Turkish Telecom displayed a 41,000sq-ft. trade show booth at CEBIT (an international trade show for information technology, telecommunications, software, and services) Eurasia 2008 on October 12 in Istanbul. Creating a world where visitors were completely encompassed, including a live stage for performances, the booth also had to incorporate partner companies, Avea and TTNET, showing unity but allowing each to maintain its own brand identity.

Istanbul-based The Partners, known for coordinating and promoting large events and festivals, designed and built the booth. CEO Firat Kasapoglu explains, “When it comes to trade show booths, most companies will go directly to an architectural firm. We said, ‘Okay, if you want a show, you can't do it with architects. Come to the show people.’”

Kasapoglu adds that it was likely the largest single trade show booth ever built by one company “at least for sure in Turkey or the Middle East region, possibly the world,” he says. “For the build, we had 1,200 people working at night and 1,000 working during the convention.” The crew built the booth in 15 days and loaded out in just three.

Procon Event Engineering of Germany supplied lighting equipment, including 30 GLP Impressions, 24 Martin Professional MAC 2000 Wash units, 46 MAC 2000 Spots, 50 1kW Fresnels, 100 2kW Fresnels, and 100 ETC Source Four ellipsoidals, controlled via two MA Lighting grandMA consoles (one as backup) and two NSPs. Programming was done by Timo Kauristo. The lighting equipment alone required 18.6 miles of cabling.

For video, Barco OLite 510 tiles — 12,800 of them — created a 450'×10' curved perimeter in a U-shape hanging 16' above the ground. Two Green Hippo Hippotizer HD Version 3 media servers fed a variety of content to the massive screen.

Peppe Tannemyr and Lennart Wahlin were responsible for video content. “We divided the screen into five sections, A through E, based on resolution,” says Tannemyr. “We only used two servers for the entire screen, one for sections A, C, and E, which were higher resolution screens, and another for sections B and D. We needed the HD format even though the screens were low res. Once we stitched up the pieces, you couldn't tell where one section ended and another began. It was perfectly fluid.”

Sweden-based Per Sundin was the lighting designer for the booth, and Ola Melzig was brought in as production manager. “We have had a relationship with Per and Ola since the 2004 Eurovision Song Contest here in Istanbul, and we've done a lot of projects together since then,” says Kasapoglu.

“The mission was to make the Turkish Telecom booth another world you walk into — to show people the way into this world,” says Sundin. “That was the reason for the giant video wall and the sheer size of the space. We created different moods, built like a studio. We changed the mood all the time. It depended on what was happening on the stage, but still business needed to go on as well. Lighting went all the way out to the corners so the stage appeared wider and bigger.”

Sundin achieved the looks in advance using Cast Software Wysiwyg R22, about which he says, “The beams are incredibly real, especially with color mixing and focus adjustments. It was very important to accurately see the lighting in advance to get all the looks right, balancing the ambient light levels with the large video screen and the stage lighting for the different performances.” Stage performances included comedy, theatre, musical groups, soccer teams, and celebrities. Small breaks were scheduled between acts to allow visitors to look at products.

Typically, ground supports are not one of the highlights of a production, but they were in this case. Three-quarters of a mile of truss was used in the ground support alone and another one-quarter mile just in support legs/towers, for a total of 38 towers. The ten center towers had more weight and required an additional motor, bringing the grand total to 48 one-ton motors. “It had to be one of the biggest ground supports in the world,” says Melzig. There were no rigging points from the roof, as “the trade show organization doesn't have an office that can look at the rigging plots and say yes or no, so it's more economically feasible to say no,” adds Melzig.

The team managed to get the entire structure up on schedule. “This was my first production working with the Procon team, and I was extremely impressed,” says Melzig. “After a few days, we were actually ahead of schedule.”

The booth ended up hosting more than 160,000 visitors in its 16 meeting rooms, three cafés, 60 product stands, a smart home, and many other utility areas. Project leader Omer Lufi Diri from Turkish Telecom comments, “It fulfilled every wish we had, and we're already looking forward to topping this next year.”