Projects

IIDA Pop-Up / NeoCon 2016

This year at NeoCon IIDA sought branding for three small walls and a narrow bit of floor space adjoining the escalator to the second floor of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. The idea was to turn a nondescript, pass-through space into an IIDA oasis at which visitors could pause and be reminded (happily) of the industry in which they work and the organization that supports them. O+A’s idea was an interactive wall.

This year at NeoCon IIDA sought branding for three small walls and a narrow bit of floor space adjoining the escalator to the second floor of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. The idea was to turn a nondescript, pass-through space into an IIDA oasis at which visitors could pause and be reminded (happily) of the industry in which they work and the organization that supports them. O+A’s idea was an interactive wall.

  • City Chicago

  • Year 2016

  • Size 250 sf

  • Team Verda Alexander, Olivia Ward, Jon Schramm, Patrick Bradley, Al McKee

  • Photographer Jasper Sanidad

Analog Pleasures in a Digital World

But this wall was not a tech touch-screen. It was an architectural installation that could have been built when the Mart first opened in 1930. Three walls of slatted grids into which business cards were fitted in colored patterns, the IIDA Pop-Up turned a dim, invisible dead zone into one of the show’s most vibrant corners.

Your Future, Design’s Future

To give people a reason to pause by the escalator O+A devised a series of fortune cookie messages and design aphorisms printed on the flip side of the cards. Passersby were encouraged to take one and leave a business card in exchange. “You will find love on an Eames chaise lounge” and “When in doubt, cut a window” were traded for designer business cards from all over the world—a playful demonstration of the spirit of community that IIDA represents.

All That and a Taco

And to further detain the NeoCon visitor rushing by O+A designers erected free-standing kiosks for distribution of IIDA’s member magazine. In keeping with the light-hearted spirit of the piece, each kiosk got a distinctive shape and a whimsical nickname: noodle, taco, tower and prism. As an exercise in activating problematic space, the IIDA Pop-Up, by all accounts, really did pop.

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