So much more than carpets
New exciting stand design and branding opportunity
For the last 40 years, the only exhibition flooring available was heavy-duty, bristle carpet tiles, available in a limited range of dark colours. This made absolute sense, due to the heavy initial investment required, for a product that was supplied on hire and the Henry-Ford logic of ‘any colour as long as it is black’.
The role of exhibition flooring was to ‘ground the eye’, keep the attention down on the exhibits and displays because if visitors looked up, they would see the unsightly air-conditioning ducting, electrics, trussing and rigging in the ceiling of exhibition venues.
The surface of exhibition venues are usually unsightly cement, frequently disfigured by previous tenants, so flooring was a necessity, especially carpeting that provided a softer look to a ‘cold’ venue and was easier on exhibitor’s aching feet!
Internationally, disposable carpet was tried, which was just a thinner version of heavy-duty, bristle carpet but it could be screen-printed, so offered a huge range of colours and display options as they could be purchased and cut to fit funny shaped display plinths, or even run from the floor, straight up the walls of stands. Disposable carpets have now been replaced by vinyl interlocking tiles, which are much cheaper and more versatile.
Modular raised floors – were introduced because old exhibition venues did not have ducting under the floors, to allow for electrics, plumbing and compressed air, to be delivered throughout the venue, via access panels. Modular raised floors, allow these services to be delivered anywhere on the stand. An additional bonus is adjustable feet, under the floor, which provides a flat surface on uneven floors.
Wheel-chair access, Approx. 10% of the South African population are disabled in some form or another, yet very few exhibitors with raised floors, provide wheel-chair access for stand visitors. Modular raised floors can easily accommodate ramps but the suppliers and stand builders report that largely, exhibitors are reluctant to pay the small additional cost of providing wheel-chair access to the stand. What message do these exhibitors send to their disabled prospects and clients?
Size matters – small stands want to look bigger, so use plain, lighter colour flooring. Darker colours make stands look smaller. Large checks or patterns, only really work on large exhibition stands, with lots of open areas.
Pre-qualifying visitors – an interesting technique is to use different colour stand flooring for your various products, divisions or activities. If you would like to have an on-stand demonstration or competition area, which is open to all exhibition visitors but would like to have a private area for interested prospects, then use different coloured flooring. Visitors pre-qualify themselves by attending the area of interest.
Purchasing exhibition flooring – if you exhibit frequently, it makes sense to buy, rather than hire, flooring.
Design crazy – I have walked on exhibition stand floors that were glass, filled with live fish, or full-colour graphics, even 3D flooring where your presence, or interaction, changed the pictures – in these examples, the flooring became the exhibits, which you can only view from the aisle. It is great to have all these choices for stand flooring but dont lose sight of it’s function.
Public liability insurance – all exhibitors should have public liability insurance for their exhibition participation, as they are responsible for the safety of visitors to their stand. Uneven, lumpy or ‘funky flooring’ are hazardous to stand visitors, particularly last-minute exhibitor decisions to hire wiring or tubing, under the carpets.