5/11/2007 - Trendy white couches getting a little stained? Can't look at the gray folding chairs supplied by the general contractor anymore? Want to make your own furniture but don't want the hassle of owning a manufacturing plant? How about going back to your childhood days, when you could take a box of building blocks and turn it into a castle in a matter of hours? The same principle applies to the new trend in tradeshow furniture.
For customers seeking a unique look – and the opportunity to change their minds about what their furniture expresses from one show to the next – furniture companies have an answer: fixtures that mix, match, stack, snap and pull apart. Welcome to the new LegoLand of furniture!
The first area where the Lego style is gaining visibility is in product displays, especially when it comes to medium and small-sized objects such as glassware, toys and even shoes. Smart Furniture based in Chattanooga, Tenn., has developed a system that uses interlocking components to build displays and shelving, which has been successfully used in consumer and tradeshows, as well as in retail stores and spas. The idea is that the segments can be stacked as well as connected side by side to create a unique presentation, fit booth space and give maximum visibility to each item.
"The shelving can completely cover the walls or be used as free-standing units," said Creative Director, Karen Liwanpo. "We have new components that allow you to turn corners or make a wave. At a recent trade show, a client stacked the units into a triangle and placed mannequins on every step. So you can always reconfigure it into a new look." Each piece consists of melamine with a medium density fiberboard core and is available in a variety of finishes and sizes. The company claims that the components resist "bowing" or swaying associated with other shelving products and offers a lifetime warranty. But the best part is the assembly is completely tool free. At a recent show, it took Liwanpo and her associate just two hours to set up a 10' x 20' and about the same amount of time to tear it down. All components fit onto two pallets.