For more than a decade, Event Marketer has been recognizing the best event and exhibit environments among this industry’s top experience designers and innovators. Hundreds of shops, agencies and brands from around the world submitted their best work across a dozen categories last fall, but only the 36 programs you’re about to see earned top honors.

With access to so many industry-leading programs right at our fingertips, we couldn’t help but see some common threads among the groundbreaking programs this industry is churning out. We pored over all of the entries and then distilled them down to a few recurring themes that, we think, will lead the way in 2015. Here, our preview of the five event design trends impacting the experience landscape this year. And in the pages ahead, our complete report on the winners of the 2014 Event Design Awards.

–Jessica Heasley

Check out our coverage, including a gallery of all the winners, below. Or, browse our Event Design Awards board on Pinterest.

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Best B-to-B Event Environment

Event Design Award Winner
Designer/Builder: Sparks
Client: Google
Project: I/0 2014

When the exchange of great ideas is at the heart of your event, sometimes it’s best to get out of the way and let the magic happen. Google’s design approach to its annual I/O developer’s conference did just that, with an effortless blend of communal spaces, welcoming exhibit elements and blank canvases that, altogether, invited the kind of hands-on collaboration the brand wanted for attendees.

The first measure of success: transforming the cavernous, three-level Moscone West convention center in San Francisco into a series of intimate common and productive spaces. Google achieved this through the use of whiteboards and the creation of hacker lounges, communal discussion zones and even a “lounge mountain” that attendees could climb upon, then code or chat with fellow attendees. The spaces were decidedly low-tech, featuring wood and paper as the primary materials. Exposed plywood edged the registration, welcome, partner demo and interactive areas. Large wood stumps served as informal seating areas. Two 21-foot by 27-foot “clouds” made of Tyvek sheets stapled into “chains” hung suspended from the soaring ceilings above the partner area. Two local artists created a custom pattern for 360-linear feet of fabric wall throughout the space. The entire design and material story mapped to Google’s latest “Material Design” launch (see pg. 52).

For the brand with the colorful logo, I/O wasn’t a complete departure. Bright pops of color dotted the muted eventscape. It was just enough to give attendees a bold, bright reminder to dream big—and have fun doing it. Of course, engagement between attendees and Google’s people and products was a top priority, so the brand took a cue from its “simple and sophisticated” approach to streamline its partner experiences from a series of individual kiosks into a consolidated partner showcase area where informal sessions, speakers and other meetings could take place in a casual setting. The result: attendees found it easier to see how Google’s products integrated with one another.

Gold Winner
Designer/Builder: Tencue Productions
Client: AutoDesk
Project: One Team Conference 2014

This two-part conference opener, designed to reorient AutoDesk’s sales force by disorienting them first, kicked off in a stark, standing-room-only space that dramatically came to life with a roaring fleet of trick motorcycle riders, screaming guitar riffs and showers of sparks from metal grinder-wielding performers. A 200-foot scrim then dropped to reveal a 50-foot convex screen pulsing like a strobe light with powerful images that eventually gave way to the show’s opening video.

Silver Winner
Designer/Builder: City Creative
Client: EMC Corp.
Project: Redefine Possible

London’s historic Old Billingsgate Market was the setting for this dazzling high-tech product launch. The standout design element: a “Doctor Who”-inspired TARDIS police box that opened to a digital LED bridge that “transported attendees to the hybrid cloud.” The floor pulsed with moving “digital rain” underfoot and pushed attendees through the tunnel to a back-lit hybrid cloud where guests were able to enjoy a lounge, watch live coverage of the event and interact with new products.

Best Consumer Event Exhibit/Environment

Event Design Award Winner
Designer/Builder: Loki Box Design
Client: Bell Canada
Project: Bell Box 2014

As a top sponsor of three of Canada’s biggest music and entertainment festivals, Bell Canada wanted to make a statement. The resulting four-story Bell Box not only created the dominant presence the company was looking for, it used its very architecture to represent the brand as a cutting edge, technologically advanced and digitally savvy telecom.

