IBM Trade Fair Stands at the IFABO Office Technology Trade Fair
1989 - 1995
GMMK . Gert M. Mayr-Keber ZT GmbH . 1989-1995 . IBM . Photography Elisabeth Mayr-Keber

In connection with the annual IFABO office technology trade fair in Vienna, the opportunity arose after successful participation in a closed competition to develop a new trade fair stand which over the course of the years was radically altered three times in response to new sites and circumstances. The basic task, that is, of presenting IBM as a company together with nearly 40 IBM dealers and IBM partners, remained the constant prerequisite.

IBM, famous worldwide for its competence in computer technology, was to be interpreted visually as an elite and innovative company in as immediate a way as possible. Starting from the given situation in the exhibition halls, as also from the fact that IBM would be presented by its authorised dealers and distribution partners, the functional approach to the design consisted in accommodating the individual exhibitors and suppliers in individual units or booths of different sizes which could be arranged and organised in different ways. Thus it was possible to represent the things these exhibitors had in common, not only through the display in the same exhibition hall but also in the superordinate structure, which reflects the size and importance of the company.

The booths with their individual linking and structuring elements were elementary in form and thus documented their own plurality. The articulation of community, size and unit was achieved through large, embracing structures that created a sense of space and configured centres. IBM itself was made the focus of each display and positioned in these centres.

Accessing the exhibition hall through entrances which changed considerably over the years was partially 'staged' to create particular spatial conditions intended to influence the visitor to the stand. Thus, for example, in the first three years, occasioned by the location of the exhibition hall, a 40 m ramp with a bridge was constructed as the entrance. Various structures serving as advertising space were placed in front of the façade of the hall, as elements signalling the presence of IBM on this site. By means of a yellow-lit corrugated sheet tube, which also functioned as an access tunnel to the hall, a new mood parameter can be established in the visitor through perceptual provocation.

Aluminium in various different forms (corrugated sheets, truss girders, lattices) was used in combination with glass, plexiglass, fabric and artificial light to achieve the 'atmosphere of documentation' appropriate to the company and to translate it into architectonic terms. Individual areas were floodlit or spotlit with different colours and intensities of light, as in a theatre. Neon light was employed in different ways, on the one hand as light effects, (for example fluorescent rods, light indicators or room screen lighting), and on the other for functional elements such as a fluorescent handrail on the outside of the hall.