Formation Association

Formation Association

Los Angeles, CA


Sungarden Convention Exhibit

The Sungarden Tea convention exhibit subverts the accepted expectations of convention-floor design, trading the immediate pay-off of signage for an oblique multi-layered encounter.

Conceived as a 20' x 20' installation of simulated topiary labyrinth, the exhibit is composed of thousands of dye-cut cardboard panels.   Its stacked cardboard surfaces are colorized with green soy-based ink to suggest a pseudo-organic material and summon the associative atmosphere of labyrinthine gardens.

Operating against the visual overload often induced by trade-show conventions, this structure projects an enigmatic first impression while beckoning convention-goers to touch it's textured surface.  Unexpectedly, visitors often lean in nose-first to smell the exhibit booth walls - perhaps to further confirm what these walls might be made of.

The phenomenological impact delivered by the exhibit produces a multi-sensory call-to-action:  to touch, to smell, and to explore.  The novelty of the exhibit booth itself  produces social energy and various oblique conversations with attendant Sungarden Tea personnel, who enjoy a unique work environment and resultant 'sticky marketing' dynamics.


Additional Technical Description:

Emphasizing social interaction, the exhibit programmatically enables conversations with Sungarden personnel via areas for product display, beverage serving stations, and semi-private conferencing.  Stacked cardboard fluting surrounds these activities and is oriented for maximum sound absorption, providing a perceivable acoustic intimacy.  Favoring conversational situations over signage, the lighting strategy creates a visible warmth on faces and hands in the areas where people talk.

Structurally, the exhibit employs a novel construction method facilitating logistical and ecological agendas.  The custom dye-cut cardboard sheets are lightweight and recyclable, addressing shipping and product end-of-life considerations.  Stamped with a uniform array of holes to further reduce weight,  the cardboard sheets are then sleeved over an arrangement of vertical plastic pipes, providing a lateral-lock to the loose-stacked material.  Significantly, this strategy enables 96% of the cardboard walls to be free of binding adhesives.  This development reduces potential off-gassing and eliminates a surprising amount of additional weight  otherwise contributed by the application of adhesives.

While convention-floor guidelines generally prohibit the use of cardboard boxes for exhibit construction, the Sungarden Convention Exhibit fulfills the most stringent fire and safety regulations nationally.  A water-based fireproofing agent is mist-applied on not only the exterior surfaces of the exhibit, but also through all the inner surfaces of cardboard fluting.  Being thoroughly treated, the hollow vertical cores of the cardboard walls are allowed to serve as electrical chases and allow lighting fixtures to discharge heat via overhead convection. 

Combining experiential, environmental, and technical initiatives, the Sungarden Convention Exhibit coordinates an array of design strategies to produce an integrated exhibit approach, reaching audiences in a novel and memorable manner.

Read more

Status: Built
Location: Travelling Exhibit
Additional Credits: Photography: Formation Association