FEATURE: Beauty and the booth – behind the scenes at Baselworld

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When the doors of the Messe Basel swing open for the 2016 edition of Baselworld tomorrow (17 March), thousands of enthusiastic jewellery buyers, wholesalers and journalists from around the world will arrive, eagerly anticipating their first glimpse of what the industry’s leading luxury brands have to offer for the year.

For Nick Marks and his team at RADAR Exhibitions, however, the opening of the show signals a very different landmark. They will already have been on site for over a month, carefully crafting and constructing their clients’ booths.

“Due to its sheer size, the quality of visitor and the press surrounding the event, a Baselworld project will tend to be a flagship project. In turn, due to the exceptional level of design and production that luxury brands demand, it then becomes our flagship project too. Baselworld also gives us a platform to showcase the very best of our work,” explains Marks. This year RADAR has designed, constructed and managed booths for two key British brands with very different histories but which both epitomise luxury: Garrard and Jewellery Theatre.

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RADAR was first appointed by Garrard when it joined the show in 2013, and has since remained by its side, offering consultancy, design, production and management services.

Sara Prentice, creative director at Garrard, comments: “Radar is fantastic to work with and have been since our first Baselworld exhibition four years ago. They provide an excellent service and deliver everything on time and within budget. They go above and beyond what we ask of them and we know we are in safe hands.”

RADAR is a full-service luxury exhibitions agency with a team of designers, account managers and project managers based in offices just two miles from Bond Street. Production takes place at a dedicated facility in Sussex, where you will find a team of skilled craftsmen working away on projects all year round. “Many exhibitors at Basel will use a specific architect for design concept, then another for technical plans, then another for production and so on. We do it all in-house and the result is a drastic increase in efficiency and reduction of overall cost,” says Marks.

Having successfully managed Garrard’s booth again last year, Marks says the focus this year has been on “tweaking” the core design and functionality of the booth to reflect the direction of the brand’s products and campaigns. “Booths tend to evolve with each year rather than start again due to a host of associated factors and so what may look the same as the year before at first glance, will actually have been carefully altered to reflect this year’s strategy and collections.”

The Garrard booth reaches some seven metres in height and spans 110 square metres over two floors. With vintage chandeliers, a marble entrance, bespoke cabinets and leather grain walls it is a truly stunning space. This year, an open seating area will be converted into an extra meeting room and the interior colour has been altered to best match the collections on show.

Of course, at the heart of the booth is the jewellery and RADAR work closely with its clients to ensure the perfect environment is created to display the new collections. Overall, the emphasis is entirely on quality. “It is important to note that, despite this being an exhibition, nothing is of standard exhibition quality. In any other industry such expense and attention to detail may be considered excessive, but this is Baselworld and each year brings new ideas and bigger, better, projects.”

So, when those visitors do come flooding into Hall 1 tomorrow, how will RADAR judge that its work has been a success? “Ultimately our success at the event is dependent on our clients’ success at the event. As a full-service agency our involvement with the project runs far deeper than any single concept, design or installation and so there is a lot to consider and debrief once the project is complete. That said, we like to think that our reappointments and growing client base mean we are doing something right!”

 

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