Awarding resilience at the World Exhibition Stand Awards

The World Exhibition Stand Awards (WESA) have announced the launch of the World Exhibition Stand Resilience Awards, a chance to recognise some extraordinary achievements in what has become an extraordinary global environment for our sector.

The WESAs have traditionally celebrated the great stories of achievement on the exhibition show floor, and now they are introducing a new set of awards for 2021, specifically to recognise the resilience shown by exhibition industry professionals in these unusual times. The Resilience awards are free to enter.

The coronavirus pandemic has spawned many new inventions, events and activations and been a period of intense creativity, despite the many trials and tribulations. The new awards will provide the recognition and a meaningful celebration deserved by those showing their incredible powers of resilience in the exhibition design and build sector.

The new Resilience Awards have eight categories and agencies are encouraged to show how they have successfully adapted to support clients creating new products and imaginative strategies.

The Resilience Awards are open for entries via the website and you can submit two entries free of charge; further entries can be paid for. The industry is certainly not lacking in resilience, as the WESA Insights page of interviews on the above website illustrates. There you can get inspiration from leading creative minds and former WESA award winner James Simpkins, executive director of 2Heads Global Design, talks about how his team set up Virtual Experience Labs “to establish not only what is important and missing in the absence of traditional live events, but to support, listen and to find meaningful solutions for the short, medium and long term”.

Simpkins offers a recipe for resilience in this difficult period: “The Covid-19 pandemic has identified the long overdue need for a change in the events mindset. Much of the industry is fantastic at planning, and ticking the box with a great looking design. However, certain agencies go well beyond this and focus more heavily on core business objectives and audience needs. Those that continue to build on this success will view future events as a more intrinsic part of the marketing mix and will use the opportunity to engage attendees, both physically and virtually.”

And, on how stands may look in future, Simpkins says how we innovate to use space efficiently and with more flexibility will be an important aspect when budgets are re-focused to prioritise infrastructure and connectivity with the virtual audience as well as the physical.

Another innovative voice is PICO’s Chris Jones who told WESA Insight: “We’ve been developing a number of touchless initiatives to make physical spaces safer for when people can return to exhibitions. Every crisis is a catalyst for invention. We always have to be ready to adapt to new realities.”

He adds: “People will use their own device to interact with stands rather than the touchscreens provided. There will be a rethink about physical interaction.” And Jones foresees a “blended reality experience” of the future, where physical and digital are seamlessly interwoven. “Intelligence will be built in so visitor data can deliver a uniquely personal experience for every single person.”

Crystal Chu, creative director Kingsmen Exhibits,  explains how her agency offers solutions ranging from ‘phygital’ event spaces to a walkthrough of exhibition or galleries using augmented and virtual reality. “With just the click of a finger, you can get to your intended choice of exploration. The digital portal allows us to collect and study user behaviour to further drive personalised engagement.

“In contribution to the Singapore government’s efforts to control the spread of Covid-19, we have also repurposed our modular structures, converting our booth capabilities to accommodate facilities for medical testing and isolation,” Chu adds.

So, get your story of resilience and innovation heard. Use this complimentary code to receive two free entries to the World Exhibition Stand Resilience Awards: ‘RESC19’ at: worldexhibitionstandawards.


Pictured: some of the winners of the 2020 WESAs