It all started with two questions:
Can we DO more?
Can we BE more?
And the answer? A resounding Y.E.S.
When we launched FRONT, we had a pretty clear idea that the event’s unique format was going to revolutionise not only the appearance of commercial design, but the very business of commercial design contracting. Over the past two decades, we’ve watched on as the industry evolved. And during this period, the mere handful of years following the GFC have completely rewritten the industry rulebook. No longer are architects holding the primary power to specify commercial product. No longer are brands simply responding to market demand. No longer are end users a passive voice in the design process. We’re all busy with the work of anticipation – we’re all leading, we’re all innovating, and we’re all investing a significant amount of time and funds into moulding new processes, outcomes and standards for the A+D world of tomorrow. In more ways than one, when FRONT launched last week in Sydney it represented the very first time that this new commercial ecosystem was not only recognised and supported, but actively celebrated by a web of professionals, disruptors and influencers both within and beyond our combined industries. And from the very first moment of stepping across the threshold of Carriageworks into FRONT’s vast matrix of exhibition halls, lecture theatres, business lounges and installations, this new commercial ecosystem came to life quite unlike ever before.
Fusing the best in commercial design with the latest in technology and networking systems, FRONT has closed one chapter for this industry, and turned the page on something far more significant. No longer will tradeshows dominate the stage for informing stakeholders on the latest design product. FRONT heralds an exciting new moment for our combined industries coming together to build new relationships through diverse knowledge enterprise. Whether that means discovering the newest methods and concerns in commercial specification, or whether that means shaking hands with developers looking to inject new value opportunities into their next projects, FRONT delivered on its three-part promise:
Thought-leadership in DESIGN.
Pioneering research in PRODUCTS.
Purposeful disruption in our combined KNOWLEDGE
And here’s how we did it…
From the moment of entry into Carriageworks to the very last seconds of navigating FRONT, the event served up an enormous array of spaces and opportunities to further our visitors’ creative practice. An installation courtesy of Autex at the front doors demonstrated the future of acoustic product used in ways that only the most avant-garde of designers can dream of. Seeho Su designed the adjacent Concierge lounge using the latest commercial design product from Sweden, Japan, Denmark, Canada and Australia – a surefire hit with all if the buzzing nature of the meetings it hosted is anything to go by! And this is just the beginning…
Places to gather, meet and work
Behold! Product product, everywhere – and not a bit of mediocrity in sight. FRONT’s exhibition halls were grand on scale but intimate in experience. Home to more than 100 leading commercial design brands from across the globe, these halls were filled with architects, designers, property facilitators and end users all engaging with brands to learn about the all-important R+D that underpins their product development. Whether you wanted to learn about the effects of poor monitor alignment on rates of absenteeism, or whether you wanted to learn about new innovations in stone composites for noise control, FRONT made sure that thought-leadership was shared throughout all branches of tomorrow’s commercial landscape.
“I’ve been to trade shows from Frankfurt to New York to New Zealand, and I haven’t been to a trade show that’s been as well-focused,” says Tony Creighton, sales and business development manager at Stormtech.
Lined with high tables and stools for planned or impromptu meetings and punctuated with coffee and food stations, FRONT’s exhibition model broke the paradigm to instead invite everyone into design’s new knowledge democracy. At its very core, this format was all about facilitating relationship building. From the unique exhibition stands to the central walkway, all the way down to the Dyson Business Lounge – guests were using the event to connect.
Of course, it wouldn’t have been what it was without the people. With guests flying in from Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide, FRONT became the epicentre of the commercial design industry. In the crowd were not only the top brands exhibiting the latest innovations, but also a mix of world-class speakers such as Mia Feasey (Siren Design), Iwan Sunito (Crown Group) and Koichi Takada to name just a few.
And from the attendees’ side? All the major firms across ranging sectors came down to join us – Woods Bagot, Westpac, HASSELL, Mirvac, Westfield, DKO, Australia Post, Geyer, Macquarie Group, Stockland and Woolworths, plus many more.
At the end of the day, getting in front of the right people can make all the difference.
Where is the industry heading? What does a practice need to do to survive and thrive? How are retail and hospitality merging into a new typology? Does strategy eat creativity for breakfast?
FRONT set out to answer these questions, and pose a whole lot more through a carefully curated seminar series at the FRONT Forum, along with a slew of CPD presentations and the crown jewel – an old school style debate.
More than 2000+ tickets were sold across 16 sessions, proving that the industry is hungry for knowledge and eager to hear from not just the brightest stars, but a diverse voice.
Keep an eye out for the videos from each seminar, which will be released in the coming weeks along with more stories on the insights gained from such a blockbuster two-day event.
We can’t wait to welcome you at FRONT in 2019! If you have any questions, drop Colleen a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Otherwise, check in on the action here.