Captivating Sights and Sounds were the Primary Attention Grabbers at AIA 2018

While attending the AIA Conference on Architecture 2018, I noticed that exhibitors demonstrated their product offerings by creatively displaying “live” case studies or utilizing materials in interesting applications. In nearly every booth, manufacturers used their products in an abstract manner as either accents or main structural components of the design space. From large sliding glass doors and illuminated “trees” to perforated metal works and soundproof cubbies, the show floor was a virtual playground that gave architects an opportunity to explore.

Unique Use of Product Draws a Crowd

Various scale models or replicas and “techie” displays found their way to the show floor as well. A tiny house drew a crowd of people waiting to enter the structure and check out the consolidated sleeping, eating and leisure areas. Another offered a colorful, crystal-like semicircle that one could stand in and get their photo taken (with the scan of a badge, of course!). And, there was no shortage of giveaways – booze, socks, pens and other tchotchkes were alongside larger, enter-to-win items like trips, computers and free product.

Logistics (or Lack of) Impact CEU Attendance

With the lack of easy access to the Javits Center, many Continuing Education courses were dispersed throughout the city. The logistics and time of navigating between classes located in multiple venues across New York City was a bit of a challenge and likely took away from some of the traffic on the showroom floor. Plus, many architects may not have noticed that there was a second show floor of exhibitors located just under the main floor. Signage to this basement level was lacking and thus traffic may have suffered again.

Overall, from my perspective, the show seemed to be on par with years’ past in terms of amount of exhibitors, visitors and types of booths on display. Nothing truly groundbreaking appeared to grab passersby walking the show, nor was one exhibitor the sole focus because of something truly new and engaging. It will be interesting to see if the CEU snafu has any effect on future show attendance.

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