt Leitner Constructiv’s PON system is leveraging new magnet connectors to eliminate the need for tools when constructing the exhibit on the show floor. “It’s a stainless steel connector with aluminum tubes that are made with a high-strength aluminum alloy—we took inspiration from ski poles for the design ” says Kerstin Mulfinger an architect with Burkhardt Leitner.
Inside the tube a small magnet is secured at the end eliminating the need for tools and allowing the creation of three-dimensional structures that stand independently without the need for rigging.
The connectors are universal and different lengths of tubes create different sized structures. For example round connectors with a 15-degree angle allow for the creation of circular shapes and flex connectors feature a rubber gasket between the connector and the pin making them totally flexible.
Secret systems. In the ongoing effort to create systems that look like custom construction Aluvision has debuted new extrusions that hide more of the system’s aluminum framework and secure panel material over the exhibit’s corners so it looks more like a custom booth.
Now printed graphics and fabric panels can be mounted over and around the booth’s corners to completely hide the system.
“More and more designers don’t want to see the aluminum ” says Carl DeVolder manager at Aluvision. “This offers flexibility and stability because now we can tighten the corners to where it’s not noticeable.”
New finishes. System designers at Nomadic Display have reengineered a number of their extrusion profiles to allow for laminated finishes—a big creative plus for designers.
“Instead of raw aluminum finish or powder-coated paint colors designers can now incorporate wood grain in their extrusion or give it a granite texture ” says Nomadic Display director of design services Michael Dare. “It goes a long way to make these extrusions look a lot less like sticks of metal.”
For example by incorporating a wood grain finish the extrusion takes on the appearance of structural wooden beams and changes the definition of the structure. A vinyl finish on countertops and base units results in a more custom look as well as allowing for customization of logos and inlaying extrusions. This effect can make pop-up exhibits appear more custom Dare says.
Lighting fabric. Lightweight fabric panels are booming in the world of modular systems and suppliers are coming up with new and innovative ways to light ’em up.
“New profile frames can be illuminated equally on both sides with LED fixtures ” DeVolder says. “The beams are very narrow and reflect between the two fabric panels which are white on the inside. This creates reflection and illuminates the graphic evenly.”
In the past lighting a four-by-10-foot fabric panel meant designers would have to find the right fluorescent lamps and deal with wire management issues. Now panels of this size can be lit evenly and effectively by two strips of five LEDs.
“These new mounted LED systems can do the job and can be RGB controlled for much less cost and the lighting can be reused without wiring and re-wiring each show ” DeVolder says.