To German design house Kohlhaas Messebau GmbH & Co. KG, the iterative design process is a little like sowing seeds in a garden and waiting to see what takes root. So it's no surprise that what blossomed inside its exhibit was a bounty of imagination that fused "The Secret Garden" with a sophisticated Seussian style.
Built as a metaphor for Kohlhaas' project-development process, the 10-by-20-foot exhibit conjured a conceptual garden. According to Florian Dorsch, a designer for Kohlhaas, ideas were manifested as asterisk-shaped seeds, echoing the one in the Kohlhaas logo. As such, asterisks hung from overhead elements, drifting through the air like wind-swept dandelion seeds. Designers reinforced the analogy by emblazoning the words "Where ideas grow" on surfaces throughout the display. In the back of the booth, a tall scrim bore the merged skylines of Hannover and Munich, German cities where Kohlhaas offices can be found.
Resembling a gigantic pop-up book, most of the exhibit's elements comprised single silhouette-like panels. The booth's main focal points — an 18-foot-tall tree and truss-mounted clouds — were formed by layering precision-cut panels to create depth.
Kohlhaas coated the booth in a charcoal color and painted each panel's edges a brilliant orange. Besides showcasing the company's brand colors, the technique added a dimensionality to the structure that Exhibit Design Awards judges called "show stopping." Meanwhile, the sound of chirping birds drifted faintly from hidden speakers, lighting cast dramatic illumination and shadow, and the enchanting motif was uninterrupted by reality save for a few tablet PCs planted in stands around the booth. Wickedly whimsical and equally effective, Kohlhaas' playful approach showed that when it comes to planting idea seeds, it just might be a master gardener. E
Gnome Sweet Gnome
Strategic lighting and a minimalist, two-tone color scheme created maximum exposure for Kohlhaas Messebau GmbH & Co. KG in this 10-by-20-foot display at EuroShop 2014. The enchanting exhibit allowed the German firm to showcase its design acumen in a dramatic fashion that toyed with perception and underscored the company's masterful command of wit and whimsy.