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4 Eye-Catching Examples of 3D Exhibits That Stand Out

Trade shows, expos, conferences, and other networking events comprise a $50 billion global market. While expo attendance dropped due to pandemic concerns for a few years, these events’ popularity is now resurging. 

If you aim to compete for attention on a trade show floor, you’ll have your work cut out for you. It’s not unusual for a conference to have hundreds of booths in a single arena. How can your brand stand out from the crowd?

You could try putting together a 3D exhibit.

3D exhibits are eye-catching displays that use the space to their full advantage. As you consider 3D exhibit ideas, explore some of these approaches that could make your booth memorable.

1. 3D Exhibits That Embrace Nature

Trade shows and expos tend to be high-tech affairs. Most take place in extremely man-made environments: inside an event center, under artificial lighting. 

In those environments, nature stands out. 

Consider these nature-oriented exhibit examples for your next show. 

Aquatic Features

Dean Pipito, an award-winning home garden designer, writes about award-winning display strategies in Pond Trade magazine. Water features, like waterfalls and small rivers, stand out.

But, what puts an exhibit over the top are the little details.

Pipito’s best-in-show 1950s-style beach scene included old-school beach chairs resting comfortably in the shallows. The props were practically inviting you to relax and dip your toes in the water.

Yet, it was the small details—like the polka-dot bikini hanging out to dry on the line—that brought the scene together. 

Aquatic scenes often make good use of soft, Rembrandt lighting to highlight unique design features. When you light features from below and let the water soften the split, it counteracts the harsher light from the ceiling.

This invokes the ambiance of twilight or dawn. Recreating this “golden hour” can put your product in a good light, and it draws people in. 

Tree-Lined Enclosure

Nature-oriented designs even work for brands that aren’t selling outdoor products. In 2019, FT, a cremation and incineration equipment company, won “Best Stand” at the Funermosta trade show. 

The stand was an enclosure of trees. A line of slender, live birch grew around the perimeter of the scene, and the ceiling was composed of the trees’ branches woven onto a trellis.

Inside, the exhibit was a white, clean room with comfortable, minimalist furnishings. 

FT design reflected their company’s values: simplicity, quality, and sustainability.

The natural aesthetic was pleasantly surprising, in part, because it reflected the company’s values instead of its literal products. Most other exhibits at the convention incorporated coffins or hearses. 

Small Symbols

Aquatic features and live trees may be beyond a company’s capacity. Yet, even smaller and more niche brands have utilized nature to great effect.

3D models have incorporated hanging gardens, floral wreaths, and even live birds to great success.  

2. 3D Audio Immersion

Visuals are the only way to create a 3D experience. Brands can stand out now more than ever with a three-dimensional audio soundscape.

Since 2015, popular tech blogs have celebrated the virtues of binaural multi-channel audio. These soundscapes feel immersive and real. It’s the next generation of surround-sound technology.

People who’ve experienced 3D audio have described taking off their headphones to answer a knock at the door—only to realize the knocking was on the audio track!

Headphones or Spotlights?

Exhibitors can bring this technology in through a few methods.

SONY launched its unique 3D audio for the PS5 in booths where attendees were invited to try on headphones. The exhibit had enough space for listeners to move around.

The live exhibit demonstrated how the headphones move listeners through the soundscape in response to their actual, physical motion. Today, the Met uses this same technology to enhance audio tours of the museum. 

The Met also uses another 3D audio technique: audio spotlights. Audio spotlights focus sound into a specific space. Brands can implement this technology with motion activation.

This way, when an attendee walks by or up to a specific display, the audio track plays just for them. 

3. Play, Dance, Experience: Interactive Light, Motion Exhibits

Interactive light and motion features are another surefire way to make a 3D exhibit stand out. 

One memorable example is the Samsung Appliances exhibit at Milan Design Week. Part of the display included the pop-up exhibit “Resonance.”

“Resonance” projected multicolored circles of light. The projections would respond to the physical movements and heartbeat of anyone who interacted with it. A person’s heat, breath, touch, and speech affected the projection’s color and shape.

“Resonance” effectively invited play. At the same time, it highlighted Samsung’s new line of smart, responsive kitchen appliances.

Responsive Projection

Responsive projection technology has been used to wildly different ends by different companies. Lumo Play creates games that encourage indoor fitness. It licenses the games out to fitness centers and events.

The games are typically high-energy, vibrant, and designed to get the adrenaline flowing. 

In contrast, TeamLab created an interactive art exhibit in 2019: The Way of The Sea. This display encouraged quiet, thoughtful walks along walls of fish. The fish change color when you touch them.

The soothing exhibit takes the opposite tactic of Lumo Play. Yet, both exhibits are eye-catching and increase engagement.

Social Media Engagement

Physical interaction isn’t the only way to entice attendees to engage with—and alter—your exhibit. 

In 2016, the nation of Brazil created an SXSW exhibit around a hashtag. Anyone who used the hashtag #BrasilAtSXSW on social media would see their post projected on the screen.

The feature was fun, and it encouraged people to engage however they wished: joking, networking, and celebrating are all options. 

4. Eat, Drink, and Vibe

Anything people do, they can do at your exhibit. That’s why so many brands catch attendees’ attention with food, drinks, and vibes.

A 3D exhibit can be a complete sensory experience. Understandably, pop-up cafes are most popular among companies that already sell drinks.

The Dethlefsen & Balk tea showcase was a hit at the World Tea Expo. In part, it succeeded because it offered such a vast, inspiring variety. The blend of colors, aromas, and tastes permeated the entire convention halls

Yet, even non-food companies have gotten in on this action.

Pantone, the paint and interior design company, has opened pop-up cafés at a wide range of expos and events. The exhibits’ lattes, cocktails, and pastries invite you to ask, “what does color taste like?”

Create Extraordinary, Bespoke 3D Exhibits 

At Rockway, we know your exhibit should be a gateway to an extraordinary experience.  

When we create 3D exhibits for our clients, we pull out all the stops. Engage potential customers with all of their senses. Capture their imaginations in a way they can’t stop thinking about. 

No matter who your dream client is—or where you’re presenting—partner with designers who’ll make your booth unforgettable. Contact us today, and we’ll bring your vision to life.  

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