Just before the Destination & Travel Foundation’s Dinner and Dream Auction last week, the Convention Industry Council (CIC) cut the ribbon on its new Hall of Leaders Recognition Pavilion at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Previously a static display outside a ballroom a few flights up, the new pavilion is more of a destination, occupying a small, elegant lounge space along Walter E. Washington’s lower-level concourse where attendees can work, network — and learn about the meeting professionals who have been inducted into CIC’s Hall of Leaders via sharp interactive touchscreens that are now part of the exhibit.
The Hall of Leaders made its debut at the original Washington Convention Center some 30 years ago (pictured at left). And the same designer is behind both that first display and the re-imagined one that CIC unveiled last week: John Meyering, of Alexandria, Va.-based Archispherix, who specializes in event architecture. I chatted with John before the ribbon-cutting, and found that he was clearly delighted by the opportunity to revisit a project three decades later. In a follow-up email, he called it an “unusual example of continuity.” Indeed — and a time machine of sorts. Each of John’s designs is a product of its time, from the textured concrete and walnut plaques of the early ’80s to the sleek glass surfaces of today. It’s a comforting reminder that meetings and exhibitions themselves, as forward-looking and timeless as they aspire to be, offer a valuable snapshot of a single experience as it happened.