Six shipping containers were configured into a modular, 40-foot structure that offered 2,000 square feet of interior space, 700 feet of rooftop space and an additional 700 feet of ground-level space around the perimeter. A giant screen on the unit’s facade was used as a social media mosaic connecting users to live festival performances on other stages, as well as for conveying festival updates and buzz, celebrity sightings, breaking news and coverage of the day’s events.

Inside, consumers could get hands-on with the brand’s products, check out a studio where live TV and radio broadcasts were taking place, tap into a live social media command center and, for VIPs and media, take in the view from the rooftop terrace. A contemporary mix of metals and woods kept the interior surfaces feeling sleek yet welcoming. Interior finishing and furnishing, mostly white, minimalist and utilitarian, served as a blank canvas for Bell’s products and signature blue branding.

Outside, the raw steel of the containers was treated to create a smooth white finish. The finish reflected the structure’s lighting, creating a cool blue glow that was a key part of the overall ambience and a deliberate part of Bell’s branding strategy. At night, soft blue light emanated from the structure while thin strips of chase lights sculpted around the lines of the shipping container’s structure emanated energy.

Festival attendees found the Box hard to resist; throughput increased over previous sponsorship years and on-site sales grew as well.

Gold Winner
Designer/Builder: Pop2Life Creative
Client: Scripps Networks
Project: HGTV Lodge

HGTV brought a taste of home, and its home-inspired programming, to the Country Music Association’s Music Festival with a freestanding “urban-chic” barn. Wood floors, wood beams and authentic decorative elements added to the barn experience. Inside, fans enjoyed live music performances and meet-and-greets. Outside, a large front porch and LED screens streamed all the action inside. Guests could relax in a shaded “Rest & Recharge” area on custom designed benches equipped with phone chargers.

Silver Winner
Designer/Builder: United Entertainment Group, Krispr Communications
Client: Kellogg
Project: Recharge Bar

Kellogg’s transformed a vacant storefront in Manhattan into a pop-up experience where consumers could rethink cereal and milk. The space featured reclaimed wood, bright red metal stools and a digital menu board that looked like a chalkboard during the day and then produced a glow-in-the dark effect at night. Other cool design elements: a 28-foot infographic on the benefits of cereal and milk, and a staircase graphic depicting a bottle of milk pouring from the top of the steps into a bowl of cereal below.

Best Museum Environment

Event Design Award Winner
Designer/Builder: Interbrand Design Forum/Xibitz
Client: Amway
Project: Nutrilite Center for Optimal Health

Amway’s Center for Optimal Health (COH) is a 33,000-square-foot space dedicated to teaching and training 20,000 visitors and Amway Business Owners each year. To give its Nutrilite brand a boost, the company commissioned a reimagination of the visitor journey. The result: a series of seamlessly connected environments that mix the vibrant colors and materials of nature with the crisp, clean lines of a science lab to create a consistent narrative for the brand.

The redesigned experience starts outside the main entry where visitors walk along a concrete path inlaid with Amway’s four fundamentals (Freedom, Family, Hope, Reward) in metal letters. Just before they enter the building, guests are introduced to their first shareable photo opp: the first truck from Nutrilite’s original farm filled with bins of fresh produce.

As visitors move inside they receive an RFID badge that triggers personalized digital displays at several of 20 different technology touch points throughout the tour. At a rooftop “greenhouse” guests learn about sustainable farming practices and enjoy the scents and tastes of various herbs.

Inside the R&D building guests have the opportunity to watch research in action as scientists work on perfecting their methods. A favorite interactive moment is the tablet press that enables guests to use the assortment of phytonutrients (a core component of the brand’s products) to create their own supplement; behind it, a wall of colorful beakers representing the phytonutrients. In the next space, visitors get a look behind the scenes at the quality and testing process.

The last stop of the journey offers interactive kiosks to reinforce the brand’s core principles. Visitors have an opportunity to record their own videos and let their voices be heard, and guests can also share their dreams on the Leave Your Mark wall.

Throughout all of the spaces found items that map back to Nutrilite’s heritage are repurposed as art. One stairwell features a two-story installation made of farm irrigation equipment. Another uses plow disc blades. And all visitors are free to grab a tasty farm-fresh fruit or vegetable right off the company’s first truck on their way in or out of the museum.

