Fortunately, onsite congress activity is back, reuniting delegates from around the world to share the very latest innovations in their areas of expertise. This return to meeting in person has brought with it new scenarios and challenges when designing an event of this type.
With digital congresses, the concern was how to keep delegates engaged with the content on the screen and evoke meaningful networking opportunities. With the return to physical events, the focus is very much on offering delegates a fully integrated experience – where connecting with the content, the people, and the organization hosting the event is essential.
Now more than ever, it is necessary to create exceptional spaces that evoke an emotional response from the attendees and are integral to the congress experience itself.
It was the case of ESC Congress, the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology. 4foreverything worked closely with the association’s management to define the design of each of the designated zones, 4 in total: Global Community, Research Gateway, ‘The Zone’, and Meeting on the Go.
4foreverything worked on a design that would give continuity to all the spaces in order to create a coherent image.
A common element linked all the main spaces (Research Gateway – reserved for presentations of medical papers and ‘The Zone’ – reserved for holding different conferences). In this case, it was about the lines that represent an electrocardiogram made with giant fabrics hanging from different points of the ceiling that ran throughout these areas.
The Global Community, an area for institutional members exhibiting at the congress was developed using the hemoglobin structure as a constructive concept as a basis for developing the design and distribution of its spaces. This area was designed taking into account graphic elements that represent how this protein transports oxygen to the tissues, through different substructures and a central core.
This space was distributed across different sections, separated by streets and paths made with tiles, with a presentation stage at its epicenter. Each of the sections combined open stands with spacious meeting and networking areas. Everything was designed using the same triangular modules that were used to construct the stands.
The delegates’ experience at the heart of the design
The objective of any congress is to foster relationships between attendees, the different exhibitors, and participants.
For this reason, when designing and planning the spaces, great importance was given to the creation of areas where communication was facilitated. In this sense, the designs proposed by 4foreverything allowed attendees to see and experience the entire area at a glance.
Strategic zones, such as information or service points, were located in the central areas for better visibility and access for attendees. The creation of open networking or rest areas also facilitated communication between attendees.
The designs were produced using natural materials and greenery to make the space attractive and pleasant and to leverage the sustainable positioning of the congress.
Networking areas, including a mix of long-stay rest and conversation areas, were created with low modular furniture that visitors could move as they pleased to make seating combinations that worked for them.
In short, the design exercise carried out by 4foreverything for ESC Congress 2022 made it possible to respond to the main challenge of the organizer, generating spaces based on a concept that gives personality to the event and that constructively improves the engagement of those attending it.