no/low budget, 100% reusable, 100% eyecatching

Ready, Munich

The economy of attention does not only apply to the media industry. At bigger trade fairs the courting for the limited absorption capacity of the visitors is just as important.

At the internationally renowned trade fair in the construction industry - the BAU 2013 in Munich – the trade fair stand „ready – prepared to build suitably for the elderly“ was introduced. The stand represented a research project which was organised by the Institute Housing and Design at the University of Stuttgart. A major challenge here was, that the stand did not have a concrete product it should provide a platform for, but was rather designed to present an abstract research topic to the visitors.

Apartments for co-aging

The research project lead by Prof. Dr. Thomas Jocher and Erika Mühlthaler is running under the auspices of the Federal Ministry BMVBS. It is geared towards the general topic of buildings suitable for the elderly as well as to the question of how to prepare apartments in order to allow them to adapt to changing demands when people are growing older.

“The economy of attention is not just in the media. At large trade fairs, taking on the limited capacity of visitors is at least as important an endeavor.”

Despite increasing importance in society due to the demographic development, the personal aging and living with increasing age is still a less attractive and deliberately avoided topic. This makes it even more important that the stand at BAU 2013 has to attract visitors and their attention by itself. Generating attention is the basic requirement. The stand is in obvious contrast to the usual extensively staged presentations from other businesses and firms.

The reduction to a single construction and design element, the reused EURO pallet, creates a striking homogeneous image. Its robust character separates the stand from the usual high-gloss surfaces we expect at fairs. A spatial structure made of vertically arranged triangular prisms, each composed of three pallets, forms a continuous wall which acts as a strong back. Conventional cable straps are used as the connecting element. The pallets are therefore not damaged and can be reused after the fair. Therefore, the construction realises the requirement based on the research topic to have a sustainable design. The floor is also made from pallets and becomes a platform that opens up to 3 sides. Moreover, the patchwork of different bright blue painted wooden chairs generously encourages the people to visit or just to relax.

100% eyecatching 

Detailed research results are difficult to present at a fair. The content carried over depends on the curiosity of the people and primarily wants to entertain. Short film sequences show older people in their apartments reporting about their current housing situation and their wishes and problems. The issue therefore is comprehensible and most people recognise situations within their own daily life and can therefore relate to themselves.

no/low budget

Responsible for the concept, the design, as well as the planning and supervision on-site were Tobias Bochmann and Katja Knaus from the Institute Housing and Design of the Architecture and Urban Planning Faculty at the University of Stuttgart. The project was developed and realised within a month and with a minimum budget of EUR 10,000. The interview films were created by students. The assembly and disassembly lasted a day each, again with participation of students from the Architecture and Urban Planning Faculty at the University of Stuttgart.

Project information


Munich, Germany

Project status



Institute for Housing and Design


Tobias Bochmann


Ann Sophie Wanninger