The Emap stand can be identified at Interbuild by its white lotus-leaf canopies. Imagine Wright's Larkin Building roof, then deconstruct it - tilt the surfaces and place the columns assymetrically; take four of these canopies, let each hover over a 'node', a coloured drumshaped 'enclosure screen', and then listen for the hum of online technology.
Set around a 4m high column, each of the four nodes is dedicated to an element of Emap's business - architecture, contracting, building services and engineering.
Their form, relationships and colours have virtual reality as well as visual significance. 'We're mapping the marketplace' explains Ross Sturley, Emap marketing director and client, 'The plan of the stand represents a virtual map of Emap products and their position in the market'. Central to this virtual image is Construction Plus, the new Internet service of Emap which encompasses the whole construction industry; it is represented by a central 4m high column with a screen set in it which will be used for live demonstrations of the new site. Around this central column, and overlapping the central circular floorplate, are the entrances to the four nodes. 'The entrances mimic the 'portal' relationship of each element to the main website, ' says Sturley. For instance, AJplus, the online website for the architectural profession, is a portal to Construction Plus and can be demonstrated on a screen set on the column of the canopy to the architecture node.
'We want to show that Emap is the main information provider to the construction industry; our publications range from the Architectural Review to Heating & Ventilation News and our activities range from Interbuild and other exhibitions to information products such as Glenigan. We want to demonstrate that range. It's a new undertaking for Emap too, to define itself in terms of markets rather than individual magazines'.
The stand was prefabricated by Cheshire Contracts. The nodes have been created from MDF - exhibition designer's favourite material. It was curved to shape, fixed to both sides of timber stud framework, and finished in strong colours - red for architecture, yellow for contracting, blue for engineering and purple for building services - which also distinguish the individual portals of the Internet service. The nodes stand on a series of plinths finished with Dalsouple rubber flooring - a ramp at the side gives disabled access. The construction of the canopies is described overleaf. To one side of the stand is a bar for actual, rather than virtual, refreshments, with an office, kitchens and storage in a curved MDF enclosure.