Gold Winner
Designer/Builder: JDHgroup
Client: Alf Engen Ski Museum
Project: Take Flight Interactive

Yes, it’s home to a dazzling display of 300 trophies, medals, scrapbooks, skis, boots, films and other collectibles that span some 70 years in the career of the Engen family. But the real design star is the interactive ski jump where visitors can see how it feels to soar like an Olympic ski jumper. Wind generators, a vibrating base, sound effects and actual aerial 3D footage shot from a drone make it an exhilarating adrenaline rush.

Silver Winner
Designer/Builder: Luci Creative/Ravenswood Studio
Client: Museum of Science and Industry Chicago
Project: Numbers In Nature, A Mirror Maze

In an effort to make math more fun, this exhibit brought nature’s most beautiful and complex patterns to life. Design highlights: an animated hallway filled with lenticular images that revealed hidden repeating patterns found throughout nature, a dizzying mirror maze comprised of equilateral triangular chambers (some with hidden motion triggered “Easter Eggs” inside) and a room filled with hands-on interactives designed to make complex connections between music, architecture and math as easy as a walk in the park.

Best Trade Show Environment (50x50 and Up)

Event Design Award Winner
Designer/Builder: Catalyst Exhibits
Client: Siemens
Project: RSNA

As one of the biggest exhibitors at the annual Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) show, Siemens had two important design challenges: First, to transform nearly 23,000 square feet of exhibit space into a series of targeted experiences that conveyed the brand’s equal competence in high-end imaging and cost-conscious imaging equipment. Second, to find a way to leverage the booth’s long, linear format as an asset that could generate foot traffic and leads. The company met both challenges head on with an environment that delivered an increase in booth traffic of 16.8 percent over the previous year and an 11.9 percent boost in qualified leads.

Central to its success was the soaring, 290-foot arch that curved from one end of the exhibit to the other. Made of lightweight aluminum and fabric, and branded with glowing dimensional logos on each end, its striking size and curvilinear shape was just one of many architectural and spatial planning moves that set this massive, yet accessible exhibit apart. A 225-foot-long LED ribbon running along the bottom of the monolith displayed dynamic animations and way-finding cues for attendees.

A four-foot-tall raised floor helped Siemens create its own environment separate from the rest of the show. The front 40 feet of the linear main aisle provided product demonstrations, while the back half of the booth provided areas for hospitality. Transparent navigation towers along the front edge of the space led attendees from one demo area to the next. Thoughtfully aimed LED theatrical lighting directed cool pools of light onto new products. A mix of soft metal and glossy white structural materials, subtle pops of blue to reference the brand and cutting-edge interactive technologies and displays rounded out the design strategy.

An attention-getting architectural statement above with a thoughtfully planned engagement strategy below. Challenges accepted.

Gold Winner
Designer/Builder: CenterPoint Marketing
Client: Sub-Zero/Wolf
Project: EuroCucina 2014

With nearly 100 products beautifully imbedded throughout, Sub-Zero’s exhibit at the annual international kitchen design show in Milan felt more like a high-end restaurant than a product showcase. The modernist white structure was punctuated with plate glass windows and set at an unexpected angle to the booth’s parameters. Luxurious materials like marble and Zebrawood could be found throughout. To evoke the theme “Food is Art,” a white canopy with color changing LED lighting focused on floating “napkins.”

Silver Winner
Designer/Builder: Czarnowski
Client: Sandvik
Project: IMTS 2014

Sometimes, less really is more. High-tech manufacturing was the inspiration for this minimalist environment where people could get their hands on (or see live streams of) cutting tools and supplies in action. Dramatic, off-kilter exterior lines made this white-washed booth bold and fresh from the aisle. Three distinct custom-programmed RFID interactive tables brought Sandvik’s high-end machine tools to life. The environment had a deceptively smooth look, but brimmed with activity.

Best Trade Show Environment (Under 50x50)

Event Design Award Winner
Designer/Builder: K2 Fabrication and Design
Client: Intense Lighting
Project: Lightfair International 2014

Exhibits need to draw attention, but sometimes products get lost in overambitious design concepts. Intense Lighting at the Lightfair International show in Las Vegas leveraged a stylish set design (with practical, real-world showcases) that positioned its solutions-based sustainable lighting products as architectural statements. Dimmer switches and natural accents, from plants to river stones and wood finishes, helped tie the brand’s green messaging into the design.

