HD Boutique – The Best of Hospitality Design

September 16, 2009 at 12:22 am (Art, Design, Design Events, Environmental Graphic Design, marketing, Miami, networking, social event, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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HD Boutique Expo and Conference was held once again at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The show, which brings together vendors from all aspects of the hospitality design industry, was fairly good this year. There seemed to be a few less vendors then when I attended two years ago, but this allowed for the show to be covered in only one day instead of two.

As an exhibit designer I enjoy this show. It is geared more toward permanent installation and high volume sales, but the materials and design solutions that are presented carry over to sales centers, tradeshow exhibits, and live events quite beautifully. I always am interested in the wall covering companies, specifically Wolf Gordon and U.S. Vinyl. Both companies provide high quality vinyl coverings that can really punch up the design in a space. I was also happy to see that Applied Coatings was back with a full line of their Modono glass collection. Last time I saw this company they were making their debut and had a small line of products – not any more. If you need some cool glass tile, I suggest checking them out.

Speaking of wall coverings, The Gage Corporation had a nice showing of decorative metal architectural products. They have decorative, dimensional metal for vertical surfaces, ceilings, and floor systems, and best of all the rep’s business card was made out of aluminum flat stock! Concertex was making its first appearance in the show with “Nature Friendly Wallcoverings.” The company has been in the fabrics industry for years, but decided to expand into wallcoverings that are PVC free. Some of their product line include sparkling glass beads, natural fibers, and high performance fabrics. Maya Ramanoff came out with some incredible textures and materials for wall coverings – everything from paper to felt and glass beads.

We came across some unexpected, but really interesting products this year as well. ShimmerScreen is a neat product – think of a bead curtain with metal beads that you can use to define spaces, add character, project on, or have a logo made from. The Fire Company showed off their ecosmart fire collection, my favorite by far was the Zeta from their Designer Range series. This freestanding, portable piece of “fire furniture” has see through sides, a leather surround, and can spin!

Two of my favorite new lines who use recycled and repurposed elements were Meyda Custom Lighting with their family of lights made from reclaimed wine and olive oil bottles, and LumiVisions’ use of carbonate substrates as primary materials. The color combinations and textures achieved through their system is fantastic!

The show was a lot to take in over a few hours, but was well worth it. The new technologies and textures have already started to inspire my design metaphor within a few projects and I’m excited to see these new textures and materials within my designs. Their next show is in Las Vegas May 18 – 21, 2010.

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Photo Walk’n – End Game

July 19, 2009 at 11:36 pm (Art, Art Event, Design, Design Events, Environmental Graphic Design, Florida, free, Miami, networking, News, photo walk, photography, social event, Social Events & Networking, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

End_Game

Scott Kelby’s Second-Annual Worldwide Photo Walk finally arrived. The South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, walk was awesome! We had more than 35 photographers show up with all kinds of photo-taking apparatuses. I stayed with a small group for most of the walk. We covered Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue before meeting up with the rest of the group at Jerry’s Famous Deli.

While at Jerry’s we had the opportunity to get some lunch, re-energize in a little air conditioning, and show each other what photographic finds we acquired while we socialized. From what I saw both the talent base and humor of the group were very strong. Everyone I talked to had a good time.

After lunch a group of us continued our shooting excursion for a few more hours until we were all exhausted from the heat. My small group headed over to Washington Avenue and stopped in for a visit at the Wolfsonian Museum, their current exhibition, Sun Stroke Stimulus, seemed to be a fitting theme for the day – a future post will cover our findings there.

Having shot South Beach several times I shied away from shooting my normal architectural subjects and concentrated more ephemeral topics like graffiti, modes of transportation, etc. Viewing South Beach at a more intimate scale is quite different than shooting whole buildings and panoramas like what I’m used to. It was a fun challenge to broaden my horizons by narrowing my view.

Overall I think the day was a success. A few photo walkers continued on to more photo walks in other areas, or to explore on their own hitting areas like Wynwood, the Holocaust Memorial, and Lincoln Road. I look forward to the next one, whenever it may be.

(For all the information regarding this photo walk and it’s contests click here)

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Sawgrass Mills Mall – There She Blows

July 10, 2009 at 12:11 pm (advertising, Branding, Design, economy, Environmental Graphic Design, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, marketing, South Florida) (, , , , , , , )

hurricaneWhat happens when you combine tourists with 78 mile per hour winds in a space the size of a telephone booth? If visions of them changing into Superman, or skirts blowing like Marilyn in the Seven Year Itch come dancing through your head…sorry no such luck.

It is entertaining to see that people actually pay $2 to stand in a small booth and have air shot at them while watching a screen about hurricanes. On a hot day it might be nice to feel a blast of air for a minute or two while walking in the open air portion of Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, Florida, but I can’t justify it, especially when there’s stores that have real air conditioning just a few steps away.

The booths claim to be a “franchise-alternative business opportunity” and are licensed by a guy in the Tampa area. They also offer advertising space on the small LCD screen inside the unit. One irony is that a good feeder band from a real hurricane could topple the whole thing.

To me this appears to be a knockoff of the Gulf Coast Hurricane exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, Florida. The exhibit puts a small group of museum goers into a wind tunnel, cranks the winds up to 74 mph, and teaches people how to “Get Smart, Get Ready.”

I think this kiosk concept could be sound if it were repurposed as a traveling exhibit in connection with hurricane preparedness seminars. We see this concept with fire department smoke houses, and other safety based presentations.

I do enjoy sitting on one of the benches around this kiosk and watching tourists, usually kids, pay their money and get blasted with air. It’s like you’re really there, just with out the rain, debris, fear that your vehicle will be in one piece afterward, etc…

The funny thing about hurricanes is, as Ron White said, “Now, lemme explain somethin’ to ya: It isn’t *that* the wind is blowin’. It’s *what* the wind is blowin’. If you get hit by a *Volvo*, it don’t matter how many sit-ups you did that mornin’.”

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Beating the Message into People

July 2, 2009 at 10:02 am (advertising, Environmental Graphic Design, marketing, News, print media) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Amnesty international is known for making alarming ads – the 2006 Swiss “It’s not happening here but it’s happening now” campaign ranks among my all time favorites. This time they’ve really pushed the envelope in regards to what a shocking ad is, how it’s made, and what it does. Their latest bus stop poster, introduced as a single display last month in Hamburg, Germany, uses an eye-tracking camera to gauge when it’s being looked at.

While the viewer is not looking directly at it, the poster features a couple that appears to be a nice, friendly, average couple posing for a picture. If a viewer is not looking directly at the poster the image changes to “a dude punchin’ a lady.” When the viewer turns to confirm their suspicions, the image changes back to the afore mentioned smiling picture of the couple. This change occurs after a slight pre-programmed delay allowing the viewer to see the beating for a split second.

The message “It happens when nobody is watching.”

The poster has been the cause for much controversy, but it has definitely raised awareness. It does not sound like there will be many more versions of this poster around, though there has been plenty of third-party publicity for the one incarnation.

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