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exhibit Design
Our eyes are instinctually trained to capture even the slightest movement. Various research studies have proven that when something moves, we are hardwired to perceive it as a potential threat, and our fight-or-flight response springs into action. Thus, we tend to stop whatever we're doing – if only for a nanosecond – and focus our full attention on the object in motion. For an exhibitor, that moment is often all that's needed to lure in attendees and set your stand apart from the static displays surrounding it. Here are 11 examples that not only captured our editors' attention, but also moved us to write about them. By Linda Armstrong
Riot Games Inc. brought a popular character from its "League of Legends" video game to life with a 13-foot-tall puppet that posed for photo ops.
1. Original Character
Nothing says "Look at me!" like a 13-foot-tall video-game character ambling about an exhibit. Brought to life via a talented puppeteer inside a dramatic costume, the live-action character was part of a four-part experience developed by The Trade Group for Riot Games Inc. As an experiential "thank you" to fans of its multiplayer online video game "League of Legends," Riot Games offered a theatrical recreation of Summoner's Rift, the primary map from the game, in its exhibit at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) East. One of four photo ops within the environment, the puppet represented Thresh, a fierce "League of Legends" character. Within the exhibit, Thresh lumbered about, gracefully swinging all of his appendages. Staff assisted fans in taking photos with an autonomic camera that superimposed their images into a lantern seemingly suspended from Thresh's hand.

This arresting window display from EuroShop featured a pair of seated mannequins that moved up and down courtesy of motorized cables.
2. Motorized Mannequins
At EuroShop, the cooperative exhibit housing Ansorg GmbH, Vitra International AG, and Vizona GmbH (providers of lighting, shop fitting, and shop-fitting systems, respectively) featured an ingenious aisle-side display that used movement as an attention-getter. While the majority of the enclosed stand comprised opaque walls, a single Plexiglas window offered a glimpse into the interior. Within this window, designers positioned two fully dressed mannequins, each "sitting" in a plastic chair. The seats were attached to an overhead motorized system via cables so that the chairs and mannequins alternately moved up and down throughout the show. The effect caught the eye and drew it beyond the mannequins to the exhibit's interior, which no doubt tempted passersby to locate an entrance and step inside for a closer look.

A kinetic light sculpture comprising 150 color-changing bulbs alluded to Shire Plc's new triple-bead ADHD medication.
3. Just Bead It
Sometimes, movement in and of itself is enough. But for its exhibit at the U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress, Shire Plc, a specialty biopharmaceutical company, paired movement with meaning. Going into the show, Shire hoped to increase awareness of Mydayis, its prescription medicine for ADHD in patients 13 years of age and older. Mydayis is the first ADHD treatment to offer triple-bead delivery for the extended release of medication. So to add a sense of dynamism to Shire's space, designers at Visual Communications Inc. created a 30-foot-diameter kinetic light sculpture and suspended it over the center of the 50-by-50-foot exhibit. Comprising 150 bulbs that changed color and moved up and down to craft various configurations, the sculpture gave a couldn't-miss nod to the medicine's beads, thereby weaving the extended-release message into the exhibit environment.

Otterbox LLC proved the mettle of its protective cases with a display of rotating tubes that tumbled smartphones sheathed in the company's wares.
4. Rough and Tumble
At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Otterbox LLC crafted an eye-catching, one-of-a-kind kinetic demo that both attracted attention and proved its products' ability to protect and defend mobile devices. Three cylindrical tubes, each housing a mobile device sheathed in an Otterbox case, rotated end-over-end, sending the enclosed electronics tumbling. The interior of each tube's end caps was covered in flooring materials meant to represent the types of surfaces on which cellphones and tablet PCs are often dropped, such as hard wood and cobblestone-like pavers. The motion of the tubes attracted attendees to the Otterbox space, while the sounds of the tumbling devices crashing into the end caps created an aural lure that piqued curiosity from aisles around. All told, the rotating demonstration ran circles around competitors' static displays.

To demonstrate how its hoists can be used in retail settings, Kinetic Lights created moving displays for everything from potted plants to T-shirts.
5. Everything's on the Move
With a name like Kinetic Lights, your stand had better epitomize movement. At EuroShop in Düsseldorf, Germany, Kinetic Lights (a Whitevoid GmbH company) delivered in spades. Typically the firm's high-precision hoists and LED fixtures are used to created spatial animations in art, interior, stage, and event settings. However, at EuroShop, the firm hoped to demonstrate how its range of wire and winch products can be used in retail environments. To that end, Kinetic Lights concocted a bevy of moving displays that were positioned practically everywhere attendees turned. In one corner, winches slid color-shifting globe lights and upside-down pots filled with faux foliage up and down in a fluid motion. In another area, tennis shoes appeared to walk in midair, thanks to cables attached to each shoe. And throughout the footprint, items ranging from T-shirts to tennis balls took flight, courtesy of Kinetic Lights' products.