Intense Lighting offered bright and informative experiences at each entry point to the exhibit. At one, six illuminated banner columns welcomed attendees into the 1,200-square-foot space, each highlighting a category of product with its own earth tone color scheme. At another point of entry, a wall of tiled flat screens depicted scenes of the products in outdoor use-case scenarios; another, a retail setting with mannequins.

The interior of the booth (which was 16 feet high) featured a reception and hospitality bar as well as a 300-square-foot decked platform in the center of the footprint that served a dual purpose: as a showcase for stair and handrail lighting solutions, and a space for demos and entertaining.

As for the overall elements of the booth, designers built the product kiosks and vignettes as freestanding units for the show. All of the lighting fixtures in the exhibit were fully functional, with switching and dimming capabilities to show off one product area or change the mood inside the footprint. The walls featured a mahogany wood louvered framing system. There was warm lighting and dimensional signage. And thanks to lightweight construction materials, Intense Lighting saved money on shipping costs and time, because the exhibit was easy to set up and break down.

According to the client, prospective consumers and distributors were “appreciative of the clear messaging and practical experiences within the exhibit.” And the figurative light bulb flips on.

Gold Winner
Designer/Builder: Holman
Client: Choice Properties
Project: ICSC

Interior designers will tell you—mirrors can really open up a room. Choice Properties’ inclusion of mirrored façades not only gave its 40-foot by 20-foot exhibit at the ICSC show in Toronto a sleek look and feel, but also a larger appearance. Another element worth noting: the raised LED-lit flooring that encircled the footprint. The lighting effect, the color of which could be changed by remote control, gave the booth a virtual lift and a glowing edge against its neighbors.

Silver Winner
Designer/Builder: Exhibitus
Client: Kawneer
Project: American Institute of Architects 2014

Kawneer products and solutions are designed to protect the environment where people work, play and live, so it makes sense that the brand incorporated “green” materials like fabric, aluminum and glass into its 30-foot by 50-foot booth. The design boasted curvilinear styles, gloss white laminate and silicon-edged graphics inserted into asymmetrical curved panels. All told, the exhibit was lightweight and easy to assemble and yet, looked solid and complicated—in a good way.

Best Use of Media A/V

Event Design Award Winner
Designer/Builder: MKG
Client: Audi
Project: A3 National Launch

The launch of the Audi A3 was the luxury automotive brand’s biggest in recent years. Not only did it have a sleek vehicle to show off, the launch itself signified a new chapter for Audi as it positioned itself in front of a more youthful audience: Millennials. Audi needed to capture the attention of this notoriously distracted target, not exactly chomping at the bit to make car purchases in the first place, with an event amplified by national press coverage.

Using a “first-ever” combination of technology, Audi brought its story to life with bicoastal simultaneous events featuring electrifying concerts by M.I.A. in New York City (at SIR Stage 37) and Janelle Monae in Los Angeles (at Quixote Studios). Following their performances, audiences watched as the two performers appeared together on stage through the magic of life-size holography. Partners Obscura and Vita Motus created the effect by incorporating projection mapping on the backdrop and the animated hologram of the artist in the foreground.

More projection mapping helped audiences understand the car brand’s history and redesign with stunning visuals, a custom art installation RGB wall (created by Milan-based Carnovsky) and LED lighting revealing different layers of A3 designs against “scapes” like the city, mountains and beach. The wall was a hit with guests and turned into a frequent photo op and social-sharing experience throughout the night. We’re guessing the circular Audi “O” bar was a hit, too.

The launch garnered significant press (70 million impressions the day after the launch experience) and social media chatter in the music world (more than 3.6 million impressions). But, most importantly, the event design allowed Audi to emerge as a leader pushing technological boundaries in line with the cutting-edge features of the new A3.

