Furniture News #376

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PRODUCTS STAND DESIGN Gregor Ryan’s work for At the Helm was declared Furniture News’ Stand of the Show at last year’s January Furniture Show

STANDS THAT DELIVER! With Covid-19 bringing the traditional trade exhibition circuit to a standstill, Paul Farley asks prominent stand designers for their take on the format’s future, and the challenges of balancing distancing and display …

Alan Jenkins, MD, Quadrant2Design

Adam Ashborn, founder and creative director, Reborn Marketing and Design

Ryan McNeish, creative director, Gregor Ryan

The pandemic has hit the exhibition industry hard. The strengths of the trade show format – face-to-face business, socialising, touching and feeling product – became huge negatives as the Government sought to limit the spread of Covid-19 (and that’s before one considers the interactions taking place in the associated transport and hospitality spaces), and many of the furniture trade’s bestloved meeting platforms were forced to close shop.

While some organisers have delivered virtual events in an attempt to maintain continuity, the majority of buyers and sellers yearn to be back to doing business in a pre-Covid manner, and trade exhibitions are set to be back to scratch that itch from this spring. People and product aside, a key part of the appeal of trade events is the exhibition stands on show. Despite their short lifespans, the best booths function as welcoming, intimate and inspirational spaces all at once, enabling suppliers to showcase their latest ranges and services in the best possible light (while enjoying a chat and a beverage with their customers) – and with retail theatre now considered an in-store essential, the role of the show stand as an exemplar of product display has only gained emphasis. With furniture business already planning their spaces ahead of the sector’s long-awaited restart, Furniture News asked some of the best in the business – Adam Ashborn (Reborn Marketing and Design), Ryan McNeish (Gregor Ryan) and Alan Jenkins (Quadrant2Design) – to explain how they’ve negotiated the pandemic, and what its long-term effects on stand design and planning might be …

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