In order to offer exhibitors the best possible support, the Messe Friedrichshafen’s Technical Department, headed by our Division Manager Stefan Keller, stands on three solid pillars: Logistics & Service (Head: Gebhard Witt), Construction & Maintenance (Head: Roman Bodenmüller) and Technical Event Set-up (Head: Matthias Kohler). Today, we would like to introduce you to our Event Technology team – because without them, fair preparation doesn’t happen.
Before the trade fair planning really ramps up for the Technical Department, Messe Friedrichshafen’s event engineers are busy with sketches, drawings and technical lists. Their job is to implement the exhibitors’ wishes and plans as a service provider and service partner, and to coordinate the external trades so that afterwards everything is where it should be. “We make things possible that appear unachievable at first glance,” is how it’s summed by Matthias Kohler, Head of Technical Event Set-up who, together with his colleagues Theo Hoffmann and Mario Laubenberger is responsible for all event technology at Messe Friedrichshafen. Each of them is assigned to different fairs and they are familiar with the challenges presented by the various industries. “For AERO, we worked with the airport to move over 300 aircraft that had to be in place punctually in time for the start of the fair. Naturally, exhibitors and visitors should never realise that the weather sometimes causes us real problems here,” says Theo Hoffmann, talking about his experiences at the 25th AERO in 2017.
But it isn’t only the aircraft and special exhibitor wishes that present the team with real challenges each time: “This year we also had the AERO anniversary celebration with 900 guests at the Zeppelin Werft. I was the main contact there for artist, in-house technicians and external service providers.” A truly mammoth project alongside normal trade fair business – it takes strong nerves, particularly when on the day before the show starts, one’s mobile rings exactly 286 times, each call bringing a new problem. The in-house tradespeople often step in at this point as they are on site and can provide fast, straightforward help with regard to electrics, floor coverings, water pipes, painting work or carpentry.
The bigger the trade fairs the more professional the exhibitors. “At some small trade fairs for which we also handle stand and scenery construction, we sometimes have to hold inexperienced exhibitors’ hands a little so that everything works out right,” says Mario Laubenberger, Coordinator Technical Event Set-up. But then again, that is precisely what makes service at Messe Friedrichshafen so good: Solution-oriented, creative and committed, the technical team push out the limits of what’s possible. Every trade fair has its own charm and its own challenges, and that also goes for the KLASSIKWELT BODENSEE which celebrated its 10th anniversary at the exhibition centre from 19–21 May 2017. The Flying Bulls’ Lockheed P-38 stunt plane had to be brought here, for instance, for the airshow.
The technical team however also provided extensive customer care to the many small, semi-professional exhibitors who presented their products in the parts or traders’ hall. Making sure that everything not only runs smoothly, but looks good too, can be a challenge to the creativity of the event engineers. For example, for the OutDoor Trade Fair in June, Matthias Kohler, Head of Technical Event Set-up, came up with some very special highlights: “We turned huge wooden cable drums leftover from upgrading our air conditioning system into urban seating and a bar in the new “Lifestyle Collection” trend area. And we rustled up a rustic campfire space for the “HangOut Area”, to emphasise the feel-good atmosphere outdoors.” There are many great ideas – after all, the team looks after many trade fairs each year, and knows best what materials they have and what projects they have already implemented. That allows them to not only create trade fair structures that are unique, they are sustainable too.
Once everything is up and running and everyone is satisfied after the final inspection, the guys from the Technical Event Set-up Department can finally pause for breath. Until the next trade fair...