Gold Winner
Designers/Builders: HS Ad, Barkley Kalpak Agency
Client: LG
Project: Art of the Pixel

The LG Art of the Pixel competition showcased new media art. In true form, the brand’s awards gala featured the finalists’ work displayed on “digital canvases”—LG TVs—in a gallery inside massive Gotham Hall in New York City. LG took the theme a step further and used 7,200 square feet of the venue’s walls as a canvas for projection-mapped content, displaying finalist entries, logos, famous works of art and quotes, and transforming dinner into a spectacular visual experience.

Silver Winner
Designer/Builder: Mirror Show Management
Client: Cisco
Project: Cisco Live

At its flagship conference, Cisco wanted to bring its new Internet of Everything messaging to life. It did so with a wide collection of monitors and interactive surfaces. But the shining star of the experience was a 4,000-square-foot angled canopy grid display towering over attendees’ heads. The interactive grid featured changing images and embedded graphics in a self-running mode—content inspired by the way the Internet of Everything story is told at Cisco.com.

Best Stage at a B-to-B Event/Meeting

Event Design Award Winner
Designer/Builder: Proscenium
Client: Walmart
Project: Shareholders Meeting

The Walmart Shareholders Meeting is one of the largest and most complicated corporate events of the year. It’s not only a business meeting. It’s a pep rally and a rock concert, designed to inspire associates and shareholders in an arena and all over the world via a webcast. Walmart certainly set the stage for success at the 2014 meeting.

The stage design was inspired by a news story on how Walmart’s distribution center switched to all LED lighting. The strategy: LED screens, and a lot of them. Screens were extra large, and purposefully placed. This included one massive, 133-foot-high resolution LED screen surface that spread across the stage. Three high-fashion runways then extended out from the stage, allowing speakers and performers to walk out, reach out and literally touch audience members. Three LED screens mirrored those runways from above with graphics and images of Walmart associates from around the world. All six, ray-like elements were designed to hint at the “spark,” Walmart’s signature brand mark.

The stage served as the performance space for a handful of superstar musical talent, including Harry Connick, Jr. and his band, Pharrell Williams, who came out on a mobilator, and Sarah McLachlan, revealed high above the stage on an elevating platform while she performed the opening chords of “I Will Remember You.” The LED elements and the high-octane artist entrances all meshed together well.

There were messages to be delivered, but Walmart wanted to make sure those messages were delivered in the same way for those sitting in the first row or the last row or around the world watching from a computer. Certainly, the design made all attendees feel they had the best seats in the show. And quite “Happy,” too. Right, Pharrell?

Gold Winner
Designer/Builder: TBA Global
Client: Samsung
Project: 2014 CES Press Conference

Samsung needed to launch a variety of product categories at its CES press event covering television, tablets and home appliance innovation. So, it leveraged a stage equipped with five computerized mobilator units that presented these categories in one cohesive format. The units moved and revealed featured products on and off the stage, including an entire kitchen of appliances. On top of that, Samsung used a 10-projector blend to support a 120-foot-wide curved video screen to display content. Nice.

Silver Winner
Designer/Builder: Zed Ink
Client: Microsoft
Project: Xbox E3 2014 Media Briefing

For its E3 2014 media briefing presentation, Xbox staged an epic stage experience. An 80-foot center LED screen featured massive moving semi-transparent scenic doors that opened and closed to accommodate game trailers and demos. Three more LED screens stood angled to the floor as backgrounds for satellite multi-player demos and presenters. The show featured over a terabyte of custom animations, requiring more than 17,000 channels of data, 70 wireless frequencies and 400,000 watts of power for the PA system.

Best Outdoor Environment

Event Design Award Winner
Designer/Builder: inVNT
Client: PepsiCo
Project: #PEPCITY

There were many experiences and structures to compete with during Super Bowl last year in New York City, including the massive Super Bowl Boulevard fan village. To promote its partnership with the NFL during that week and stand out from the crowd of brands, PepsiCo decided to stage a food and entertainment hub under a dazzling dome in Bryant Park, just a stone’s throw from Boulevard madness. The 10,000-square-foot geodesic dome pavilion called #PEPCITY was 46 feet tall and featured a 36-meter-long entrance experience leading in. And it loomed over the skating rink, integrating well with the scenery. The inner surface of the dome featured custom projected media displays, from colorful grids, to dancing silhouettes, to the night’s theme to engage those inside, and attract those outside.

