Christo Logan, the proprietor of Two Parts LLC, had a laundry list of challenges leading up to the 2016 International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Logan launched his company, which makes 3-D-printed ceramic light fixtures, mere months before the show and could allot only a meager budget for an exhibit. Moreover, his last-minute decision to market his newly minted company at ICFF meant there were slim pickings for booth spaces, and Two Parts was saddled with a scant 5-by-10-foot plot of real estate in the back of the hall. But none of those challenges deterred him. Instead, they created an impetus for an inexpensive, unusual design.
The Sum of its Parts
Even more impressive than Two Parts LLC's inventive booth design was the miniscule budget it took to build: a mere $680. The exhibit was largely a DIY affair, constructed on site with no professional labor and with little more than 48 cardboard boxes, 17 light fixtures, aluminum supports, and carefully applied watercolor paint.
Attendees first saw a kaleidoscope of colored lights juxtaposed against a dimensional brown background. Upon closer inspection, however, they realized the angular back wall actually comprised four dozen corrugated cardboard boxes that had been stacked at an angle and zip-tied to aluminum supports behind the booth. Seventeen fixtures in myriad colors and styles hung from the apex of the cardboard boxes, and those lights were programmed to continually illuminate and extinguish, creating a subtle wave-like illusion. To add a faint dash of color, Logan painted the cells containing colored lights with a corresponding hue of watercolor paint, resulting in an elegant reflection that didn't eliminate the cardboard texture of the boxy back wall. Meanwhile, a stack of product catalogues was housed within one of the boxes that had been cut to create an unobtrusive, low-tech lit rack.
The unusual design drew attendees down the aisle like fireflies to a hypnotic, multicolored flame and earned the respect of Exhibit Design Awards judges. In the words of one judge, who marveled at the design's miniscule $680 price tag, "This exhibit just goes to show that a great idea trumps all else, including time, space, and money." E