Tricycle NeoCon Exhibit 2004

Tricycle exhibits at the NeoCon World’s Trade Fair in Chicago each June to educate interior designers and architects about carpet sampling alternatives. The challenge is to draw foot traffic from among 1,200 exhibitors, many of which have much bigger budgets and are selling products rather than ideas.

We began by researching furnishings and fixtures with immediate fashion appeal. From these we narrowed our choices based upon cost, physical footprint and the ability to reuse the materials for other purposes following the show. We pursued an academic science lab theme because of the visual opportunities it afforded and the convenience of production. It also provided the ideal context for education. One wall of the exhibit became an oversized chalkboard, rendered with carpet sample and waste information. The facing wall held simulated carpet samples from leading customers with descriptions of how they promote alternative sampling practices. Tables and chairs were placed in the aisle space to suggest a classroom.

The exhibit was awarded the International Interior Design Association’s Creative Excellence Award, a badge that drew traffic simply on the strength of the design. Though the exhibit was a one-off, it was neither a sunk cost nor wasteful. Furnishings were repurposed as office furniture, and the chalk wall made dismantling as simple as using an eraser. The design is also part of the AIGA Design Archives.