Having previously devised original schemes to engage visitors at the Tate Modern, Pompidou Centre, Science Museum and Comme des Garcons, Ab Rogers’ studio has been tasked with bringing new life to the trade show experience for the May Design Series, which takes place at ExCeL London, between 19th-21st May.
Ab Rogers, the designer and creative director for this year’s May Design Series, has described his vision for the exhibition as a cityscape environment. The city will contain four districts for each individual show – kbb LDN, The ARC Show, DX and Interiors LDN – which link together to form one complete experience.
Colour and geometric forms will be used to create excitement and challenge the way that people behave, while helping visitors to navigate through the space. Ab explains: “We were excited by the angular planes within the graphic template of the May Design Series logo – that became a very strong inspiration for this direction."
According to Ab, shapes will “fold and articulate, wrap around and fold back, different shapes will intersect, creating new and intriguing forms.” Ab describes the bold shapes and lines as a “Matisse-like collection of planes”, that will tie the space together visually and embody the May Design Series identity.
Ab's new design aims to engage visitors, making them feel intrigued, invigorated and satisfied by the experience. The designer has created a show plan that allows visitors to be led through the space as they visually connect with features spotted in the distance. An element of surprise is also key to the experience, with Ab devising “a play on showing and revealing at the same time”.
Much like a piazza can provide respite and a place for communion in a bustling city, Rogers will use the breakout areas in the show to bring people together. The Champagne bar and DX bar will provide areas where visitors can discuss their shared experiences, before heading out to discover more. Ab comments: “Our ambition is to create a network of generous, sociable and communal spaces which combine both rest and play.”
The entrance and destinations for features – such as the Conversation Series seminar theatre – will become landmarks in Ab’s design, helping visitors to navigate the show whilst remaining attractions in themselves.
Ab hopes to use “warmth and humour” in order to make visitors feel inspired. “The May Design Series will be a totally different experience from your typical trade show environment,” Ab says. “Our designs and display will capture that emotion, encouraging social environments and places for people to relax, discuss, discover and enjoy.”