London Book Fair 2017

In the autumn of 2016 we won a closed competition for the design of the Polish stand at the 2017 London Book Fair. This spring it was built and served its purpose during the fair. The stand was located in the first floor of Olympia congress centre in London. It took approximately 500 sqm of floor space divided into four independent lots crossed by two public alleys. It hosted 40 exhibitors accompanied by two art shows, service areas and a common reception desk. By the main entrance we placed a bright-red coloured welcome area with a large neon sign. To the left and right of the main alley we located the two exhibitions: childrens’ books and photographic portraits of Polish writers including Joseph Conrad Korzeniowski.

For the floor, walls, furniture and other stand elements we chose natural materials: plywood, timber and unpainted steel. In the part that we called „the agora” we placed low coffee-tables with comfortable armchairs for informal discussions. We also designed special containers for apples that will be served complimentary to the visitors of the stand. It was our goal to make the stand double as a showcase of Polish industry and design – hence the use of Polish-made materials and products. Our idea was to avoid boring box-like partitions – the stand could be crossed freely as if you were walking through a forest. In the director’s office we hung textile fabric with a unique, purpose-designed book-forest pattern. We scattered a number of young trees across the stand to further amplify the forest theme.

Our main goal was to make the design stand out by using less than obvious geometries. Hence the slanted and waving lines applied in all the stand elements. We used the Polish national colours in the design, complimented by natural material colours. One of the main design features is the reusability of stand elements. That is why the project consists of several types of modules. The basic bookshelf is made of two typical plywood boards leaning against one another, equipped with wedge-mounted steel shelves and lamps. The truss-like racks allow us to create partitions without blocking views. Low tables with cross-section timber tops display visible growth rings. Each exhibitor used a similar table of standard height complete with a set of polish beechwood chairs. The trees complete the stand and fill it with a natural forest scent.

Textile design by Ania Libera | Photography by Jan Dybowski

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