The environment, designed for a live audience of 2,000-3,000 people each day, offered an eclectic mix of experiences: multi-sensory interactions, gourmet food, poetry, architecture, sculpture, music and entertainment. PepsiCo strategically positioned the venue as an entertainment-based alternative to the hundreds of football-related brand activations happening across New York at the time.

Inside the dome, visitors received a pass enabling them to sample creations by celebrity chefs using PepsiCo products and flavors. There was a constant rotation of performances, including an appearance by Tony Award-winning poet Lemon Andersen and Broadway cast members. In the evenings, #PEPCITY became a concert venue, featuring performances from pop-star Austin Mahone to Latino star Prince Royce and Ziggy Marley. One evening served as a charity event and concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, hosted by comedian and TV personality Jon Stewart.

#PEPCITY boasted 13,000 visitors over the three days. Some 120,000 ounces of PepsiCo beverages and 60,000 portions of custom food creations were served. There were more than 1,400 Instagram postings from #PEPCITY and 7.5 million #PEPCITY-related Twitter impressions. The weather may have been cold, but the results were hot.

Gold Winner
Designer/Builder: United State of Fans, TBWA/Casper Wulfers Holding
Client: Heineken
Project: Ibiza Final

Heineken promoted its sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League, the league Final, and the opening of the Ibiza, Spain, party season by transforming an empty bay area into a custom Heineken Bay. It was the ultimate beach party around the world’s first Floating Star Bar—an approximately 1,000-square-foot star-shaped bar floating in the Mediterranean. Whenever guests got thirsty, waiters on Flyboards (personal water hovercrafts) flew on over to serve up ice-cold Heinekens.

Silver Winner
Designer/Builder: Dimensional Communications
Client: JLG Industries
Project: 2014 ConExpo

The JLG Industries’ exhibit encompassed 20,000-square-feet of space in the Gold Lot at the Las Vegas Convention Center, leaving room for an outdoor display of the brand’s new equipment—14 truck-mounted and self-propelled work platforms, booms and telehandlers. The exhibit’s two-story aluminum and glass modular structure had areas for education and interaction, meetings, food service, a bar and balcony. Ultimately, the indoor-outdoor exhibit space immersed attendees in the complete world of possibilities JLG offers to the construction and material handling industries.

Best Mobile Marketing Vehicle

Event Design Award Winner
Designer/Builder: Mosaic/The Taylor Group
Client: Microsoft
Project: Xbox One Source

Microsoft set off across Canada for the month of November to win over gamers, hype the Xbox One console and prove its dominance over the PlayStation 4. The tour traveled to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver in a converted shipping container-turned Xbox One Source vehicle that when dormant looked just like the console, but transformed into a mobile pop-up when open to consumers in each market.

Gamers had to help “unlock” the Xbox One Source by entering their Gamertags (online social identities) on-site, on the Xbox Dashboard online and through Xbox.ca. Once the unlock codes reached 100 percent of goal, the gamers who took part received a “countdown to unlock” that allowed gamers to head out the door and arrive just in time to witness the unlock moments. In each of the three markets, the experience was themed around a different highly anticipated game for the console, which made each execution a little different for attendees and helped push pre-orders of key games.

The Xbox One Source unit was a 20,000-pound, 20-foot-wide and nine-foot-tall perfect replica of the Xbox One gaming console. It was fully outfitted and wired for 14 game stations inside, in addition to all of the other interior features and interactives—all of which was housed within the self-contained, transportable unit. For the “unlock” moments, builders rigged the main door to blow open and expose the interior of the gigantic console—a jaw-dropping experience for gaming fans and onlookers, alike.

In the end, the program netted 1.4 million social impressions, 250 media stories and 130,000 gamer unlock pledges, which is all pretty nice, but the real power came from the 8,842 consumer trials of the console. Game on.

Gold Winner
Designer/Builder: MATTER Inc./Aardvark Event Logistics
Client: The Nutro Company
Project: ULTRA Dog House Mobile Tour

Nutro proved it can really rock the dog house with its ULTRA Dog House tour that visited farmer’s markets and local festivals in Chicago and New York City last summer. The doghouse design of the vehicle caught consumers’ eyes and pulled them over to learn about the brand and get some goodies. Pets fetched samples through the world’s cutest doggy window and then took a little walk across the grass to the photo activation station for a quick photo.

