TEDGlobal 2012

TEDGlobal 2012 opens soon and we are on site building a radical space to articulate the theme of the conference – Radical Openness. We might hear the words, “You want me to do what?”, as we push the boundaries of normalcy into new realms. New forms of expressing one’s self will be introduced, promising to make this a unique and life-changing few days. More photos and ideas will be shared soon – registration opens in about an hour, so its back to work for now!

Nurture at TEDMED 2012, I don’t want to get old!

Nurture by Steelcase shared a very critical product development message at TEDMED: When designing anything you must start with an understanding of all the needs of the end-user. In that vein, their space allowed people an opportunity to try a “Third Age Suit”. Once you have the suit on your motor skills are instantly aged by 30 years. This experience helped attendees gain first-hand insights about the user needs to consider when designing a chair for the elderly. That’s me, Grandpa Tom, in the photos trying to reach the ends of the armrest to eventually stand up from the new empath recliner by Nurture. Another very interactive aspect of the booth were custom chalk table tops. These were also a big hit and a fun way to join the conversations about questions that were being asked and the big ideas people were taking home.

TEDMED 2012, the Social Hub Rocks!

So, what do you put in a tent the size of a football field to create an incredible experience at TEDMED? Well, we did a lot, but start with an impressive list of sponsors and great food, then design cool common-spaces to pull people together. Our focus was to create a Social Hub and Simulcast Lounges that made it easy for delegates to connect with experts – both from the medical and non-medical disciplines. When these connections happen the event moves from interesting to magical. To help make these connections we provided a variety of different lounge and café settings. The 16-foot long tables, for example, worked well– they were very easy to approach, connect a device to the power supply, and meet a new friend. I also used a die-cut fabric from Designtex to create a ceiling cloud over two other settings to make a more intimate space. Intimate spaces yield open conversations and I love a comment that I overheard: “I can’t decide what is better. The talks from the stage or all the great conversations I’m having.” Perfect!
Check out the TEDMED blog below for a brief day-to-day summary of the conference.
http://blog.tedmed.com/?m=201204

Designing the Future Work Experience

TCondon designed prototype spaces recently unveiled at a global Marriott Hotels & Resorts event. These spaces envision the future of meetings and work. For this event, we partnered with Steelcase and IDEO to build dynamic solutions that reflect hosted work experiences. Many factors are pointing to mobile, global, and business travel trends evolving the way people will meet, work, socialize, and collaborate.
The prototype rooms were very well-received and we love the immediate feedback being generated. Check out these links for more information and stay tuned as the prototypes evolve and we continue to design the future!

Marriott Hotels & Resorts, Steelcase, and IDEO Collaborate to Innovate on the Future of Meetings and Work – MarketWatch

2012 TED inspires again.

I want to share with you some of the photos that are great glimpses into another successful gathering. The many months of planning and designing the spaces produced a virtual beehive, perfect for conversations and connections. A real focus was the Center Entry Space which seemed to naturally become the kitchen – where everyone at the party wants to hang out. So, we embraced this and positioned a variety of settings to enable those connections happen. As the last day came to a close our team was buzzing with ideas for next year.

The talks were once again moving, inspiring, and good for making us all think more deeply about the many great ideas. There are many talks highlighted on the TED site, but I would like to highlight some of John Hockenberry’s words from his presentation titled “Design a Life With Intent”. He begins with stories of growing up with a father who was a designer and continues to tell of the unfortunate circumstances around his own situation that resulted in him being in a wheelchair for the past 35 years. Frustrated by years of awkward stares and uncomfortable comments, he added these cool lights to his wheels and it totally changed his life. Now, “instead of blank stares and awkwardness, people say ‘those are awesome!’ Kids ask for a ride!” The difference? Intent. By adding electric flashing lights to his wheelchair wheels, “I’m no longer a victim. I chose to change this situation.” John observed the natural reactions of people over the years and knew that he could give them something other than his legs to look at. I love this quote “an object imbued with intent has power. It’s treasure; we’re drawn to it. An object devoid of intent is random, imitative, it repels us.  It is junkmail to be thrown away. This is what we must demand of our lives, of our objects, of our things, our circumstances: living with intent.” Be sure to watch the entire talk and catch the last few minutes when John picks up a guitar and gives a TED-themed version of The Beatles’ song, “Get Back.” http://blog.ted.com/2012/03/01/design-a-life-with-intent-john-hockenberry-at-ted2012/

We all need to smile – so watch the TED Speaker’s worst nightmare: http://www.ted.com/talks/a_ted_speaker_s_worst_nightmare.html

Future Ed

Learning today is not the experience that you might remember from 20 years ago. And, it will be different tomorrow. The booth that we created for Steelcase at Educause was full of new ideas that break out of the conventional classroom setting. We highlighted products that create innovative environments for collaboration and learning. To maximize the booth’s 20’ x 20’ footprint we positioned the architecture of the space on a 45 degree angle. This created 2 small display areas that worked like storefront windows – a retail technique to showcase hot new products to pull people in to discover more. The collection of new technology products from Steelcase created quite a buzz at the show and we accomplished a lot in a small space.

On the road with the best of NeoCon

This was one of the most challenging exhibits to design. Our client challenged us to pull the best products out of the 3 huge showrooms at NeoCon in the Merchandise Mart to create a 20’ x 30’ experience. We still had to capture the impact from the show, to communicate the company’s messages, and to position the products in a compelling way to grab the attention of the viewer. We pulled it off. To organize the best-of-the-best we created 4 small spaces and designed two large walls that defined the space and highlighted messaging. We put the newest hot products up front and utilized color to stand out. The venue can be dark and dull, so we used bright yellow and blue to brighten the space There were a lot of stories and products to share in a fairly small environment but it worked really well. We got a lot of great feedback and were happy to step up to the challenge.

Tailor Made

What happens when you create meeting spaces that work? Truly amazing things. The Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum has had meeting spaces in the past, but they were basically one room after the next filled with hotel tables and stacking chairs. Utilitarian, but very uninspiring and big change was in order. We were approached to create a pavilion full of meeting spaces, over 22 in all. We listened to the client, and considered all of the meeting-types that would take place, then crafted solutions to fit the needs. Lounge settings for interviews and casual conversations, paper top tables for idea generation, technology for presentation and a variety of casual space in the common areas for the unexpected impromptu meeting. How did it go over? The numbers tell the story. In previous years they booked 150 meetings for the week. This year they were scheduling 140 to 170 meetings a day. That makes for a lot of great conversation.

Shall we retire to The Parlor?

POP!Tech was everything we were anticipating. The content was amazing and the spaces we created were a hit. We developed an altogether new space this year, The Parlor by Steelcase. It was actually a few blocks away from the main site, but that didn’t stop anyone from venturing out and utilizing The Parlor as a place to relax, learn, and engage.

The theme of  “The World Rebalancing” was articulated everywhere, but most significantly by the President of Iceland, whose quote nicely summarizes the event: “We are seeing a tectonic shift in the nature of our societies, transforming the balance between the market on one hand and democracy on the other” -Olafur Ragnar Grimsson.

Inspiring stuff and another big success for our team!

We Did It!

Best of Show – Large Booth award was given to Guardian at the GlassBuild America show in Atlanta. We are delighted that our booth was so well received. We utilized vibrant colors contrasting against clean white surfaces to showcase an amazing variety of glass solutions. Our floor plan design created conversation areas where visitors could learn about the functionality, patterns and intelligent solutions that make Guardian great.