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Category Commended


Showcase 2018



Steven McNamara



Exhibition Design

Structures and Spaces


Steven McNamara (Lead Designer, Roji), Knut Klimmek (Joinery)

Design Challenge and Design Ideas

The brief required the design, build and install of a display system capable of presenting a wide variety of product, ranging from tiny stud earrings to oversized cushions. Exhibited within a large trade fair, these products would be the ‘best of’ from Irish craft and design exhibitors.

As the trade show is an annual event, a key consideration was the ability to reuse the shelving for future events. The display units were to be located in three different halls, each with their own varying lighting levels and backdrops.

The key challenges were to create a design that was impactful and consistently recognisable within each hall, ensured all products were properly lit regardless of the halls ambient lighting, and entirely customisable at short notice depending on the quantity and size of content.

How the brief was fulfilled

The concept was to create a 3D catalogue, framing each product within a crisp white box, while using a white light to create an almost clinical environment for assessing each object. This made sense because the target audience are buyers who are primarily concerned with quickly and easily getting a feel for what is on show.

The challenge was in maintaining the simplicity of this concept, while dealing with the reality of needing cables to individually light each box in order to be able to position the boxes anywhere within the structure, having the flexibility to lengthen or shorten the units, and incorporating elements of the overall Showcase brand guidelines.

The idea developed into a solid timber larch frame that suspends the display boxes only at their front edge. This means that there is a separate and uninterrupted backdrop behind the boxes, allowing for the presentation of large format images relevant to the current shows imagery, which in this instance was textured natural materials.

The resulting mechanism and hole spacing for holding the boxes in place simultaneously caters to the lighting cable requirements, keeping the outcome very clean, and pushing the perception that the light boxes are simply floating.

As the framework is modular, the shelves can be extended or shortened as required, and the number of boxes used and how they are displayed is completely customisable. In addition the easily updated backdrop will allow the client to significantly change the feel of the units depending on the colours and graphics employed for future shows.

Triangular inserts were also created along with folded perspex to allow for the safe display of jewellery, these jewellery inserts could be used in any of the boxes as everything was consistent within the modular framework.

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