Silver Winner
Designer/Builder: Turtle Transit
Client: L.L. Bean
Project: Bootmobile

L.L. Bean was on the road with its Bootmobile trying to get the “Highest Smiles per Gallon” all over the U.S. all last year. It’s covered more than 40,000 miles already, with more than a year to go on the tour. The body is built of aluminum, sculpting foam and epoxy which was hand-stamped and molded to produce its authentic leather look. The corn hole-inspired Boot Toss is about as authentic an experience as you can get, with its L.L. Bean boot instead of a beanbag.

Best Interactive Experience

Event Design Award Winner
Designer/Builder: Stimulant
Client: Genentech
Project: ASCO

It was the 50th anniversary of the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting at McCormick Place in Chicago. Biotech brand Genentech wanted to throw a blowout celebration in its exhibit to communicate that it approaches the development of medicines differently than others in the industry. The brand’s goals were two-fold: to rethink how to speak to oncologists and visualize for them the brand’s drug development pipelines; and to gather robust usage data about the attendees to help the brand optimize its spend at ASCO. To do that, the brand deployed a unique data visualizer for its bio-oncology medical development pipeline that gave guests a chance to dig into the way Genentech develops treatments on a molecular level.

Attendees could pinch, zoom and explore every aspect of the process in a way that had never been done before on four pairs of interactive touch screens. The monitors were 32-inch 3M touch screens at drafting-table height and angle, and then large over-the-head plinths with 80-inch displays. The two were using the same application, but the overhead 80-inch displays didn’t show everything the user was doing on the exploration screen, in order to increase mystery and to abide by FDA and ASCO regulations.

The brand recorded more than 6,600 discrete interactions with the experience and more than 2,800 unique viewings of molecules in the pipeline. The users activated about 3,800 of the filters for different types of drugs and treatments, giving Genentech a real sense of what tumor types and mechanisms of action interest oncologists. Thanks to this approach, the brand can move forward into future events with a much stronger sense of what the doctors need to know about its products, and that’s a prescription for a win.

Gold Winner
Designer/Builder: VDA Productions
Client: EMC Corp.
Project: Social Lounge

The Social Lounge was designed to be an attendee oasis within the 2014 EMC World trade show at The Venetian in Las Vegas. EMC Corp.’s goal was to get its target audience, the casual social media user, excited by creating a designated place where they could go to be social. The lounge was 10,000 square feet of soft seating, small networking and meet-up areas, workstations with power and a special private “Elect” section that attendees could pay to enter to enjoy sponsored refreshments.

Silver Winner
Designer/Builder: Sparks
Client: Google
Project: YouTube Kaleidoscope

Google has always been about bringing the smartest folks in the world to play in its sandbox, and the YouTube Kaleidoscope activation inside the Sandbox at 2014 Google Zeitgeist was designed to do just that by immersing attendees into the power of the YouTube channel through a curved multi-touch wall with 11 screens controlled by a touch table in a lounge setting. The space ultimately facilitated more than 60 in-depth sales conversations on the event floor.

Best Use of Modular

Event Design Award Winner
Designer/Builder: Loki Box Design
Client: Bell Canada
Project: Bell Box 2014

Bell Canada deployed the Bell Box over a 10-day period at three major festivals in Canada: the Francofolies French Music Festival in Montreal, the Quebec City Summer Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. The goal: to be a fully engaged part of the festival communities at which Bell Canada served as major or lead festival sponsor. The brand delivered by becoming the visual point of reference for throngs of attendees, at the geographic heart of each venue.

The Bell Box was built out of six refinished shipping containers, fitted together seamlessly to make one giant structure, but remaining mobile and modular so it could easily be moved from one activation site to the next. On the first level, the brand reinforced its heritage in telephony, and welcomed visitors in with a UV phone cleaning station—a big hit for attendees. On the second level, Bell Canada showcased the brand’s leadership standing in fiber optics data transmission using its Bell Fibe TV product. Level three of the Bell Box housed the hardware that operated a giant screen outside the structure that displayed festival-related social media chatter. And on the roof: a VIP area for the brand’s guests and festival performers looking for an escape from the crowds and press.

