Tips and Trends

Best of Show: International Home + Housewares Show

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

There was lots of creativity on display in the trade show exhibits at the 2019 International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago. Our 3D Exhibits team walked the floor, snapped photos, and prepared this showcase identifying our 10 favorite exhibits. Keep reading for tips and techniques you can integrate into your own booth to make your company’s exhibit design and marketing more compelling.


1. Thermos

This exhibit environment used illuminated backwalls and super-sized lifestyle graphics to showcase groups of products. (Exhibit design and fabrication by 3D Exhibits)

What we liked about it:

The super clean, uncluttered approach paired with crisp illumination created a calm, sophisticated ambiance that sensorially separated Thermos from the chaos of the show floor.


2. Sodastream

Sodastream, the beverage solution for people who want to save money and reduce the post-consumer waste, showcased its wares with an exhibit that featured a central café area complete with skylight. (Design and fabrication by Barzilai Exhibition Experts. Graphics by 0304 design studio.)

What we liked about it:

The messaging in this booth—both literal and implied—reinforces the product’s environmental benefits. Literal messages included a freestanding, supersized bottle that said “1 Sodastream bottle can replace thousands of plastic bottles.” Implied messaging included reclaimed-looking wood finishes and ring of hanging plants overhead. We also loved the empty Sodastream bottles that hung whimsically from the ceiling.


3. Wusthof

Wusthof stopped traffic with a booth that featured dynamic angles and larger-than-life images. (Design by Meile. Fabrication by MC2.)

What we liked about it:

This exhibit made a relatively small product feel like a really big deal. The simplicity of showing a single graphic of a slice of blood orange resulted in a complex and nuanced environment that clearly communicated “excellent cutting tools.” The fire oranges, yellows and burgundies of the graphics contrasted with stark-white displays—calling attention to the products. The unexpected acute and obtuse angles resulted in a dynamic illusion of weight and mass. The exhibit almost felt like it was in motion.


4. LifeStraw

LifeStraw proved that inline exhibits can be interesting with a wooden tree whose canopy extended over most of the exhibit before merging into the product display shelves. (Design and fabrication by Greenspace.)

What we liked about it:

Lifestraw’s unfinished “tree of life” articulated its outdoor roots and green proclivity (the product was first marketed to outdoor sports retailers). Its wavering “branches” caught attendees' eyes and led them toward the product display.


5. BergHOFF

BergHOFF’s simple layout and waist-height product displays reminded us that less is, in fact, often more. (Exhibit design and fabrication internal.)

What we liked about it:

BergHOFF employed color coding to match each display surface to its corresponding product line. This enabled attendees to quickly make the connection between the product they were viewing and the product line it belongs to.


6. Pyrex

Pyrex fabricated a greenhouse-like pavilion to showcase its products. (Design and fabrication by Czarnowski.)

What we liked about it:

The greenhouse roof gave the environment a casual-but-stylish garden party vibe that enabled attendees to envision how the products would look both in their stores and how they would look in people’s homes. Although the panels were actually fabric, they created the impression of a white-washed glass roof.


7. Lifetime Brands

This grouping of exhibits showcased 36 different brands under one umbrella. Our favorite display was Rabbit. Their deconstructed pool display was clever, elegant and the perfect way to showcase outdoor products. (Design internal. Fabrication by Czarnowski.)

What we liked about it:

Rabbit’s approach showed that you can create a great vignette without building every wall and defining every surface. A theme floor treatment, tropical backdrop, a little bit of wall and deck, rails for the stairs, and a single potted palm are all it took to make it very clear that this space is a pool.


8. Libbey

Libbey’s edgy exhibit interior conveyed an urban loft vibe. (Design and fabrication by 3D Exhibits.)

What we liked about it:

The rough-wood floors, exposed brick, raw steel finishes, and concrete display surfaces (really faux finishes) gave this stalwart brand an updated look and feel that non-verbally communicates its products’ millennial appeal.


9. Neatfreak!

Neatfreak! proved that it’s possible to enclose your booth without forgoing a compelling, externally-oriented product showcase. (Design firm name unavailable.)

What we liked about it:

Designing the exterior of the booth to look like an urban storefront was both attractive and functional. Who doesn’t slow down to peer into a well-designed store window? We especially like the clever use of the orange “awnings” to articulate Neatfreak!’s product categories—and the selected orange accents that show attendees where to look.



10. Takenaka Bento Box

Bento Box used hot pink accents and details to visually unify its exhibit. This is little but loud at its finest. (Design done internally with fabrication by Vendome Exhibits.)

What we liked about it:

Bento Box showed a great instinct for adding enough of its highlight color to create consistency—but not overdoing it. For instance, Bento Box finished the front edges of the display shelving on the backwall hot pink, while leaving the insides white to create a frame effect. If Bento Box had extended the pink to the sides of the shelves, the color would have distracted from its products. Ditto for the floor where great restraint was shown in incorporating just the right number of pink squares.

Which of these is your favorite exhibit?


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