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A more circular approach to trade fairs and exhibitions

Joining forces to fight waste

This project aims to tackle the lack of circularity and sustainable materials in the commercial trade fair and exhibitions sector. A survey among several stand builders and an experienced trade fair organiser, KortrijkXpo, shows that waste in the commercial trade fair sector is a problem all over the world. It is estimated that on a global level over 600,000 tonnes of materials are lost in commercial trade fairs. KortrijkXpo produces several tonnes of waste every year.

Despite the many borrowing services and platforms, trade fair organisers, stand builders and stage designers still opt for new materials when setting up exhibitions and stands. The existing standard solutions and the borrowing services for partitions, pedestals, display cases etc.

are considered too boring in a business where creativity, the surprise effect and visual attractiveness are so important. The reusable frames that have been launched in the past decade are used more and more often, but they are only a partial solution, because additional material is still needed to fill up the frames.

As a result, a lot of material is generated and discarded as waste.

This project aims to locally test a solution to drastically reduce waste after exhibitions and trade fairs. We have set ourselves the challenge to make the next edition of the Design Week in October 2019 fully circular (stands, exhibition and signage materials), without negatively affecting the visual attractiveness of the exhibition halls and materials. We plan to achieve this by using materials discarded as waste after commercial trade fairs, through a strictly eco-friendly design of our exhibition set-ups using as many reusable materials as possible and by repurposing the discarded materials through local organisations following the event.

Moreover, at least part of the test scenario that we are developing for the Design Week 2019 must be validated as usable in the trade-fair and exhibition sector at large. Together with our project partners, we want to eliminate any uncertainty and prove that logistically and financially it is feasible to give designers, stage designers and stand builders access to residual waste after a trade fair. As such, we hope to encourage all stakeholders in the trade-fair and exhibition sector to work in a (more) circular manner.

Designregio Kortrijk

Partners Kortrijk XPO