Modular exhibition stand

By | 05/09/2014
Stacked boxes with storage

Stacked boxes with storage (Photo: Thomas Winther)

I made a modular exhibition stand system. It’s highly flexible and can be used for building display, storage and seating facilities. It’s sturdy, requires no tools for assembly and uses no hard-to-find spare parts. And it looks good, too (he said, modestly)!

The concept, which was thought up by the great guys at Ren Reklame (Norwegian website) when Oikos wanted to replace their old, worn exhibition stand, is deceivingly simple: Stackable boxes.

More specifically: Boxes, measuring 50*50*50 cm, with one side panel open. These were to be stacked in various configurations, the box dimensions allowing for quick assembly of stands of a decent size. The open side means the interior of the box can be used for storage or display, depending on which way it’s pointed.

Boxes stacked arranged like a counter

Standard counter configuration, with display niches. Or storage, depending on which way the counter faces. (Photo: Thomas Winther)

Boxes stacked as a wider counter, with various objects on display

A more elaborate configuration (Photo: Thomas Winther)

Two boxes stacked

A tall table or small counter with storage (Photo: Thomas Winther)

One box with a pillow on it

A stool (Photo: Thomas Winther)

I helped further develop the concept, figured out a good way to connect the boxes, made the production drawings and milled out the parts. Then I got some excellent help from Ida at Oikos, who assisted me with the sanding, gluing and staining of the boxes to keep costs down.

The boxes are pretty stable and sturdy by themselves when stacked, but a system for connecting the boxes was needed for added safety and more configuration flexibility. The solution for this was 4 precisely matched holes in every box side, allowing for bolt-and-wingnut assembly no matter which way each single box pointed.

Closeup of a bolt and wingnut holding boxes together

Closeup of a bolt and wingnut holding boxes together (Photo: Thomas Winther)

For some added finesse, I milled out a bolt head shaped pocket around each bolt hole. This pocket holds the bolt in place while the wingnut is tightened by hand.

Closeup of bolt holder hole

Closeup of bolt holder hole (Photo: Thomas Winther)

This same bolt system is also used for attaching signs or other paraphernalia to the boxes. Here’s the sign I made for the Oikos stand, at the boxes’ debut at this year’s Øya festival:

A logo sign for Oikos

The sign was made from thinner, stained plywood, with the logo milled 2 mm deep to expose the underlying material (Photo: Thomas Winther)

Since the boxes were supposed to withstand people sitting on them, I made them from 18 mm thick plywood. The final boxes are very sturdy, but also heavy enough that they would be uncomfortable to move around if the handle edges were sharp. So, I decided to mill a comfortable, two-sided bevel around each handle hole.

Closeup of a handle, with bevelled edges for comfort

Closeup of a handle, with bevelled edges for comfort (Photo: Thomas Winther)

The boxes and sign were stained with environmentally friendly stain from Biofa and Livos (both Norwegian websites), to let the wood texture show through. Since Oikos actually wanted the boxes to look a bit worn, we purposely did only one coating. Here’s a closeup:

Closeup of the stained wood

Closeup of the stained wood (Photo: Thomas Winther)


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