Where necessary. “The demand for solutions that can be folded up and put away again is bound to grow,” asserts Ilona Jarabek, Managing Director of Musik- und Kongresshalle Lübeck (MuK). As host of the annual meeting of the German Society of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, Head and Neck Surgery in May 2018, attended by a total of 2,500 delegates, she used a tent to augment the venue’s permanent rooms. It provided both exhibition space and a meeting section with breakout rooms for 200 delegates. “The whole set-up worked perfectly. Of course, customers do initially want their entire event to be in a single building,” concedes Jarabek.
But when there are very large numbers attending events, organisers often have to use tents. The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 23), which was attended by 25,000 delegates from 6 to 17 November 2017 in Bonn, would not have been possible without temporary buildings. Röder created a tent landscape with a floor space of 55,000 sqm for the agency Vagedes & Schmid. Within 12 weeks, the company built a “city” of resource-efficient, climatefriendly temporary halls that were dismantled at the end of the conference. “We had only 3 months to build the temporary conference city. You can only pull off a project like that through close cooperation and provided there is space for plenty of personal interaction,” says Michael Vagedes. EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) was used to ensure the event was climate-neutral, which involved renaturation of the site afterwards. In these times of virtual meetings, the huge outlay was worth it for Vagedes: “Binding negotiations can only be sustained if it is possible for the participants to actually meet and look each other in the eye,” he asserts.
“Demand for temporary venues is clearly rising, in all areas. Technically, nothing is impossible these days. You can design temporary buildings that comply with the regulations covering permanent buildings and are thus on a par with them,” explains Michael Glaser, Managing Director of h.u.t. Solutions. He has observed a high level of acceptance among his customers, for whom he has built 2,000-seat conference halls. “The approving building authority now has the scope to determine the approval period, so the usage period for temporary buildings can be extended to up to ten years. That’s no problem these days, technically,” asserts Glaser. The prerequisites, of course, are that there must be escape routes and noise and fire protection. The interim canteen for 1,500 employees of a Hamburg company and an ice rink are among h.u.t. Solutions’ longer-term temporary venues.
Inflatable tents are a particular type of mobile venue. Their shape and colours can be customised, making them ideal for brand presentation purposes. Austrian manufacturer No Problaim designed an inflatable tent in the form of a cloud to promote Amazon’s cloud storage application at CeBit 2016. Inflatables have become an everyday feature at trade fairs and meetings. Besides catching the eye, they often also provide a quiet space for seminars held while a trade fair is going on all around them.
A temporary meeting room created with inflatable walls provided Maarten Vanneste, CEO of the Meeting Design Institute, with an enclosed space for his events at the 2018 Meetings Show in London. Vanneste is a champion of multi-hub spaces and a big advocate of temporary scenarios for meetings. “Multi-hub meetings are temporary set-ups that create a meeting space for a scattered group of participants. A multi-hub meeting with 300 participants might take place in six meeting rooms holding 20 to 80 people each. Each meeting room might be in one of six hotels in six different countries. The six groups would be connected by a single audio and video system enabling everyone to see everyone else,” explains Vanneste. This meeting consisting of six regional breakouts follows a multihub script that enables all groups to contribute in Q&A sessions. “When the meeting is over, the shared meeting space disappears entirely,” continues Vanneste. Only the six meeting rooms remain, with no sign that they were part of a larger meeting.
With an exhortation to “move that chair”, Vanneste also urges organisers to experiment with room set-ups and let participants try out different chair arrangements and thus encourage them to take part in a dynamic meta-learning process.
Temporary structures provide fertile ground for creativity. Basically an unfinished shell, they can be customised and thus facilitate innovative solutions. That, at least, is the argument made for temporary spaces by Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft. Design Offices also offers flexible, inspirational spaces for a modern, futureoriented working environment. The company won an IMEX wildcard in 2018.