Show Site – Expect the Unexpected!


Show Set Up at ICSCWorking in the trade show industry, you know that anything can happen. And when it does, it usually is the last thing you expect. You can prepare for every possible scenario in advance – only to arrive at show site and discover a new challenge awaits.

The ICSC Recon show is a commercial real estate conference held each year in Las Vegas. DisplayWorks had several clients exhibiting at the show this year, including The Irvine Company, one of Orange County California’s largest property developers and management companies. DisplayWorks designed for The Irvine Company a beautiful, new 40’ x 80’ exhibit with a grand entrance. Just inside the entrance our designers imagined a beautiful fruit-bearing orange tree as a design element that represented the company’s connection to Orange County and the orange groves that have historically defined the region.

The original plan was to source a nice 12’ tall live orange tree in Las Vegas and bring it into the booth to be set up in a custom seating area just inside the entrance of the exhibit. It sounded easy enough. Simple, right? We’ve suspended planes on the show floor in the past. In this case, however, it turns out that there were no full size orange trees bearing oranges in Las Vegas. Apparently oranges (like most citrus) prefer to ripen in the winter months, not the middle of May, and certainly not in Las Vegas. The only orange trees that could be found were 7’ tall with quarter-sized green oranges hanging from them. Not quite the grand centerpiece entrance or image our designers had in mind.

Our onsite team determined that a plan B was required. It helped that our client, being a large land development company, had a very experienced horticulturist on staff. They informed our team that a bay tree makes a great body double for an orange tree (without the oranges). There just happened to be a nice healthy 12′ bay tree available at a local Las Vegas Nursery. Half the problem was solved — we sent a truck to get the bay tree.

The second half of the problem was solved with several bags of nice ripe oranges at the local grocery store. One by one we threaded wires into the rinds and then carefully hung the oranges on the tree, like hanging Christmas ornaments. The finished result was a theatrically created live tree with a bountiful crop of ripe oranges on it. With a few orange scented are fresheners hidden down in the base of the structure the effect was complete. Now, on to the next challenge!

Orange tree at ICSCShow Setup at ICSC Recon

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