A great flame follows a little spark," wrote Dante in "The Divine Comedy." While penned in the 1300s, this truism is alive and well, as evidenced by the many exhibit- and retail-design fans who travel to EuroShop, the global retail trade fair.
Held once every three years in Dusseldorf, Germany, EuroShop draws more than 113,000 attendees from 130-plus countries in search of not only products and services, but also sparks of inspiration. While the show's more than 2,300 exhibitors expect those sparks to ignite a firestorm of sales, exhibit designers hope to secure enough creative fuel to fan the flames of inspiration for years to come.
Needless to say, the 2017 show was full of incendiary ideas, as EXHIBITOR staff found inspiration lurking in each of the show's 18 exhibit halls, which offered products from myriad retail- and stand-design sectors, including everything from mannequins and point-of-purchase signage to building automation and event technology.
On top of covering the show, EXHIBITOR hosted its own EuroShop Awards competition, sponsored by Access TCA Inc., one of the largest independently owned face-to-face marketing companies in North America. Open to all exhibitors, the program was judged during the show by a panel of international exhibit-design experts. Three Best of Show winners, six Honorable Mentions, and one People's Choice Award winner were presented with their awards at the Expo + Event Forum at Messe Dusseldorf.
The following photos offer a smattering of some of the most inventive ideas we found throughout the event and are bound to rekindle the fires of imagination for your own program and next exhibit design.
1. These boots were made for – holding tulips. And that's just what they did for shop-fitting and design firm Paul Serafini GmbH & Co. KG.
2. An installation of corporate-orange-tipped dowels created an undulating, eye-catching illusion inside the exhibit representing design firm Kohlhaas Messebau GmbH & Co. KG
(a EuroShop Awards finalist).
3. Allmax Sp. z o.o. (a EuroShop Awards honorable mention) added a little dimensionality to its diminutive booth space courtesy of a soaring back wall featuring origami-like elements built into the glossy-white design.
4. Comprising the central component of an aquarium-themed stand, this cube-shaped structure housed a conference room for Fairnet GmbH (a EuroShop Awards winner).
5. Barthelmess Display & Decoration GmbH turned Christmas on its head, crafting an upside down Christmas tree of sorts comprising nothing but shiny gold holiday ornaments.
6. Schendel & Pawlaczyk Messebau GmbH (a EuroShop Awards honorable mention) suspended two circular light fixtures over a glass-topped table comprising dimensional letters spelling out the word "team."
7. Repetition is a surefire way to capture attention. Pair that tactic with puppy forms, and you've got this display from CNL Mannequins.
8. Attendees were drawn to a display featuring one of the newest products from Octanorm Vertriebs GmbH: a special backlit fabric known as Octamesh capable of producing 3-D effects.
9. Nothing sets the tone and entrances passersby like a little mood lighting. Eldee Expo Experts B.V. created this red-light district on the corner of its stand.
10. Unilin bvba took its 2-D Pergo vinyl flooring to another dimension with this artful installation comprising triangular pieces of different flooring colors arranged to create a faceted face.
11. Whether in a Moroccan medina or a trade show stand, bowls of colorful spices create a spectacle. Zumtobel Group employed the tactic in this aisle-side attraction.
12. The Inside B.V (a EuroShop Awards finalist)left no doubt about its area of expertise with this hospitality-centric stand beneath a corporate-orange sign that quickly communicated the firm's core competency.
13. Concepts collide in this aisle-side display from 3F Design Architecture GbR and Scenario GmbH & Co. KG. While the individual elements might be a bit incongruous, a seemingly pool-side, bunny-headed mannequin surely made attendees stop and gawk.
14. Wit Design BV (a EuroShop Awards finalist) crafted this mesmerizing stand filled with bold colors and patterns, all of which fit perfectly within a miniscule 10-by-10-foot space.
15. Studio Dega (a EuroShop Awards finalist) employed its own amorphous architecture to create this alluring environment that effortlessly combined shapes, colors, and light.
16. Global Experience Specialists Ltd. (a EuroShop Awards finalist) made the most of its overhead space with this enormous suspended component, which was angled across the stand.
