Imagine for a moment the opportunity to take a mundane trade show stand and turn it into an experience where attendees can experiment with new products. That's exactly what Martin Lupton and his U.K.-based studio Light Collective were tasked with when approached by LED module company Xicato to design its exhibition tent at this year's Light+Building.

Lupton has been critical of trade show displays in the past, and was particularly so after Light+Building 2010. “It seems that the main aim was to have as many products as possible, all as bright as possible, all aimed in your face,” he says. Xicato took note of Lupton's concerns. “Xicato came to us, and they said, ‘You guys are always criticizing trade shows; why don't you do better?' ” Lupton recalls.

One of Lupton's critiques was that the lighting displays were often a sea of stark, white spaces that focused on the use of colored light. To address this, Light Collective decided to create a colorful space that would allow Xicato to showcase the color consistency of its LED modules. “Because the stand was a bit more colorful, it didn't rely on colored light,” Lupton says. Rather, the Xicato LED module provided a white light source with high color-rendering ability, which was visible throughout the various display presentation areas.

In 2010, Xicato had decided to exhibit at Light+Building a bit at the last-minute. As such, its stand was actually a tent located in the plaza area outside two of the main halls—Hall 3 and Hall 4. The location proved excellent in terms of visitor traffic, and so for 2012, they decided to stay with the same spot. Light Collective saw this as an opportunity not to be squandered, and aimed to make this year's space one that would capitalize on the placement between two such prominent halls, and become a meeting place for designers.