We’ve been working with neon (or for full disclosure - an LED alternative to neon) for a couple of years now, and have worked on some amazing projects, whilst discovering some brilliant uses of it in different situations.

One of the common misconceptions we came across, is that neon is too difficult to deal with in an exhibition environment, and perhaps it was only suited to retail & interior environments. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and we’d like to share some examples of neon (or neon-style) lighting implemented in exhibition & event situations.


Framing

Exhibition Neon Display

The first, most common use for neon outside of signage, is as a framing tool. Its natural glow attracts the eye, and can be used incredibly effectively as a surround for product displays and high profile items. We came across the ‘Time Tunnel’, which utilises a standalone display area and horizontally suspended neon squares to surround featured products. The brilliance of this display is that due to the glow of the neon, a virtual floor & ceiling is created, giving the floating effect that is the natural draw of the display.
 

Used in a more direct way (and on a much grander scale!), the “Astronomy Domine” installation surrounds Henri VI’s statue, providing a direct source of light and a framing tool to attract attention. Used on a smaller scale, this application of neon would work incredibly well, especially in an event space where there are multiple visual cues at any one point, so creating a product surround of high intensity light would be a welcome focus point.

 

Standalone displays

Exhibition Neon Display

One of the most inspirational events we’ve seen features neon-style linear lighting integrated into a modular framework, for the “Serpentine Pavilion Intervention”. An incredible structure created on a huge scale, with different level heights for each cube section.

The clever part of this display comes in two parts; the integration of the lighting & the programmed effects. The lighting is integrated into the channel of each profile throughout the structure, which when viewed in context from a distance displays a large glow, giving a ‘lightning’ effect. Programming the lighting itself doesn’t present a great challenge, however creating the effects is more complex, which results in an amazing linear display.
 

Exhibition Neon Displays

The second display takes a much more simplistic approach, with equally breathtaking results. Creating two spheres, one mounted within the other, results in a display with multiple depths. Especially when combined with higher level lighting on the inner sphere, allows the user to configure different variations of display.

This type of display is perfect for event environments, especially where space is at a premium. In addition to this, complex lighting displays attract a high amount of sharing via social media and other channels, which is a key indicator for performance at exhibitions nowadays. 

 

Display

Exhibition Neon Displays

Perhaps the most common use of neon, especially currently at exhibition and events, is as a signage or promotional tool. We rarely see neon in any other setting than wall-mounted, and our first example challenges this. 

Created for the Tate, this is a curved, ceiling hung neon display spelling out “In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni”. Neon used in this way looks brilliant, and has been produced using simple ceiling hung wire cables, four of which carry electrical power. Although using traditional neon might present a challenge, the new LED derivatives are much easier to control, with the capability of being manipulated into different shapes, as well as mounted into a huge range of custom boxes/back panels/even simply displayed alone.

Our final example combines a framing effect as we discussed earlier, clearly marking the entrance to the exhibition stand, and displays integrated into the side of the exhibition stand. Simple linear illumination can be used around the perimeter of the stand, however the display to the side is more complex, with the illumination mounted within the wall itself. This is something that can only be created with the new variation of neon, with a coated acrylic panel integrated into a backlit display.