I visit fairs – a lot. Really a lot. One year I counted, and I visit approximately 20 fairs per year. I like fairs. To me it is a good way to get an overview of what is being launched, but also talk to people. Most fairs are nice. The best ones are those with a good combination of established brands and new surprises. The fair format has basically been the same since when man started trading, so when Architect at Work say they want to reinvent the fair format I am curious.
I can’t really remember when I first heard of Architect at Work (or Architect @ Work). Perhaps 2017 when they launched their biannual concept in Sweden. Maybe just before. The organisers are from Belgium and their aim is “considerable focus is laid on the exchange of knowledge and innovative ideas”
The idea is that all exhibitors get the same format of stand, only allowed to show new products (judged by a jury) and the visitor is taken care of with free of charge beverages and snack.
The fair is small. Deliberately small. But looking for the right audience. And intimate.
Architect at Work in Stockholm had about 60 exhibitors and 1500 visitors. It runs at 17 different cities all over Europe.
It’s really interesting. At a time when everyone is screaming that they are bigger and better – this focus on smaller but with quality.
Architect at Work Stockholm 2019 took place at Stockholmsmässan, and basically just at a small corner of the fair.
The setting is dark, with curtains to make the whole thing sound intimate and close. Airy spaces so you can walk around.
And beverages everywhere.
The architecture is like boxes. In each box, four companies each get a corner. Noone gets bigger or better. Everyone is equal.
And everyone is showing only new, and relevant things. Here Dornbracht. Only the new taps. They were showing older sinks, but had do change. Only new stuff is allowed.
Here stone company Cosentino. New can of course mean, new sizes or new colours, but everything needs to be accepted.
Here new sink by Laufen.
And I must emphasize that this is a fair for architects, or people building houses. Or mainly so. The majority of the companies here are for constructing buildings. Like facades. Or elevators.
Besides having exhibitors there is a academy program, exhibitions etc
I must say that I really enjoyed Architect at Work. It is small, curated, relaxed and free coffee. When I talked to the exhibitors I am aquainted with, they were also very happy. People compared this to Swedish fair Nordbygg, and eventhough this is bigger, the quality here is better.
Personally I am pretty amazed to see how someone actually managed to reinvent the format. Well done.