TCondon crafted a great social space for TED in Monterey in 2008. We created a similar experience in the Cromdale Hall at TEDGlobal, and now you will find a space at TED in Long Beach that is reminiscent of these great spaces. We are utilizing a ballroom on the first floor of the Terrace Theater and have designed it to be one large lab of connectivity and collaboration. There will be ready access to simulcast spaces, immersing everyone in the content coming from the stage while allowing great connections with fellow TED attendees. This will facilitate rewarding interactions in a space that people will want to hang out in all day. It’s not magic – just a lot of thoughtful planning and pulling in the best dynamics from successful past TED spaces. If you are going to be there, make sure to spend some time in the Creativity Lab on Level 1. If you can’t make it, we will post some shots from the event soon there after.
So many teams with so many tasks to do. The site of TED 2012 has been buzzing with activity as we are all working toward the goal of creating the best TED experience ever. The speaker posters are up, the first coffee is brewed, and the last crates are being moved into hiding. Like a marching band prepping for a half time show, the players are moving into position on the field. At the perfect moment we all sync into formation, throw open the doors and welcome you in. Let the music begin.
The planning for TED is complete. After months of designing the many space at TED in Long Beach CA and TEDActive in Palm Springs, we are ready to roll. The trucks are literally loading up. 13 trucks of fantastic furniture will begin the journey from Grand Rapids Michigan to the TED destinations in California. The energy is in the air. It’s thrilling for us to be part of an event that has the power to change lives and improve our world. These TED events promise to be as amazing as the rest – I have heard there will be opportunities for people to be a kid, a scientist, a designer, and so much more. I’ll be sharing pictures from Long Beach soon. Stay tuned and let the convoy roll!
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.
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.
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.
Check out the link below. I collaborated with some other conference experts and this white paper from The National Conference Center is the result. The paper examines the trends and future-state of innovative conferences. I shared my insights about the connectivity and experiential aspects one finds at the most successful conferences. I truly believe the most moving conference moments occur when people interact and share experiences; the learning and growing beyond simply absorbing a presenter’s subject matter. I approach the design of an environment to encourage rewarding interactions. While the challenge continues to be to create fresh solutions while considering the parameters of the conference and the space, our drive for innovative conference design continues. We are currently at work on three 2012 conferences that we are sure will be benchmarks for future success.
I was inspired to use big, bold, new Designtex fabrics for TED 2012 in Long Beach and Palm Springs. Interestingly, these new fabrics were influenced by a clothing collection acquired by The Museum of International Folk Art and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe. Lots of patterns and textures, a little retro but all new. They have some interesting shots and descriptions on their site that are worth checking out.
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.
The plans are set and the trucks are loading. Soon we will be in Camden Maine setting up another great POP!Tech experience. TCondon is proud to be contributing yet again to the design of such an invigorating weekend. We have been involved the last five years and it is an amazing event. The Parlor by Steelcase will be all-new– check it out in the old Knox Mill. Try out one of the bamboo bikes and let your voice be heard by contributing to the graffiti wall. The content of this great event couldn’t be more appropriate: The World Rebalancing. The description on the POP!Tech website is intriguing: “We are in the midst of a great realignment – a series of connected and converging revolutions in technology, economics, ecology, energy, geopolitics and culture that mark the end of one global era and the beginning of another. The world is rebalancing.” Stay tuned for photos and highlights after the event.