PHOTOS: Padgett and Company Inc.
SimpleHuman LLC's problem was, well, simple. The maker of kitchen and bath products wanted a booth as chic as its wastebaskets, which hang from the walls in its corporate headquarters like Monets of shiny metal. "We also wanted something that was quick to set up," said Vivian Kim, a designer with SimpleHuman.
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Comprising two 40-foot shipping containers, SimpleHuman LLC's exhibit was a hybrid of mechanism and minimalist design, outfitted with hydraulic controls that opened the 30,000-pound structure at the touch of a button. As stylish inside as it was austere outside, the 30-by-40-foot booth housed three main areas that offered artfully mounted products on painted walls like gems in a multicolored jewel box. Meanwhile, a combination of 32 stage lights and 80 LED lights flooded the booth with a lacquer-like shine.
If the challenges were basic, SimpleHuman's solution was correspondingly brilliant: shipping containers. The company sourced two 40-foot shipping containers, which were subsequently transported to Hood Branded Environments for fabrication. Hood then outfitted the 30-by-40-foot exhibit, installing hydraulic controls that would allow an extremely efficient setup. When the 30,000-pound booth was set down on the show floor, it unfolded within minutes at the press of a single remote-control button like a cross between an origami sculpture and a Transformer robot. While most of the $120,000 exhibit opened horizontally, a trio of branded vertical panels rose up 17 feet into the air. "The sheer simplicity and elegance of the idea were wonderful," said one Exhibit Design Awards judge in bestowing the booth with this year's top honor: the EDGE Award for exhibit design and graphics excellence.
The booth's steel walls sharply contrasted with its vibrant art-gallery-like interior. Three main areas displayed products such as high-end trash cans, gleaming like silver sentries. In one section, shower caddies were arranged in neat rows near bath fixtures and motion-sensor mirrors, whose internal lights flickered on when guests walked by. Another area offered a white-hued meeting room, where wall-mounted wastebasket liners hung with an elegance befitting Hermes bags. Like the company's iconic trash cans, SimpleHuman took what could have been pedestrian and transformed it into a glistening pearl of design and style.