Redefining Trade Show Booths: Top Sustainable Stands at Light + Building

21st March 2024

The buzzword dominating conversations today is sustainability. As more brands commit to developing systems and products that are environmentally viable, the focus on sustainability is becoming increasingly more pervasive, even transcending into brands’ tradeshow initiatives. Messe Frankfurt has taken a proactive stance themselves in supporting sustainable events with the introduction of a new category in the DesignPlus Awards, honouring the best sustainable stands showcased at the event.

In our visits to Light + Building in recent years we’ve noticed the trend towards downsizing stands and downscaling grandiosity. However, what these stands may have lost in their physical size, they have gained in their positive impact. As observers, we were thoroughly impressed with the creativity and intelligence in many of this year’s efforts and have rounded up a handful of stands built with sustainability in mind.

Linea Light Group

Linea Light Group this year wanted its stand to reflect its environmental efficiency and newfound philosophy: “Nothing is thrown away, everything is regenerated”. The structure of the stand is completely reusable, helping ensure to reduce environmental impact, use of resources, and promote an ecological and sustainable approach. At the end of the exhibition, the stand will be completely recycled: the wooden parts of the structure will be recovered and reused, while the separating and covering tarpaulins will be given a new lease of life by being transformed into clutch bags.

In recent years Linea Light Group’s primary objective has been to extend the product range using fewer components in an initiative to improve environmental impact. Reducing the complexity of the production system simplifies supply chain management and reduces the time and costs. By optimising production processes, the same level of output can be produced with less raw material, resulting in greater efficiency and less waste. Ultimately, minimising waste and working towards sustainable production and products.


XAL was, in previous years, renowned at Light + Building for its elaborate and resource-intensive trade show booths, which previously required up to 25 trucks for transportation. However, at this year’s show the company radically downsized to just three trucks. Its booth design, conceived with sustainability and longevity as its core, was the result of collaborative efforts across departments, aiming for a stand that could serve a second life with durability in mind.

This approach included utilising non-cut, non-filled drywall panels to ensure their intact condition for potential reuse, repurposing transport crates as furniture inside the stand to reduce transport volume by 44% and prioritising reuse over constant recycling, exemplified by the repurposed kitchen from previous shows and modular, easily transportable bar and seating furniture made from undyed, interlocking cardboard. Additionally, existing furniture from past trade shows was also repurposed, while the carpet on the stand will go on to be installed in XAL’s Graz headquarter, or used as raw material for 3D printing.

By shifting from large stands to consciously designed, reusable structures, XAL sends a powerful message to the Light + Building followers: “Today, tomorrow and in the future”. Affirming its commitment to progress not just today but for the future and acknowledging its broader role within the context of humanity as more than just a lighting brand.

SGM Lighting

Continuing with the concepts around reuse, SGMlighting told arc most of the materials used for the stand were on at least their second to third use of at least four shows. Custom made by the in-house trade show team, all the materials were chosen to last for future-use purposes after the trade show.

The choice to be sustainable is a commitment and SGM’s seriousness towards that commitment is exemplified by including it as part of the company’s internal policy to create sustainable booth designs. The sustainability initiatives at trade shows are there to reflect the company’s approach in product development, to reduce emissions and waste wherever possible. SGM admits the design behind the stand is not just environmentally responsible but economically sensible. SGM says it prides itself on being able to offer sustainable and durable solutions, something that is quintessential when representing the company at Light + Building.