A report by the UNICBLUE architecture department
Bread & Butter
The expectations of Bread & Butter were high given that Zalando had taken more than a year to present a new edition of the show. Our first impression: smarter, more target-group-focused – and above all more youthful! All in keeping with the motto: Fashion, Music & Food.
Since the overall scale of the event was reduced, it was mainly the big players of the fashion industry that were represented. The overall impression of the exhibition stands was colourful, flashy and audience-focused. Social influencers and networks have been major themes in the fashion world in recent years, so it came as no surprise that almost every stand had a photo box with direct upload to the leading fashion network Instagram – and Instagram itself had a stand too, of course.
One highlight was to be a guest appearance by top model Gigi Hadid at the Tommy Hilfiger stand. Embarrassingly enough, however, the stand was still being constructed while the first visitors were gathering and waiting for Gigi to appear. In addition to the photo boxes and fashion shows , another visible trend at the stands was interaction – either by means of stand personnel, technical equipment, virtual reality or hands-on activities, as befitted the brand in question.
Of all the stands, we were particularly impressed by the spatial communication provided by Adidas: there was a presentation showing the development of a shoe from the initial idea right through to production and the finished article. Visitors could use cutting machines and plotters and create their own designs at the iPad, allowing them to experience the entire process for a holistic brand experience.
A fascinating trend barometer for temporary architecture which we will feed into future projects.
As everyone knows, after Bread & Butter is before the IFA Berlin. The focus here was on the smart home and virtual reality, with all exhibitors presenting complete home control systems with end devices and/or the relevant software.
Virtual reality headsets in particular were used to give visitors a thrilling trade fair experience: whether roller coaster, cycle or kayak rides – VR technology is capable of almost everything nowadays. A parachute simulator with VR headset was the virtual highlight.
Of the many protagonists present, Samsung was especially striking: they had hired their own separate hall to present VR technology and their new flagship, the Note 7. Sony’s stand was interesting, too: it was longitudinal in shape with large-scale projections accompanied by sound – and made entirely of wood, thereby contrasting sharply and positively with the technology. LG had set up a long tunnel made of LCD televisions: this kept the security busy as it attracted never-ending crowds of people.
In terms of architecture, the focus was on solutions for exhibition stands that are more difficult to create. Siemens was very interesting in this respect, with a polygon-type design which was very futuristic in style.
Other details were of interest, too: how are stand edges/corners handled? What use is made of new media?
The presence of Asian companies in smartphone and TV production was very impressive – these devices were the main attractions for most companies. Hisense has paved the way and now there are several as yet unknown companies that are moving into the European market with small and large appliances.
The overall conclusion: nothing’s impossible! However, in terms of the genuine integration of digital media and consistent dovetailing, there is still plenty of room for improvement at many exhibition stands.