PUBLIC EXHIBITION

THE ELEVENTH WORLD FLOWER SHOW

Location:Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Dublin 2

Status:Completed June 2014

The World Association of Floral Artists, WAFA, was founded in 1981 by a group of flower arranging societies representing 31 countries. The presidency of WAFA is held on a 3 yearly term by an elected member country and in 2008 the Association of Irish Floral Artists, AOIFA, were successful in their bid to host WAFA for the first time in Ireland, for the period 2011-2014. The responsibilities as host nation included organisation of the 11th World Association of Floral Artists Show in Ireland in 2014, a triennial event forming the culmination and celebratory focal point of the host country’s presidency, showcasing floral arrangements designed by over 600 floral artists from the 31 member countries and featuring International demonstrations, lectures and tours.

This was the first time the World Association of Floral Artists, WAFA, had employed a professional design team to realise a World Show. The Client’s key objective was to produce a world class event designed to showcase both the floral art and Ireland on the international stage. The brief was to provide a layout to reflect the shows theme, “A Floral Odyssey”, with an organisation and circulation capable of accommodating large crowds. As designers, our aim was to satisfy the brief but also to develop and expand the Client’s expectations of how the World Show could be designed and to eliminate the problems experienced in previous World Shows, which included poor circulation, inadequate and cramped spaces and poor lighting.

We set out to create a calm spacious gallery type environment with clear logical circulation connecting the four halls and allowing sufficient space for working, judging, navigating and accommodating large numbers of people, whilst incorporating the specific requirements of each of the 32 classes and working within the parameters of the selected modular aluminium and MDF staging system/ components. The design was inspired by the show’s theme, a Floral Odyssey, the fuchsia flower as the logo of the World Show, the Client’s brief and ultimately a response to the architecture and spatial qualities of the exhibition halls in the RDS.

Commencing at and on axis with the main entrance, the central and primary route is lined by the International Honorary Exhibits, from which secondary routes branch, guiding users towards the key areas of the show and connecting the four halls. Tertiary routes are defined by the layout of the individual classes and the staging, which refer and loop back to the primary and secondary routes. The arrangement of each class is dictated by the number of exhibitors, the design of the staging and the space requirements for construction, as each exhibit is assembled on site.

The fuschia pink carpet, which defines these arterial circulation routes, is a reference to the fuschia flower of the WAFA logo, while the colour of the staging forms a definite contrast, varying from pale to dark grey subject to the type and location of the class.

The layout as it developed was designed to incorporate a degree of flexibility to facilitate the changing brief and to allow for alterations due to changes in the projected numbers of entrants and the budget as fund raising continued. We worked with the modular staging systems wherever possible to meet the requirements of each class in terms of the relevant staging and space requirements, with only minor alterations being made to the systems where absolutely necessary. The show/ installation was designed, by necessity on the basis of the limited available budget, with an inherent economy of means, aiming to maximise visual impact and deliver clarity of organisation and wayfinding within the context of the large volumes of the RDS exhibition halls.

These issues - an unknown budget, accommodation of the brief, restrictions in the design of the staging due to working with modular systems, accommodation of fluctuating entrant numbers, spatial control of the cavernous receiving volumes - in conjunction with the Client’s inexperience in hosting an event of this scale and requiring our involvement in areas outside of the normal remit of architects, formed the challenges faced.

The planning and design stage of the 11th World Flower Show progressed over a two year period, the construction of the exhibition lighting and staging by a specialist contractor from the UK and installation of the floral art and arrangements took three days. The show, opened by the President Michael D Higgins was open to the public for four days attracting over 20,000 visitors in June 2014, with break down and complete removal in twelve hours. The next World Flower Show is due to be held in Barbados in 2017.


Floor Area: 9,240M2 (receiving space)

PRESS

MAY / JUNE 2015
RIAI Architecture Ireland No. 281

AWARDS

2014 ARCHITECTURE EXPO 2014
Interior Design & Fit-Out Awards
Award Winner
CATEGORY: Up to 1 Million

2014 FIT OUT AWARDS
Fit Out Project of the Year - Leisure
Award Winner
CATEGORY: Fit Out Project Of The Year - Leisure (Small)

2014 INSTITUTE DESIGNERS IRELAND IDI DESIGN AWARDS
Exhibition Design
Award Winner
CATEGORY: Exhibition Design



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