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Why One Brand Built a Greenhouse Instead of a Trade Show Booth

The accessories brand Want Les Essentiels de la Vie took its wares outdoors, building a custom structure on a plaza outside menswear show Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy.

By Jim Shi January 19, 2015, 7:00 AM EST

Photo: Courtesy of Want Les Essentiels de la Vie

At Pitti Uomo, arguably one of the most important—and certainly one of the more stylish—men’s trade shows in the world, Dexter and Byron Peart found a way to leave a memorable impression on editors and retailers. For the past four years, the co-founders of the accessories brand Want Les Essentiels de la Vie have eschewed traditional notions of display to showcase their architectural bags, shoes, and small leather goods. In lieu of setting up a simple yet stylized booth within the main hall of the Florentine show’s cavernous structure, the brothers opted to create a unique experience. Collaborating with Montreal-based interior designer Maria Rosa Di Loia, they built a conceptual dwelling situated right outside the Fortezza da Basso at the Piazzale della Ronde.

“We wanted to create an interactive experience where our guests can understand our collections in a new way,” Byron said. Dexter added, “Our aim was to create an atmosphere that offers an entirely different emotion and ambience.”

Indeed, the eye-catching greenhouse-like showroom is reminiscent of a small residential home. The freestanding 9- by 22-foot structure is made of white pine and features multiple floor-to-ceiling glass panels—including a full glass roof. This year, matte black sheet metal was added—perhaps a nod to the galactic voyage theme melding science and technology.

The only downside, aside from the potential for overcrowding, is during the biannual trade show’s July edition, where the unforgiving summer sun’s rays can make for a toasty time for all.

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