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The Eyes Have It
Originally conceived as a dynamic LED display, the pièce de résistance of Derse Inc.'s booth comprised nearly 10,000 crayons in 84 different shades. Using CNC machinery, designers created the backdrop, cut out holes for the crayons, and meticulously inserted the individual crayons by hand. The result was a captivating, colorful mural featuring a seductive pair of eyes and the text "Art + Science."
photos: Derse Inc., Exposures Ltd.
Modern Art
GOLD AWARD
Category: Self Promotion
Exhibitor: Derse Inc.
Design/Fabrication: Derse Inc., Milwaukee, 414-257-2000, www.derse.com
Show: EXHIBITOR2013
Budget: $150,000 – $249,000
Size: 20-by-30 feet
hen someone refers to a booth as a work of art, it's usually lame hyperbole. But when Exhibit Design Awards judges called Derse Inc.'s exhibit "utterly poetic," "smart," and "inspiring," they were simply providing a legitimate description of the 20-by-30-foot space.

Crafted for EXHIBITOR2013, Derse's white, angular structure resembled a sophisticated modern art gallery. The physical embodiment of the company's theme for the show, "The Art of Smart, The Science of Smarter," the exhibit's exterior was also the perfect backdrop for a 4-by-16-foot mural comprising nearly 9,800 crayons representing 84 different shades. Designed by Russ Fowler, executive creative director at Derse, the masterpiece (dubbed "Art + Science") provided a glimpse of what attendees would experience once they entered the space.

Inside, nine art installations lined the walls, each representing a different art movement and accompanied by a small plaque explaining the work. But instead of Mondrian and Matisse, attendees found images of Derse's recent projects in various mediums. Hand-drawn renderings, "Warholized" images, optical illusions, and more replaced uninspired exhibit photos and digital portfolios.

But the $165,000 structure didn't just provide attendees with something pretty to look at. Judges commended the designer's use of art to lure attendees. "Each area has a story to tell, and offers a point of interaction and conversation for staffers and attendees," one judge said. That's where the science comes in. After perusing the art, staff invited attendees to have deeper discussions at a long walnut table flanked by bench seating. The table jutted up against a chalkboard wall covered in formulas, figures, and terms. Adding to the lab aesthetic, three Lavoisier lamps illuminated the space.

By turning its exhibit into a blank canvas on which its abilities and talent could shine, Derse painted the perfect self-promotion picture.




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