A room with atmosphere


Event organisers not only expect a venue to offer excellent facilities and reachability, but also to provide the perfect backdrop for the occasion or theme.

All conference halls are much the same. Or are they? “Well, that depends,” says Stefan Lohnert, Vice President Guest Events at Messe Stuttgart. “Conference organisers are generally satisfied if the venue meets the basic selection criteria, such as excellent transport infrastructure that ensures easy reachability, plus contemporary architecture and state-of-the-art conference technology. But when it comes to events, it's a different story. For an event, the room must meet additional criteria. It must create the right backdrop for the event, reflect the company’s values, present the product in an exciting setting, and so forth. Sometimes what's needed is a ballroom, or a party room, a stage for award ceremonies, a chill-out lounge – creativity knows no bounds,” he adds.

But that is often the crux of the matter. Not every organizer can look at an empty, unexciting conference hall and imagine the atmosphere he or she wants to create. But in fact, much can be accomplished with very little. Cleverly designed lighting can be enough to make rooms appear higher, wider, more elegant, create an atmosphere of well-being and literally place products in a different light. Spectacular effects can be achieved even on a small budget. With the addition of suitable décor, such as furniture, suspensions, strips of carpet or fabric panels, the look and feel of a room can be completely transformed. “We are often impressed by the imaginative ideas our customers bring to our event spaces,” continues Lohnert. ”Our largest congress hall in particular, hall C1 at the ICS International Congress Center Stuttgart, is a real chameleon. It hosts the exclusive ‘Best Cars’ award ceremony with 360 guests, and Messe Stuttgart’s New Year’s reception, numbering more than 1.600 guests, providing an extremely stylish ambience for each of these events.”

The ‘Best Cars’ ceremony is the responsibility of VISUELL Studio für Kommunikation in Stuttgart. The team led by Fabian Schöttle, VISUELL’s Creative Director for Scenography, used suspensions, eye-catching lamps and well-designed lighting to transform C1 into an elegant lounge with long tables. “For ‘Best Cars’ we transform the ICS International Congress Center into an automotive festival of lights. 60 individually controllable LED strip lights surround a 14-metre-wide screen, and 58 cube lights hover over the auditorium, each two-metre-high. These are more than just decoration: they play an essential role in setting the stage. In synch with the images on the screen, we control more than 200 light sources throughout the room to place the award winners in the right light,” explains Schöttle.

This was the superb backdrop for a ceremony in late January 2019 at which Motor Presse Stuttgart presented the major ‘Best Cars’ Readership Award of auto motor sport magazine to leading automotive players. Schöttle outlines the key benefits of hall C1 from an agency perspective:  “With its outstanding architectural features and multimedia technology, hall C1 offers enormous flexibility. This makes highly complex set-ups possible, such as for the ‘Best Cars’ award ceremony. “We hardly ever use hall C1 as a plain congress hall. We always think up something out-of-the-ordinary,” he says.

For the New Year's Reception in 2019, the planners at Messe Stuttgart decided to set up the stage down the long side. This gave guests a better view of what was happening on the podium. Hall C1 has also hosted exhibitors’ evenings with an authentic flavour on themes such as Oktoberfest or Heavy Metal. The catering and furnishings are always precisely tailored to the theme. If they wish, guests can play their part in conjuring up another world by dressing up in appropriate attire.

“What not many people know is that hall C1 is equipped with professional stage technology that’s the envy of quite a few theatres. The stage machinery, which includes more than 100 upper-machinery drives and 98 motorized stages, can be used to take guests on scenic journeys during the event. Just like it’s used in a theatre,” explains Philip Belz, Site Manager Congress ICS at Neumann&Müller, the service partner responsible for the equipment.

Hall C1’s infrastructure makes it possible to set up a control panel at almost any position, for lighting, sound and video. “This is often used when the stage is installed on the long side of the hall, as for the 2019 New Year's Reception, or when special constructions mean that the fixed control booths are obstructed by curtains. Other features of the technical infrastructure and permanent equipment enable us to meet almost any requirement,” stresses Belz.


GV_19_PM02_Picture_1: A simply beautiful conference room:  Hall C1 at Messe Stuttgart’s ICS can accommodate up to 5,000 people. (Photo provided by: Messe Stuttgart)

GV_19_PM02_Picture_2: At Messe Stuttgart’s 2019 New Year's Reception, the stage was set up on the long side of hall C1. This offered all guests the best possible view of the podium. (COPYRIGHT  MESSE STUTTGART)

GV_19_PM02_Picture_3: Elegant lamps gave the hall a festive ambience at Messe Stuttgart’s 2018 New Year’s Reception. (COPYRIGHT MESSE STUTTGART)

GV_19_PM02_Picture_4: Marquee atmosphere at the didacta exhibitors’ evening. (COPYRIGHT MESSE STUTTGART)

GV_19_PM02_Picture_5: The SWR big band and Max Mutzke on the big stage at Messe Stuttgart’s 2018 New Year's Reception. (COPYRIGHT MESSE STUTTGART)

GV_19_PM02_Picture_6: At the Structured Finance evening event, three screens allowed all guests to watch what was happening on stage. (COPYRIGHT MESSE STUTTGART)

GV_19_PM02_Picture_7: ‘Best Cars’ award ceremony with 60 individually controllable LED strip lights. (COPYRIGHT VISUAL)

GV_19_PM02_Picture_8: Stefan Lohnert, Vice President of Guest Events at Messe Stuttgart: “The room must create the right backdrop for the event, showcase the company’s values, and present the product in an exciting setting.” (COPYRIGHT MESSE STUTTGART)

GV_19_PM02_Picture_9: Fabian Schöttle, Creative Director of Scenography at VISUELL: “With its outstanding architectural features and multimedia technology, hall C1 offers enormous flexibility.  This makes highly complex set-ups possible, such as for the ‘Best Cars’ award ceremony.” (COPYRIGHT Johannes Eitelbuss)

GV_19_PM02_Picture_10: “What not many people know is that hall C1 is equipped with professional stage technology that’s the envy of quite a few theatres,” explains Philip Belz, ICS Site Manager with Neumann&Müller, the service partner responsible for technology. (COPYRIGHT Neumann&Müller)

GV_19_PM02_Picture_11: Ceiling sails and light helped to create a truly electrifying atmosphere for the eltefa exhibitors’ evening. (COPYRIGHT MESSE STUTTGART)

GV_19_PM02_Picture_12: Just like a big top: Fire is the element that symbolises Hagos, the association of tiled stove manufacturers. (COPYRIGHT Hagos eG/Niedermüller Photography)


About the ICS of Messe Stuttgart:
Ease of access, size and versatility: That’s what sets Messe Stuttgart apart. With total earnings of € 178 million and a profit of € 34 million, Messe Stuttgart is one of Germany's leading trade fair companies. Every year over 23,500 exhibitors present their products and services to up to 1.36 million visitors on a hall area of 120,000 square metres, on an outdoor area of 40,000 square metres and in around 33 rooms that offer flexible use in the adjoining ICS (International Congress Center Stuttgart). The location of the sustainably constructed trade fair and congress centre alongside Stuttgart Airport, with its direct links to the A 8 motorway and public transport offers perfect conditions for getting to and from the site. The ICS offers space for up to 10,000 visitors. Messe Stuttgart and the ICS are internationally acclaimed locations for top-class trade fairs, congresses and conferences, as well as corporate functions and events of all kinds.

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