Rather than compete in the crowded exhibit halls of the Tokyo Motor Show, Peugeot Citroën Japan KK Co. Ltd., the Japanese subsidiary of the French automaker, opted for less expensive real estate in Tokyo Big Sight's multistory atrium. The cost-conscious move gave Citroën more unfettered access to arriving attendees, but it also came with no minor speed bump: "Per venue regulations, no exhibit element could be more than roughly 4.5 feet tall," said Hakuten Corp. designer Naoki Nishimura.
Peugeot Citroën Japan KK Co. Ltd.'s decision to opt for a 2-D stand comprising a series of in-floor product displays not only accommodated an exhibit-height restriction of 4.5 feet but also maintained a high degree of visibility for attendees viewing the booth space from the venue's upper level.
Faced with this considerable design challenge, Nishimura first looked to the aesthetics of the recent rebrand of Citroën's showrooms for inspiration. Titled "La Maison Citroën," the concept involved wood-clad walls inset with cubbies displaying auto components, flatscreen monitors, and lifestyle objects. Knowing that many attendees would first see the exhibit from the atrium's upper level, Nishimura devised a solution to the height restriction that would be photogenic from high-angle views and reference Citroën's new retail spaces: simply turn a La Maison-style wall into a floor.
The resulting exhibit comprised little more than a 45-by-42-foot wood and laminate floor approximately 4 inches deep. The shallow depth allowed for a grid of in-floor cubbies for thoughtfully arranged car parts and branded swag, all topped with tempered glass strong enough to support a Citroën C3. An 85-inch embedded monitor provided the sole source of dynamic content via a promotional video with sound coming from an adjacent in-floor speaker.
This rigorous focus on 2-D design earned a round of applause from Exhibit Design Awards judges. "This is true innovation," said one judge. "There are no ancillary structures to block the view of the cars, yet there is so much detail." So kudos to Nishimura for breaking new ground - and from the ground up, to boot. E