The clean, futuristic look of the Bell Box was achieved by treating the raw steel containers with a special finish that resulted in a smooth white appearance that reflected the structure’s lighting and created a cool blue glow that was a key part of the overall ambience. A mix of metals and woods kept the interior surfaces feeling pure and clean. The structure was 40 feet tall and had more than 3,000 square feet of activation space.

All of that scope still doesn’t encompass the huge impact it made everywhere it went.

Gold Winner
Designer/Builder: 2020 Exhibits
Client: National Oilwell Varco
Project: OTC 2014

National Oilwell Varco turned its brand and products into “objets d’art” with a gallery experience that gave attendees at the largest oil show in the world a respite from the trade show floor. Each gallery offered a different thematic focus. In one, video screens mounted on stark white walls featured schematics and other branded content. Acrylic cases housed the brand’s products. Other larger equipment pieces stood throughout the space as “sculptures.” Art… meet science.

Silver Winner
Designer/Builder: Global Experience Specialists (GES)
Client: Physio Control
Project: EMS World Expo 2013

Physio Control wanted to re-brand its marketing communication messages at the EMS World Expo by immersing attendees into actual hospital or emergency situations, helping them to understand how the brand’s devices can help save lives. Zones had the look and feel of real medical situations and were equipped with Physio Control devices and interactive screens that guided guests through the product demos. A 16-foot by 16-foot fabric LED wall grabbed attention and boosted the custom feel of the experience.

Best Permanent Corporate/Retail Installation

Event Design Award Winner
Designer/Builder: EP&M International
Client: GE
Project: GE Technology Solutions Center

Stavanger is considered the capital of the oil industry in Norway and one of Europe’s main energy centers, so building the permanent GE Technology Solutions Center for the GE Oil & Gas experience there makes plenty of sense for the brand. It is located in a dedicated stand-alone three-story building adjacent to the brand’s main offices.

The first step of the build process: finding a space, and GE did just that with a creative edge. The brand took a dilapidated, out of date building and transformed it into a state-of-the-art facility showcasing GE’s technologies to the Oil & Gas industry.

The GE Technology Solutions Center was designed to provide GE with an interactive showcase space in which to hold collaborative sessions with their current and prospective customers. To accomplish the project’s goal, the building was gutted to exposed slab and walls. All mechanical and electrical systems were demolished, replaced and reengineered. To improve the flow of the first floor, GE demolished the existing entrance and created a new entrance by closing an area of the building previously open to the outside. Cool grey tones in the flooring and walls set off brilliant displays positioned throughout the roomy space.

The focal point of the new center is a 20-foot-tall video wall in the atrium that is used to illustrate for guests the different oil and gas process designations and the full extent of GE’s products and service offerings and their applications.

The whole space is a little more than 10,000 square feet, and while not gigantic, the strategic design of the layout and visual impression make for a truly engaging, memorable and persuasive experience.

Talk about a transformation.

Gold Winner
Designer/Builder: Clickspring Design/ Forum, Clayco
Client: Express Scripts
Project: The Lab

The Lab serves as a tour center, collaborative workplace and education center for pharmaceutical brand Express Scripts’ Specialty Pharmacy, Research and Analytics Group and its Decision Design team. The 12,500-square-foot space is full of content for guests, but the Solutions Gallery is its heart. It is equipped with meeting spaces, mobile offices on tracks, interactive monitor array walls, mobile interactive tables and mobile desks and workstations, all of which make the Lab a one-of-a-kind work and education center.

Silver Winner
Designer/Builder: Global Experience Specialists (GES)
Client: Parks Canada and Brewster Canada
Project: Glacier Skywalk

The Glacier Skywalk is located in Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada, and it’s a vertigo-inducing mind-melter designed to awe guests with the majesty of the Sunwapta Valley from a glass-floored observation platform 918 feet over the valley floor. The experience turns tourists into time-travelers. When they look down, there are hints from life thousands of years’ prior and when they look up they see the changing glacial vistas of one of the most unique ecosystems in the world.


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