Design is dictatorship
Text: Tobias Schneider | Photos: Michela Morosini, ARNO Design
At BAU 2019 in Munich, many innovations will again be celebrating their launch. One of these is the RAICO trade fair stand created by designer Claus Neuleib, one of the managing directors of the company ARNO Design. We talked with this creative genius and found out just what intuition, dictatorship and church painting have to do with trade fair communication.
Under his hat, he sports designer glasses and tatoos. In his heart, he cherishes a love of drama and staged performance. If all this conjures up the image of an artist in your mind, you're not far wrong. Visually, Claus Neuleib would, for example, easily pass for a musician, artist or a star photographer. In actual fact Neuleib, born in 1961 and living in his adopted city of Munich, is a designer and creative director and one of the best designers in Germany in the field of trade fairs. Because he's the kind of person who knows exactly what he wants: to keep reinventing his clients' displays with a sure instinct and a passion for shapes, colours and textures.
As one of the managing directors of the Munich design office ARNO Design, in June 2018 “Mr Trade Fair” accepted the commission to redesign the RAICO trade fair stand and chose to communicate with a bold visual statement from the very beginning. “A good trade fair presentation should polarise,” explains Neuleib, “It should stand out vividly from its surroundings, catch the eye.” And so it happened that when he presented his design, little more than the logo, profile pattern and catering area remained of the previous RAICO trade fair concept. Design, as he explains, doesn't mean finding wishy-washy compromises, but can sometimes be a kind of dictatorship. This calls for clear decisions, courage and consistency.
“We intentionally chose the company ARNO Design and Claus Neuleib as the creative mind. Right from the start, he had a specific concept of how to get the best out of our trade fair stand, and thus for us as a company,” says Andrea Jall, the RAICO Art Director, recalling the first meeting with him. The designer initially visualised the way the stand should look in the form of a scribble on paper, later via mood boards, then as realistic renderings and finally in a detailed trade fair stand concept.
Where does Neuleib get the inspiration for all his designs? “I love and live design. In my private library, I have over 1,300 books on fashion, architecture and art. I absorb it all, recall it at a given time and allow all the impressions, shapes, styles and historical periods that I've gained to flow into our clients' specifications and corporate identity. In the case of RAICO, I could already clearly see the basic idea in my mind's eye after a few minutes. It's a kind of intuition.”
The university graduate in interior designer who has dedicated himself to trade fair design for the past 32 years, also vividly recalls the specific source of inspiration for the new RAICO trade fair stand: “Many years ago, I saw the 'Storefront for Art and Architecture' by the architect Steven Holl at the Gallery New York.”
Here, the façade is cleverly broken up with rotatable elements and hatches, enabling a detailed view to the interior. As in the façade of the new RAICO trade fair stand. The small fold-out doors and panels invite the visitor to discover the world of the RAICO façade solutions and to playfully interact with the products.
Despite the solid, austere anthracite framework, the nearly 200-square-metre stand looks extremely inviting. Surrounded by a variety of 4.10-metre-high RAICO façades, the glass elements – artistically decorated on site in slate-coloured paint by a church painter – offer a view of the communication area as well as the two-floor guest area with a lounge atmosphere. At the centre, the three red counter islands of the “Profile Library” offer plenty of material for conversation – because under the solid wood panels, 36 white-lined drawers containing about 180 RAICO short samples, as well as the RAICO's own manufactured trade fair exhibits, await discovery by the specialist visitors – more than have ever been seen in RAICO's trade fair history.
We're proud of the result and are happy that while making a clear design statement, Claus Neuleib has succeeded in harmonising it perfectly with our requirements: in his own unique style.