When walking through an exhibition, do you ever ask yourself, â€œHow do I feel?â€ Are you warm or cold, depressed or annoyed when navigating an exhibition space? Most of these responses are affected by lighting and acoustics, often the most overlooked aspects of exhibitions stand design, despite the crucial impact they have. Lighting and acoustics set the mood for a space, affect how objects will be displayed, and how information will be read.
Lighting is an especially controversial area in exhibition stand design because it reflects two differing design philosophies. Architects desire natural lighting in public spacesbecause this comforts visitors, while curators want to protect delicate objects and control the way they are viewed. The best exhibition stands often use both natural and artificial light, using natural lighting to paint a broad picture and artificial light to focus on specific information. This balancing act has been made possible by of a number of technological advances, including new ways of combining natural light with theatrical lighting to create exciting spaces while still focusing on the preservation of artifacts, and using the colour temperature of accent lighting to create and manipulate moods based on crowd size. Improved lighting has led to better conservation of objects, with LED and fiber optic technology mitigating UV light and heat.
Acoustical issues face many of the same controversies as lighting, with the needs of noisy public circulation battling the desire for quiet spaces to view stand detail. Since exhibition stands often sit inside large public spaces, moderating sound is crucial, whether it is in a large convention hall, a busy museum, or outdoors. The designerâ€™s role is not only to understand how sound establishes a mood and affects the narrative within an exhibition stand, but also to manage the transition between noisy public spaces and contemplative quiet areas. Acoustic design also has an operations element. The number of visitors flowing through the space at any one time is just as much a design decision as the physical structure of the exhibition stand. The administrative staff of the institution should be included in the acoustic design process. Their management of crowd flow has a crucial effect on acoustics.
Lighting andacoustics are yet more specialties that require extensive expert design collaboration. Specialists should be brought in early in a project, especially when the overall master plan for the exhibition stand is being developed. Since lighting and acoustics impact on everything from the size of the exhibitions stand to the number people that can attend, these decisions extend beyond surface design to affecting core business and content decisions.