Teknion 2007 IIDEX Exhibit


Teknion’s tradeshow exhibit sends a compelling message about its sustainability commitment and its new products—in that order.

Planning its tradeshow booth for the 2007 IIDEX/NeoCon Canada show, office furniture maker Teknion wanted to be crystal clear about its priorities. The primary objective, the company told Vanderbyl Design, was communicating its commitment to long-term sustainability. The second was to showcase new Teknion products. Vanderbyl found a way to do both, using light, space, and super-scaled letterforms to tell the Teknion story.

Teknion’s environmental philosophy had already been well articulated, so the Vanderbyl team decided to harness the power of words by saturating the entire exhibit floor with its sustainability statement.  “They are leaders of the pack when it comes to sustainability in their industry,” says Peter Fishel, Vanderbyl’s project manager. “We thought they said it all, and said it well.”

The idea was to be interactive, so the quote had to be “found” under the displayed furniture and attending visitors, Fishel adds. The 36-in.-high Garamond letters, inkjet-printed onto recycled-fiber carpet, read: “At Teknion we believe that every leap forward is the sum of many steps. Small moves can create a big shift leading us towards our larger goal of shaping a truly sustainable future.”

In a booth focused on sustainability, you’d expect to find a lot of green. But the Vanderbyl team eschewed the expected palette and instead chose the neutrality—and graphic power—of black and white.

Materials were chosen with sustainability in mind, says Mike Kotsos, account executive with The Taylor Group, which has been creating tradeshow and showroom environments for Teknion since 1995. The 3,400-sq.-ft. booth was partially enclosed by an organic-patterned wall treatment that was CNC cut from panels made of milk jugs and other recycled post-industrial plastic. Fully recyclable, the treatment was opaque and yet provided translucency, creating a modern allusion to nature. It didn’t require painting or other finishing.

“We try to look at every material we use through a sustainability lens,” says Kotsos, “even to the point that the offcuts from the CNC routing were shipped back to the manufacturer so they could be used again.”

The exhibit ceiling was a grid of white rectangular panels made from 90% polyester/10% Lycra fabric stretched over aluminum frames. Like many other booth elements, the panels were repurposed in other Teknion tradeshow booths or in its showrooms.

And of course Teknion walks the talk with its own products: Altos wall products, for example, are completely reusable, Greenguard certified for indoor air quality, and ISO certified for quality and environmental management systems.

--By Pat Matson Knapp, segdDESIGN No. 21, 2008

Jury comments

“An excellent case of type speaking from the floor. Fine emotional thinking. The statement in the walking area is a promise—a real one.”

“I love the play of the textures on walls and floor. The pattern and transparency of the CNC-routed wall panels define the product world within and entice visitors to come inside and explore. The scale of the typeface on the floor and the stark contrast of black on white unite the space and convey the underlying sustainability message. A dynamic and inventive use of materials to create image and place.”


Location:  Toronto

Client:  Teknion

Design:  Vanderbyl Design

Design Team:  Michael Vanderbyl (principal in charge), Peter Fishel (project manager/senior designer), Dave Hard

Fabrication:  The Taylor Group

Photos:  Interior Images

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