Oovoo LLC wowed International Consumer Electronics Show attendees with a massive display of thousands of magnetized "flip dots" that rotated to create scores of marketing messages.
6. Flipping Out
Who can forget the old-timey train station displays whose flipping, clacking components continually updated the trains' arrivals and departures? At CES, Oovoo LLC (which was since acquired by Krush Technologies LLC) devised a display similar to these nostalgic schedules but with a decidedly high-tech twist. To promote its Intelligent Video, a social video-chat product that can detect and track expressions to gauge users' moods, Oovoo built a 16-by-30-foot wall that read attendees' emotional states. Made up of 74,088 plastic-coated and magnetized "flip dots" about half an inch in diameter, the train-schedule-like wall displayed various product and attention-getting messages throughout the day, e.g., "Powering Next-Gen Interactions," "Reads and Responds to Live Video," etc. However, whenever visitors came within 3 to 4 feet of the structure, cameras and a proprietary "emotion engine" registered their expressions and created a visual representation of them on the wall.

Prolicht GmbH used a clever conveyor belt to move attendees' customized, branded bags from a hidden in-booth workshop to the hands of a waiting staffer.
7. Bag of Tricks
Branded bags are a dime a dozen at most trade shows. But Prolicht GmbH turned what could have been a simple bag giveaway into a buzz-inducing experience by incorporating a few tablet PCs, a hidden workshop, and a kinetic conveyor belt into its exhibit at EuroShop 2017. When visitors arrived at Prolicht's booth, staff invited them to enter their contact information into one of several tablet PCs and customize their own messenger bag. After they selected one of several stylized numbers for the design and a color for the front flap and shoulder strap, their orders were electronically relayed to staffers hidden within an enclosure in the center of the booth space. Here, staffers assembled each bag to specification, attached a tag bearing the designer's name, and clipped the bag to a vertical conveyor belt. The assembly then lifted it up and out of the concealed workshop and lowered it approximately 10 feet to an awaiting staffer. He or she retrieved each bag and called out the name of the attendee-cum-designer, who merrily collected his or her creation and walked away with a customized bag – and the memory of a one-off experience.

Designplus GmbH's circular exhibit at Euroshop boasted a central axle that made a 360-degree revolution three times every hour.
8. Go for a Spin
For EuroShop 2017, Designplus GmbH, a German brand agency, devised a stand that was moving in every sense of the word. Clad in laminate reminiscent of concrete, the circular structure featured a stationary exterior. However, the central "axle," which was divided into six different rooms, began a slow rotation roughly three times each hour. Staff ushered booth visitors into the inner sanctum to talk shop and then secured retractable black straps (similar to those affixed to crowd-control stanchions) across all entryways. Once the stand was cordoned off, the interior axle began to rotate, affording onlookers and those within the booth a continually changing perspective – and capturing those within the space for a minimum of five minutes while the structure performed its revolution.

Visitors to Impact XM's exhibit at EXHIBITORLIVE were lured to a Lego-building station by a moving conveyor belt covered with dozens of "minifigures."
9. Toy Story
Hoping to craft an engaging experience for EXHIBITORLIVE visitors, experiential-marketing agency Impact XM married the power of motion with the lure of Legos. In effect, half of Impact XM's 20-by-30-foot space comprised a Lego station of sorts, where attendees could create miniature replicas of themselves using Lego components. Each plastic body part corresponded to one of the firm's core values and offerings. The head, for example, symbolized creative thinking, while the legs represented the company's installation-and-dismantle group, whose members have feet on the ground wherever they're needed. The station comprised a waist-high, roughly 8-foot-long cabinet. A moving conveyor belt covered with hundreds of customized Lego "minifigures" ran nearly the full length of the cabinet, generating the appearance that the plastic personas were rushing toward a scaled-down model of Impact's stand, which was positioned just beyond the moving apparatus. On either side of the belt, designers assembled a "buffet" of recessed cubbies filled with Lego parts that booth visitors could use to create their likenesses.

YTT Mannequins caught the eyes of passersby with four partially disassembled mannequins that "walked" along a side wall with the help of a concealed motor.
10. Bodies in Motion
Rather than displaying a static sampling of its mannequins at EuroShop 2017, Fu Jian Qi Hao Arts and Crafts Co. Ltd. (dba YTT Mannequins) created a kinetic element that had passersby stopping, staring, and whipping out their smartphones to snap pics and videos. Four headless, partially disassembled mannequins mounted to the exhibit's side wall seemed to walk in place as if activated by magic. In reality, the movement was controlled by a concealed motor that kept the mannequins walking in lockstep throughout the five-day show, attracting attendees long enough for staffers to swoop in, assess their needs, and initiate qualifying conversations.

A pair of faucet and showerhead displays filled Kludi GmbH & Co. KG's exhibit with the soothing sound of running water.
11. Water Works
Kludi GmbH & Co. KG, a provider of bathroom and kitchen fittings, hoped to demonstrate the emotional and functional uses of water in its exhibit at ISH 2017, a water- and energy-management show. Designed by Kohlhaas Messebau GmbH & Co. KG, the resulting stand featured the Ameo Fountain, a central water feature that highlighted one of the firm's core brands. Here, Ameo faucets positioned atop curvaceous pedestals spewed gentle streams of water into a stone-covered "pond" formed by a white, triangular basin. A similar aquatic element nearby featured eight functioning showerheads that filled a 3-foot-tall reservoir. Overhead, a suspended ceiling comprising hundreds of glass "drops" created a three-dimensional wave. Combined with the sophisticated exhibitry, the gently flowing water caught the eye while its calming sound soothed the spirit.
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