Preparing for a trade show is no mean feat. After all, it’s your company’s opportunity to shine. It’s your chance to connect with customers, clients, investors, and partners on a scale that simply can’t be matched at any other time of the year. That’s why you put a lot of time, thought, and effort into crafting the best possible exhibition you can, in demonstrating your finest products and services in the most flattering way imaginable.
However, making a splash at a trade show isn’t just a matter of what you present, it’s also a matter of how you present it. When it comes to a trade show exhibition space, there are some significant challenges that vendors must overcome if they want to showcase their wares to the fullest.
The most significant of these challenges, though, may surprise you. It’s not the size, the visual design, or even the placement of the display that can have the greatest impact on the success of your exhibit. It’s the soundscape. Without the appropriate sound environment, your target audience is simply not going to have the experience, either cognitively or affectively, that you desire (1-4). They’re not going to connect on an emotional or intellectual level. In a loud and distracting environment, they may barely notice your exhibit at all (5).
However, there are proven strategies trade show exhibitors and exhibition hall managers can use to cut through the noise and rise above the cacophony. Acoustic panels and screens can create zones of sound that dramatically decrease ambient sound, boost speech intelligibility in contained spaces, prevent sound spillover, and make the overall space more functional and comfortable for exhibitors, employees, and attendees alike.
The Challenge of Noise in Exhibition Spaces
It’s perhaps not surprising that noise pollution would be a significant concern in a trade show exhibition space. After all, both the design and the function of such spaces seem pretty much tailor-made for loudness.
Ultimately, it all boils down to the science of acoustics and the behavior of sound waves in a physical environment. Interiors with a lot of hard, flat surfaces and wide open spaces with high ceilings are notorious for amplifying ambient noise. Environments like these create a tremendous amount of sound reverberation and echoes. The nonporous planes of hard walls and furnishings bounce sound waves back into the space. The high ceilings and cavernous rooms amplify sound as sound waves accumulate in these far surfaces and then are reflected back, often making sounds seem louder far from the source than right beside it. The result is a noisy and uncomfortable environment where you can barely hear your own thoughts, let alone the voice of anyone else.
In addition to the impact of the physical environment on the soundscape, there are also the effects of the use of the space. An exhibition space, if it’s successful, is a crowded space. Scores, if not hundreds or thousands, of people are milling about, coming and going, and, above all, talking. Presentations are being delivered. Conversations are being had. Business transactions are being discussed and negotiated.
On top of that, you have the sound of non-human activity: furniture being moved, machines being operated, and the HVAC cycling.
The sources of noise are common and varied, and the noises they produce virtually never cease. These are all realities that commercial architects, exhibition hall managers, and exhibitors alike must confront if the space is to be truly functional, the shows successful, and the exhibitions profitable.
Creating an Ideal Soundscape in a Trade Show Exhibition Hall
Despite the inherent challenges presented by a large exhibition space, it is not only possible but also relatively simple to create a soundscape that is both pleasant and functional in a trade show environment. What you need are the proper materials and a bit of knowledge.
For example, it’s important not only to invest in good sound mitigation solutions, such as acoustic panels and tiles, but you also need to place and install them properly. Movable acoustic screens, for instance, can be placed around exhibits to help absorb ambient noise. This will create a sort of zone of quiet around the display, thus allowing attendees to give the exhibit the time, attention, and focus it deserves. This zone of quiet will also enable easier, and less disruptive, conversation. Because speech is more intelligible when ambient noise is minimized, presentations will be easier to hear and conversations will be both more clear and more confidential. No more straining to hear or shouting to be heard.
In addition to cultivating zones of quiet around exhibits, it’s also important to cultivate discrete sound zones throughout the entire space in order to maximize the space’s utility when multiple activities are occurring simultaneously. For instance, ceiling fixtures, such as acoustic clouds, and curved wall panels and screens can be used to both absorb sound waves and to redirect them. Dropped, curved ceiling panels, for example, create pockets of air behind them, which is critical in reducing ambient noise.