17. Offering little more than a straightforward brand message, logo, and fine ficus, this exterior wall for SFD Shopfittings Direct Ltd. (a EuroShop Awards finalist) was simply superb.
18. Plan-j GmbH (a EuroShop Awards finalist) added visual appeal to its exhibit by creating a canopy of red string and encouraging visitors to affix their business cards to the element.
19. Slide srl offers exactly what you'd expect from an Italian furniture designer: inventive forms, dramatic hues, and killer craftsmanship.
20. To underscore its exhibit-design expertise, Mindtrooper L.da (a EuroShop Awards finalist) covered the interior walls and floor of its stand with architecturally inspired graphics.
21. Escorted by umbrella-wielding staff, visitors to the Atelier Dambock Messebau GmbH stand (a EuroShop Awards honorable mention) passed through a wall of water before entering the dry inner sanctum.
22. Formfactory GmbH & Co. KG positioned three bright-pink mailboxes along an exterior exhibit wall and filled them with attractive contact cards that were free for the taking.
23. To convey Dart Design Gruppe GmbH's approach to designing exhibits and retail spaces "from scratch," this oversized pencil appeared to have scrolled the phrase in reverse, making it visible only as it reflected off the stand's mirrored enclosures.
24. This display from mannequin provider 543 Co. Ltd. oozed cool. Overhead, massive gold "droplets" appeared ready to plop onto mannequins below, all of which were partially covered in the gorgeous, glossy hue.
25. Lighting company Halla a.s.'s whimsical exhibit featured a sloped ceiling and a cloud-like overhead element supporting an array of light fixtures.
26. Architectural components doubled as abstract art in this exhibit for BeMatrix BVBA (a EuroShop Awards honorable mention).
27. Repro Team Grossformatdruck demonstrated its large-format printing prowess by creating a 3-D race car using nothing more than printed graphics atop sheets of corrugated cardboard.
28. Schwitzke GmbH's stand took a tubular approach with a display featuring imbedded screens with product and branding messages.
29. Shopfitting firm Grid System ApS turned a mundane wall into a dimensional installation that referenced the company's name and logo.
30. Aluvision N.V. won EXHIBITOR's EuroShop Award for Best Large Stand with a sophisticated design inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
31. Mr. Iceman AS, which produces custom ice sculptures, attracted attention to its largest offering – the 2,200-pound Monster Block – by encasing a massive crab inside the cube.
32. Thanks to giant 3-D letters, there was no mistaking who owned this stand in Hall Five: Changzhou Hawk Display Appliances Manufacture Co. Ltd., aka Hawk Display , which also took home the People's Choice Award in EXHIBITOR's EuroShop Awards competition.
33. Utilizing little more than string and back-wall graphics, Melinski Minuth Sp. z o.o. (a EuroShop Awards finalist) created a quaint timeline detailing the company's 24-year history.
34. This hypnotic display for Kinetic Lights by WhiteVoid GmbH featured an installation comprising 54 moving, color-shifting orbs.
35. High-gloss surfaces, soft lighting, and natural foliage combined to create this modern, modular stand for Burkhardt Leitner Modular Spaces GmbH (a EuroShop Awards finalist).
36. An abundance of graphics, images, and patterns in this lounge-centric space for FAMAB Verband Direkte Wirtschaftskommunikation e.V. stopped attendees in their tracks.
37. Art & Press Advertising N.V. erected a dramatic, gravity-defying arch out of its A&Pilar LED elements that served as a welcoming entrance for EuroShop attendees.
38. Design and project management firm PPM Planung & Projekt Management GmbH used white pencils to construct a 3-D message: Konzept Schrauber, which literally translates to "concept screwdriver."
39. Modul International Exhibition Design Systems GmbH (a EuroShop Awards finalist) employed the art of simplicity in this multilevel stand, which expertly employed internal and elevated lighting.
40. Resembling modern interpretations of Humpty Dumpty, these "eggcellent" elements were tucked away inside the stunning stand for Hans Boodt Mannequins.
41. Looking a little like a designer cupcake liner, this conference room for Hungarian retail-design firm Megaholz Kft took the cake.