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BEST OF 30 YEARS
Exhibitor: Sonance Design: Pentagram SF Inc., San Francisco, 415-398-4063, www.pentagram.com Fabrication: Sparks Marketing Group Inc., Philadelphia, 215-676-1100, www.sparksonline.com Show: Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association Expo (CEDIA), 2006 Budget: $500,000 – $749,000 Size: 50-by-80 feet

PHOTOS: Padgett and Company Inc.
Colorful Cubism
Crank it up! While a mere three words, the phrase encapsulates the exhibit-design challenge handed down by Sonance, a high-end architectural-audio company founded in 1982. Sonance has always been head and tweeters above the competition when it comes to in-wall audio products. But in 2005, it realized the company's branding and exhibit designs had been playing the same tune for far too long. As such, Sonance enlisted the help of Pentagram SF Inc. to crank it up a noticeable notch.

Building Blocks
The exhibit's central aluminum frame – left exposed to reference the architectural feel of Sonance's audio products – was designed with modularity in mind. As such, this 50-by-80-foot exhibit could be reassembled to create a variety of configurations comprising anywhere from one to all four of the 11-foot aluminum cubes, along with a matching number of ground-floor, product-focused vignettes.
A study in form and simplicity, the resulting 50-by-80-foot exhibit was a three-dimensional representation of the company's logo, featuring a crescendo of grey boxes that symbolize amplification. Four 11-foot-square cubes created a focal point overhead. Reaching a height of 20 feet, the hollowed-out cubes housed fabric in the company's corporate color palette. The bottom of the cubes served as ceilings for abstract, product-filled vignettes below. Bamboo flooring echoing the shape of the bottom of each cube was paired with classic furniture to create an environment befitting the brand. To reinforce the architectural feel of Sonance's products, designers exposed the exhibit's central aluminum frame, which supported the cubes and created a visual link between the whimsical space above and the four product-focused rooms on the ground floor.

Exhibit Design Awards judges called the space "brilliant," and commended designers on the restrained use of color. "This is a smart use of overhead space," said one judge. "The boxes above balance exquisitely with the white space below, creating a prominent and impressive whole."

This simple but stunning exhibit didn't just crank up Sonance's presence; the booth also rocketed past other entrants, earning its place in history as one of the best exhibits from the past 30 years.

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