From 2006 to 2014 the annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas was how I kicked off each new year.  For as exciting as the show is, when you work months on end preparing for it and do a week of 12-15 hour days on install by the time it opens you just want to take some photos and beat the rush home.  This year after a 3 year hiatus I was really looking forward to walking the trenches and looking for interesting gadgets and taking in as much booth design as possible.  Before I get into all that I’ll share what brought me to CES this year.  This year I got to work on the design of this 9,600 square foot booth for Hisense Electronics:

Hisense CES 2017

The panoramic photos above help show the scale of the booth but some of the drama of the overhead elements is lost.  The “ribbons” evolved a bit over the course of the project but the end result is remarkably close to what was pitched initially.  Below is an early sketch of the main wall that divides the space (originally a little more voluptuous), an early 3D study model, and the final 3D overhead rendering.

 Very early doodle - likely done during a conference call

Very early doodle - likely done during a conference call

 Early 3D study model for internal review

Early 3D study model for internal review

 Final design rendering

Final design rendering

A big part of CES booths are the “lifestyle vignettes”.  In fact some of the larger booths simply create large boxed in spaces to focus on the marketing environments within, plain boxes outside.  A big challenge of the Hisense booth was to present a larger narrative of a collection of rooms, or whole home, in a very tight footprint.  Rather than creating a furnished loft space the idea to create a mondrian bookshelf type display was pitched.  The story flows from morning to night and is easy for the presenters to navigate but is also allows for some creative flourishes and little surprises for the visitors to discover in the scenic treatments.

 Hand sketch presented during creative development session with client

Hand sketch presented during creative development session with client

Now that I’m done plugging my own work, below is a video I put together of some of the more interesting spaces and gadgets I found at this year’s CES.  Some of my favorite booth designs this year were several smaller stand-alone booths that used open framework or shelving type displays to capture their space while displaying graphics and products inside the grid.  I also really like some designer’s use of what appeared to be more unfinished materials juxtaposed to the high-tech products.  Below the video is a link to my CES 2017 flickr album that features most of these images and a few more:

CES 2017 flickr album:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnrhutchinsonjr/albums/72157675130007684

Among my favorite gadgets this year were some of the toys, like ones to motivate kids to be active:

And the numerous robots, blocks, or kits of parts encouraging kids to learn coding while playing:

Last but not least these augmented reality flash cards from Octagon Studios.  I got a sample kit to play with and have posted a video below, there's also several videos on their website:

https://www.octagonstudio.com/en/

I'm kind of surprised I haven't seen this in more museum gift shops.  Additionally I feel like there's a lot of potential for this technology to add another level of depth to 2D graphics.

My next blog post around the weekend of the 21st will be the first in a 2-part post summarizing some of my earlier fine-art works and product designs.  Then around February 24th I’ll begin documenting past projects, kicking off with my very first professional design project - an industrial shelving product catalog!...

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