We had been doing thematic exhibition works for almost a decade-Gandhi, Nehru, Kala, others (hyperlink to Showcase for these projects') - when we were given the opportunity to work in trade fair exhibition spaces. We found trade fairs to have wonderful possibilities. For us, they were exciting visual experiences, quite joyful. What made it so was being able to bring the language of thematic work to the trade fair platform. Thematic exhibitions and trade fairs became the yin and yang of the work we did.
The short life cycles of 3 to 6 months for these fairs offered another challenge, increasing efficiency apart from everything else. We were able to experiment with materials, technology and because we treat space as volume, our designs were of singularly tremendous visual impact. We used tensile structures, played with show lights and ambient lighting, deployed a palette of media and tools-and in fact were the first in those days to use moving lights, tensile structures, curved panels and other new developments which were promptly picked up by others with the very next trade fair that happened. We literally pioneered the process of bringing show and thematic aspects into trade fairs in India at that time, automation, programmed lights and sound and so on. We geared up to do serious work which at the same time had the prime responsibility of arresting eyeballs. Auto fairs were a big part of this work.
From designing trade fair exhibition spaces, we understood the corporate language, what it means to tell the corporate story in a way which would very well fulfill the responsibility we had. This trade fair experience is what led us to eventually design the DS Group's corporate museum, The Journey, (hyperlink to Showcase?) a comparison of which would be hard to find anywhere you look.
Despite having won many awards and accolades, the temporal nature of trade fairs was a step towards our seeking to design more permanent spaces, which is what we now accomplish.