The design of large showrooms can sometimes be more demanding than the design of smaller areas. If the entire available space is not to be interactive, a room-in-room approach may make sense. If the entire showroom space is to be interactive, planning the future flow of visitors through the space is particularly important. Two practical examples.
The room inside a room – Restriction of interactivity to particular subareas
For larger, cogent areas the principle of subdividing this one space into several smaller units or the segregation of one special room from the rest often is the right choice. This can be a showroom within – but separated from – a factory floor, a vast hallway, or a spacious retail area. The pivotal question is: how encapsuled and segregated, or on the other hand, how open is this special room supposed to be? Considering this not only involves taking into account the visual interrelation between the different rooms, but also the possible mutual interference of (day)light and sounds/noises. On a sliding scale between the room’s complete architectural separation and one that is merely visually suggested, everything is possibly.
Real-life Example: Augmented Reality presentation inside a factory hall
An info container separated from the production hall at voestalpine AG illustrates the entire manufacturing process concisely on transparent touch screens. These screens afford the visitors a view on the actual machinery with superimposed digital explanations and visualization of procedures. More info
Larger showroom (circuit) – You decide where the journey ends
A larger room with one access/exit allows a circular route for visitors along a path of thematically aligned stations. In this scenario, all interactive elements and stations are lined up with the walls, whereas the room’s center is reserved for the very highlight of the exhibition – the literal centerpiece. Deliberate breaks in visual axes can create tension by revealing the exhibition – and the surprises it holds – only gradually and piecemeal. You should, however, make sure that this doesn’t make the room appear narrow, contorted, or confusing and obscure. After all, you want your visitors to feel comfortable and welcome there.
Opening or emphasizing a visual axis on the other hand can be used to direct the viewer’s gaze to a particular spot. For instance, the visual alignment of the exhibition’s centerpiece with stations or exhibits at its opposite may result in surprising perspectives and ensembles.
Due to the clearly laid-out path for the visitors, you are largely in control over the sequence and dramatic composition of all content on display. You have the power to direct movement, define halts and highlights, and of course also to determine the endpoint of the entire experience– for instance a bar or lounge area where your target audience can take the time to reflect on their recent experience.
Real-life Example – European Space Agency (ESA) multimedia earth observation center
The ESA visitor center at Frascati, Italy, consisting of several rooms each covering different thematic universes hosts delegations from all nations to inform them about the new findings and insights the ESA earth observation missions have yielded. Separate interactive stations use, for example, projection technologies combined with multi-touch features. The exhibition’s highlight is a looming hemisphere more than 3 ft in diameter which serves as a projection screen for 4K resolution data. More info
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