The result is a discrete zone of sound with minimal ambient noise or sound spillover. That makes these installations ideal for use above stages, podiums, lecterns, or other presentations areas–anywhere where you want your audience to be able to hear and focus on what is being said without disrupting the other goings-on in the halls, from concurrent presentations to private conversations to the quiet contemplation of other exhibits.
The FSorb at NeoCon: Revolutionizing Acoustic Design
FSorb’s storied history is a true tale of innovation, propelling FSorb to the forefront of acoustic design. Our immense inventory of customizable acoustic solutions is revolutionary not only for their utility, wide range of colors, and aesthetics but also for their engineering. That is why they are rapidly being recognized as the gold standard both for commercial sound treatment and for trade show acoustics. From sound absorbing displays to acoustic installations that transform the soundscape of the entire space, FSorb is eco-friendly, attractive, and has functional designs to show you at NeoCon this year.
For over half a century, NeoCon has been the most important event each year for the commercial design industry. NeoCon unites designers, architects, manufacturers, dealers, students, and all who are part of the commercial design community or are interested in learning about innovative design solutions. This year, FSorb is pleased to have designed a booth for NeoCon, where we will be showcasing a variety of innovative acoustic solutions.
However, it’s not only in the aesthetics and the utility of the products that the FSorb difference can be found. It’s also in the composition and manufacturing of the materials themselves. FSorb’s colorful acoustic panels are engineered from recycled materials.
That makes a profound difference not only for the environment but also for the products’ users. Traditionally, for example, acoustic installations in trade show environments have been made principally from fiberglass, foam, or formaldehyde-infused wood. Not only are these materials generally not environmentally friendly, but they’re also far less functional. Here’s why:
Sustainability: Unlike traditional convention center installations made largely from fiberglass, foam, or wood, FSorb’s products derive largely from recycled plastics, principally from consumer plastic bottles.
Health impacts: Traditional acoustic installations often carry with them a variety of potential health hazards. Fiberglass materials, for instance, can release small particle fibers, particularly during installation and removal, which can cause respiratory irritation and other risks. It isn’t only those who are in the immediate vicinity who may be affected. Once absorbed into the HVAC system, these fibers may circulate throughout the entire building, putting everyone at risk. The heat-pressed recycled polyester materials used in FSorb’s products, on the other hand, produce no such harmful emissions.
Moisture resistance: Another significant concern with traditional paper, foam, and wood materials is their propensity to accumulate moisture, particularly in high-humidity environments. This contributes to the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria–another human health risk–but it will also likely accelerate the product’s deterioration. Conversely, FSorb’s recycled polyester materials are porous, allowing moisture to flow through them, meaning they will remain dry, fresh, and sanitary in even the most punishing of environments, as long as they are kept clean (otherwise, accumulating organic materials may grow mold).
Durability and functionality: Another significant advantage of FSorb’s recycled polyester materials over traditional foam, paper, wood, or fiberglass is their durability and ease of installation. Recycled polyester is highly resistant to dents, dings, cracks, scratches, and chips. It is also generally far lighter than other materials. This means FSorb products can withstand numerous installations and long and frequent transports. They can also be installed or removed quickly and easily, with minimal effort and few hands required. The result is a longer product life and lower installation and removal costs. They’re also easy to clean and store.
Sound absorption quality: For all the immense virtues of FSorb’s innovative recycled materials, perhaps none is greater than their capacity to do what FSorb was made for - to create an ideal soundscape for every space and every purpose. FSorb’s recycled polyester panels are capable of absorbing sound across a broad range of frequencies, from low to high. Other material types, however, generally excel at absorbing sound only within a limited frequency range.
In addition to all these advantages, customized designs can be printed directly onto FSorb to enhance your visual space. Contact your local FSorb representative today to explore our wide variety of customizable acoustic panels, ceiling clouds, and baffles. You are sure to find the perfect installations for your exhibition hall space or your next trade show appearance!
At FSorb, we are motivated by improving human health and do so by creating eco-friendly acoustic products. Our mission is to help designers build beautiful spaces that reduce excess ambient noise while calming the human nervous system. With over 25 years in the acoustic business we stand behind FSorb as a durable, environmentally friendly, and low-cost product. If you want an acoustic solution that is safe to human health at an affordable price, then we are your resource.
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