Mini Brighton goes to London

Visit Brighton challenged us to create an exhibition stand with a difference, defy corporate mediocrity, represent all that is good about our beautiful city by the sea, its vibrancy, compactness, its heritage and progressive artistic nature.

Small is Beautiful exhibition stand visualisation in 3D
Small is Beautiful exhibition stand visualisation in 3D

We like those type of briefs that give us the creative freedom to come up with something that hasn’t been done before. Through a process of primary user research, creating personas and mood boards, brainstorming, and creative visualisations, we quickly settled on the concept of ‘Small is Beautiful’, a miniature portrait of the city. It ticked all the boxes for their key messages and would stand out from a roller banner toting crowd.

The exhibition stand, which is having its first outing at The Meetings Show in London Olympia on 26th – 27th June, is showcasing the principle venues that conference and event organisers can hire as well as representing their location in the city and the compactness that is a major selling point (no transport needed, just a short stroll along the seafront or through a thriving city).

Julia Gallagher, Head of Sales, Partnership & Marketing at VisitBrighton, said: “We wanted to give our Meetings Show visitors a strongly visual sense of how compact Brighton is. We also wanted to demonstrate the excellence of the creative, digital and IT sector in Brighton, which is why we worked with a locally-based company, Developing Dreams, to create Brighton in miniature, showing in detail the proximity of our conference and meetings venues and hotels.”

We looked at various methods to create the stand, and found that laser cutting plywood was a perfect fit. Also, as Brighton locals know, the city is awash with Regency architecture, which with its intricate designs translates well to the details a laser cutter can produce.

Royal Pavilion
Miniature version of the Royal Pavilion in front of its inspiring big counterpart.

As the concept grew, so did the innovation. As well as being a display, there were the logistics around setting up a stand with a limited time, size constraints, robustness, fire retardancy, modularity. Built into the stand solution is an innovative system that uses the packing boxes to create the hidden base structure of the stand itself so that it transforms from a packed down transportable system into a complete 5m x 3.5m display stand.

As well as a stunning visual display the stand also needed to have the function of a meeting space, this is a place where visitors have the possibility to engage one to one with the knowledgable Visit Brighton staff about the city’s offerings. Requiring something that would blend in with the aesthetic and produce a memorable experience and a talking point, we created the West Pier table and stools, and a Palace Pier work bar, which could be used for stand up conversations or sat at upon high stools.

West Pier table and chairs
We couldn’t resist turning the West Pier into a table and chairs for the exhibition stand.

Rachel Clark, Chief Executive of the West Pier Trust, said: “We love the West Pier table and chairs – it’s a completely original idea which succeeds in being quirky, humorous and practical whilst also respectful of the beloved West Pier ruin.”

Building the stand was an incredible journey, where we really pushed the limits of what can be achieved with laser cutting. Each venue has its own character, artistically interpreted from its real world counterpart by our multi-talented genius Rich Plastow. These are rendered at large size, but surrounding them is a wealth of smaller detail, the Downs, the London skyline, regency lamp posts, seagulls, ice cream, a carousel, small statues, and many other pieces that form the aesthetic whole.

One of the wonderful things about working with digital fabrication is that the final pieces so precisely mirrored the designs, millimetre for millimetre, enabling us to digitally conceptualise a modular system that fitted together in the workshop in precisely the way it was designed and provide the client with a finished stand that precisely matched our 3D concepts.

Thanks to:

VisitBrighton for giving us the creative freedom to come up with Small is Beautiful:
Exhibit Printing for their helpfulness, friendliness and superhuman efforts producing all the laser cutting for us to very tight deadlines.
3Dify for their technical advice, creative input and construction of the exhibition stand.

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