Small Business Stories: creating a show-stopping trade show booth

Retail Ready with Made On Jupiter

If you’re a small business owner, exhibiting at a trade show is something that can really boost your business. Not only will you meet lots of prospective clients and buyers, but those places are always packed with members of the press. I’ve been to a handful of ICFFs, Stationery Shows, NeoCons, and lots of art fairs — and let me tell you, your booth design makes all the difference.

When it comes to trade shows, your booth matters more than your product. So what does it take to create a booth everyone wants to visit? Well it isn’t easy, but it’s certainly attainable.

Just ask Made on Jupiter, the digital fabrication specialist branch of New Zealand based design collective Jupiter Jazz.

Their latest project was the Puffer, a cumulus-cloud looking trade show booth developed for Siggraph Asia. The time lapse video above shows the assembly of over 1000 uniquely shaped cones to create the booth.

Tom Kluyskens published a detailed account of how his team went from design idea to booth build in less than 5 weeks.

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Ten excellent examples of CNC routing

Best of the Blog 2011 – CNC routing

Overshadowed somewhat in recent years by laser cutting and 3D printing, CNC routing remains a fabrication technology with enormous potential. It can be used with more materials than 3D printing and creates 3D shapes more easily than laser cutting. These ten examples show this technique at its best.

#10 Giant CNC’d Scrabble

What do you do when there is a giant CNC mill just waiting to be used? Giant Scrabble of course. This enormous board game was made by those clever students at MIT.

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On Site: Digital fabrication and mid-century seats at Graffiti Gone Global during Art Basel Miami Beach

CNC, NBA, and Eames

Earlier this month Miami was invaded by celebrities, gallerists, museum directors, designers, and lots of rich people for the 10th annual Art Basel Miami Beach.

This international contemporary art fair has spawned countless satellite fairs, events, launches, exhibitions, and parties. I stopped in Midtown Miami’s Design District to check out one them: Graffiti Gone Global.

Now in it’s fifth year, GGG was developed by restaurant entrepreneur Shimon Bokovza to celebrate urban culture.

The statement piece of the show was a cumulous cloud looking aluminum structure entitled ‘Labyrs Frisae’ by architect and designer Marc Fornes. Although I assume the 256 sheets of metal were CNC cut, the aesthetic is in line with what The Economist calls the “organic look” of 3D printed designs.

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Expandable Surface Pavilion

Zero-waste construction enabled by digital manufacturing processes

If you thought this structure looks a little like one of those highly engineered, digitally manufactured, Architect-driven projects… you’d be spot-on.

It took the combined brain power of Pablo Zamorano, Nacho Marti and Jacob Bek to make the magic happen for the Expandable Surface Pavilion.

Produced as a meeting room for the SPOGA furniture design exhibition in Cologne, Germany, one of the notable features of this design is a clever use of what’s been termed zero-waste construction. The structure can be scaled to suit specific requirements of various spaces, and will retain its form without any need for additional framework or supports.

Click through for a brief construction time-lapse video.

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Wonderful onion dome structures — the Zome

Rob Bell’s temporary zonohedral structuresRob Bell's Temporary Structure

Rob Bell, a maker with a professional background in software development has creates interesting temporary structures with Sketchup Pro and a Shopbot CNC Router. His clever joinery details allow the structures to be assembled without the use of tools.
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Incredible CNC milled columns designed with Processing

Michael Hansmeyer’s marvelous columns.

These astoundingly intricate columns by Michael Hansmeyer were designed in Processing using a subdivision process before being CNC milled slice by slice from 1mm ABS plastic. Yes, I did say 1mm.

As you might imagine, this means that each column has an enormous number of layers, 2700 in fact. Each column has a core of wood and iron to keep all those layers in place and support what must be significant weight.
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WikiHouse – the open source house

CNC mill a livable house.

WikiHouse is a new project trying to make house construction open source. With WikiHouse anyone could download plans to CNC mill and assemble a house. The system relies on standard 2440mm x 1220mm (8′ x 4′) 18mm plywood. Besides a CNC mill, you only need basic hardware and hand tools. The plans can be altered in Google Sketchup and new designs can be offered back to the community.
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Curved folding construction techniques

New ways of getting beyond 2D
Curved fold by Yoshinobu Miyamoto
One of the things I love about digital fabrication is the process of elevating 3D forms from 2D materials. “2D materials” – anything that comes in a sheet – have all kinds of inherent efficiencies in terms of modelling, manufacturing, transport, and assembly, but it takes a certain amount of mental gymnastics to translate them into 3D objects. I stumbled across this image today and it opened up a fascinating new world for me – a construction technique known as curved folding. (more…)

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Surreal 3d Architecture mods

Skylines and streetscapes in fantastical transformation

For Victor Enrich, the built environment is a conceptual playground where the imagination roams free.

An expert in 3d architectural visualization, these striking compositions show local (mostly in Tel Aviv, Israel) landmarks bursting from within the confines of their rectilinear and physical law-abiding realities.

The process involves taking photographic studies of the target building, and then constructing 3d models which are manipulated to become one with the original image.   (more…)

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Pop-up architecture

Making a building appear from a flat sheet of paper.

Occasionally I like post an unusually good example of transforming 2D material into a 3D form. Laser cutting is wonderful technology, but it is restricted to two dimensions, and it can be extremely difficult to push a project into the third dimension.

While I don’t think these pop-up buildings from Shimizu laboratory were laser cut, they do show an elegantly simply method of creating volume from a flat sheet.

Keep reading past the jump for more beautiful examples.
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