Convention + Exhibition + Meeting |  Firm News

Creating the Venues of Tomorrow

Robert Svedberg, Principal, describes the importance of storytelling in public assembly design.

Robert Svedberg, tvsdesign principal, believes convention centers should tell a story. "One of the things we're doing with clients is understanding the destination story, and trying to tell that story in a very sophisticated way with the design of the building," he says. Doing so -- as tvsdesign recently did with Nashville's Music City Center -- invites residents to embrace the building, and provides a richer, destination-specific experience for attendees. "If you're investing this kind of money in one of these facilities, stepping back and looking at it as a brand exercise is essential," says Svedberg.

The Nashville facility's wavy roof recalls both the rolling hills of the region and the lyrical flow of music, conceptually speaking, Svedberg explains. To take another example, the design of Detroit's Cobo Center, an ongoing renovation on which Svedberg's team is working, employs forms and technologies from automotive design in the new exterior to give the building a sense of motion.

Destination officials have become far more interested in the subtleties of storytelling and the creation of a rich visitor experience than they are in immediately recognizable buildings, according to Svedberg. "We used to hear clients talk about iconic buildings," he recounts. "When we see RFPs now, we see the word unique a lot more than iconic. I think that's a really important shift. Sometimes you need the dramatic, iconic building as a sales tool, but what you need to stay top of mind is a really rich experience that is specific to each destination."

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