PLEXIGLAS® was a popular design element for trade fair booths during the trade fair boom of the 1950s.

© Evonik Industries AG, Konzernarchiv Hanau

Standing out with creativity in the economic miracle’s trade fair boom

Even in the 1950s and 1960s, companies were already looking for materials with which they could make their booths stand out in order to impress visitors – PLEXIGLAS®, for example.

International trade fairs began to be held again in Germany soon after the Second World War, with many new locations and specialist exhibitions joining those that had been there before. The economy recovered and the labor market flourished. Rising salaries created a prosperous society, which was also reflected in consumer demand. Trade fairs were the place to find innovative new products.

The first impression is everything

Over the course of the 1950s and 1960s, many trade fairs grew bigger and more diverse, while many new specialist exhibitions for clearly defined industry segments also sprang up. Exhibitors needed to come up with an idea to make their booths stand out among the growing competition. A good booth was unique and immediately attracted visitors’ attention. This is where PLEXIGLAS® often came into play. Even today, the brand acrylic glass’ properties make it ideal for designing trade fair booths and showcasing products. Be it sophisticated mirrors, decorative illuminated signs or creative display cases, even then PLEXIGLAS® was used virtually everywhere for booth construction thanks to its multitude of colors and different surfaces, as well as ease of processing.

Exhibiting at the 1967 plastics trade fair in Düsseldorf, Röhm & Haas, the company that invented PLEXIGLAS® in 1933 and registered the brand, agreed: “Illuminated ceilings and partitions, bizarre display cases and artful functional models made of PLEXIGLAS® give many booths the finishing touch and have the intended impact on the audience, not just at the K 67 but at other fairs across the world as well.”

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A peek inside

Trade fair visitors then and now are mainly drawn by one thing – innovations. As a result, companies have always needed to present their products in the right light. Transparent models that made complex processes visible were a particularly popular way to do this in the 1950s and 1960s. After all, a transparent casing is essential if people want to see what is happening inside a machine. Creating models like this with PLEXIGLAS® is relatively simple, since the brand acrylic glass is easy to process and shape into any imaginable form. It is also lightweight and offers a distortion-free view of the inside – like in the transparent car made of PLEXIGLAS® that was an impressive visitor attraction at the IAA (International Automobile Exhibition) in 1969.

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