Aurora Solar Trade Show
Exhibit Design

When Aurora Solar expanded into the German market, the company wanted to make a big splash. Solar Solutions Düsseldorf, being one of the largest solar trade shows in Europe, was the right time and place to announce Aurora’s presence. This trade show was going to be a little tricky since we would have to work remotely from the other side of the ocean and we didn’t have our usual contacts for events. We were able to collaborate with TULP, an experiential design agency based in Germany.

Architectural Design



The Challenge

The booth design for Germany was going to require us to start from scratch but this was a huge opportunity to design something that could reflect the quality of Aurora’s products. When I re-designed the booth for North America to incorporate Aurora’s new brand, I was tasked with only re-skinning an old booth frame. It meant I had to essentially fill two large billboards with content. This was not ideal since it meant I filled space with images and text instead of deciding how the booth should be oriented based on the desired messaging and content.

As you can see in the image above, there are photos and a paragraph of text which is certainly not read by anyone quickly walking past. There are also seven televisions. So many! While Aurora’s branding lent to a sleek booth design, had I had more control over the floor layout and the shapes of the walls, I would have done something a lot different. Luckily, this is the freedom I had for Aurora’s German booth. Since we did not already have a booth frame sitting in storage in Germany, I had complete control over the design of the booth’s walls, the furniture, the lighting, and the floor.

The design also needed to accomplish the following:

  • Finds a creative way to hide storage for personal belongings, merchandise, drinks, and lock up devices overnight
  • Hides cords for a tidy appearance
  • Uses hanging sign to get above that highest eye line
  • Make it immediately clear the Aurora Solar is a software providor, not a solar panel manufacturer
  • Take advantage of the corner booth to get attention from both sides of the floor

The Process

So, before working with our German external fabricators and architects, I created a concept that connected the booth’s materials and structure to Aurora Solar’s brand and value proposition. I used a metaphor of a grid, a motif throughout Aurora’s branding. The grid in Aurora’s branding represents the electrical connections between solar panels and is a reference to the electric grid. It also hints at Aurora’s design tool, known to be the world’s most accurate residential solar design software. The grid of the design of the booth would signal the precision and accuracy of the company’s product.

The design incorporates lots of wood and natural materials thus hinting at the environmental aspects of climate tech. This wooden frame is modular with panel pieces for graphics. The benefit of a modular system is that we can adapt the size for different trade shows and update individual panels when necessary. The German solar industry is still new to solar design software so the features that are well known to the North America solar industry, are still exciting such as LIDAR and irradiance mapping. Using diagrams and infographics, the booth design could show the technological innovation Aurora brings to solar design.

The floor plan would have to fit a space of 4x6 meters which is a little smaller than Aurora’s North American booths. There were essentially two main layout options: split the booth in half, the way the booth was laid out in North America, or use the backwalls. Ultimately the size of the booth meant that to have any room for demos, the back walls would have to be where information was displayed.

One consideration for the layout of trade show booths is that trade show halls are enormous so it is hard to maintain visibility from a distance. Aurora Solar’s North American booth was so tall that there were essentially three zones of design: eye level, above eye level, and aerial. The height restrictions at Solar Solutions Dusseldorf were a little shorter and therefore there were two zones of information for the new booth. Below is a framework I created to understand designing in such a large scale

Collaboration with TULP

After meeting with TULP and sending over my general design and communicating our layout needs, they were able to produce an architectural rendering and give some guidance around furniture and lighting.

My very unsophisticated 2D design including an early iteration’s doorway design. TULP’s much more advanced architectural rendering

Ultimately, my feedback was that this grid was too wire-y and did not feel as clean as the desired look. At this point, text and images were still placeholder.

Once TULP revised the architectural rendering, we were able to source the grid material in Europe. It was now time to get into the nitty-gritty of the booth’s panel layouts including where and how much text there would be, the size of the televisions, and where booth storage would go. After a few iterations, I sent over the below.

The German team at Aurora was able to coordinate most of the technical details regarding the trade show. There was lots of great feedback from the sales team at the show that there were many times where there was a line to take a demo of Aurora’s deisgn software.

Feedback from the German Aurora Sales team included:

  • “It worked really well. This booth did say premium solution and high quality in an appealing way.”
  • “We did not only get last minute-orders somewhere in downtown Düsseldorf but also had an impressive range of languages to cater to customers.”
  • “A lot of our competitors had larger booths than us, but the way this one was designed was just awesome. We could hold 2x the number of conversations with half the amount of space.”

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