or its inaugural appearance at Geoint Symposium 2013, computer manufacturer D-Wave Systems Inc. had a killer quandary. With only $20,000 to spend and a cutting-edge quantum computer chip to convey, the company turned to Mauk Design Inc., hoping for design genius as innovative as its artificial-intelligence-capable product. What emerged was a futuristic, 10-by-10-foot display that Exhibit Design Awards judges called "absolutely brilliant," and they meant that in more ways than one.
Crafted on an aluminum frame covered with white laminate panels, the exhibit radiated myriad pinpoints of LED light – 14,985 of them, to be exact. The effect was created using hole-punched 12-inch squares of circuit-board material that were strung on the back with LED bulbs. Each square was riveted to the laminate, fitted closely together to create the illusion that the entire display was one glowing panel. The light pattern was echoed by industrial floor tiles decorated with black, rubberized dots, and judges were breathless with praise for the result. "The scale, the concept, and the execution are masterful," one judge said.
The concept, according to Mauk Design principle Mitchell Mauk, was born from a fundamental truth about small exhibits. "The chances of being overlooked in a 10-by-10-foot booth are nearly 100 percent," Mauk said. "The only thing that works is massive illumination."
Simplicity, according to Mauk, is the other essential in small booth design. As such, D-Wave's display was decidedly stark, punctuated only by two small workstations and a towering acrylic cylinder centered in the back. Inside that cylinder, displayed at eye level like a piece of priceless jewelry, was a single quantum computer chip and its brass bracket, leaving an unmistakable message about the company's reason for being.