On Saturday, November 3, 2018, we attended our first ever trade show. The Manitoba Filipino Business Council (MFBC) invited us to take part in the one-day event, which featured several local Filipino and non-Filipino businesses. Taking place at Petrus Hall, the event consisted of a business-to-business networking session, presentations throughout the day, and the public trade show. Attendees consisted of students, professionals, job-seekers, and the general public.

Our Booth

To our surprise, the MFBC generously provided us with two adjacent booths to set up our display. We decided that our booth should give visitors a sense of what it's like to be in our office. We ended up bringing three-quarters of our office furniture with us, which made for a difficult, but effective, set-up. On one side of the booth was our living room/lounge area, which featured two Eames rockers (thanks Charlotte), a mid-century coffee table, a credenza, and an iMac to show off our new website (expertly crafted by Verda Design). Closing off one end of the lounge area were two pin-up panels, on which we displayed several of our current projects to give visitors a sense of our design process. We were lucky to have Just-In Couture set up behind us, since they brought a large white curtain that added to the ambiance of our lounge. The other half of our booth mimicked our work area and consisted of a vintage rug, four tables, and eight Eames side chairs. This is where we ran our "5-minute LEGO® Design Challenge" and demonstrated what we do and how we work. We received a good amount of positive feedback on our booth, including comments on the effectiveness, eye-catching set-up, and interactive components. Although there was quite a bit of heavy lifting involved, we decided that we would definitely be willing to do this set-up again.

Manitoba Filipino Business Council Trade Show Booth - Work Area
Manitoba Filipino Business Council Trade Show Booth - Lounge
Manitoba Filipino Business Council Trade Show Booth - Panels

The 5-minute LEGO® Design Challenge

Visitors to our booth were asked to take part in our Design Challenge (thanks to Maribel for the great concept). Each person was given a bag of LEGO®, consisting of more than 50 pieces, from flat, to block, to specialty. The challenge was to randomly pick one of our business cards from a bag and design the item identified on the card, all within five minutes. The list of items included:

  • Dress/pants
  • Chair/bench
  • Musical instrument
  • Cellphone case/holder
  • Flower vase
  • Trophy
  • Wallet/purse
  • Multi-tool
  • Superhero
  • Photo display/holder
  • Clock/watch
  • Dessert
  • Bike rack
  • Piggy bank
  • Rocket
  • Playground structure
  • Archeological tool
  • Shopping cart
  • Video game controller
  • Business card holder
  • Camera
  • Time machine
  • Carnival ride
  • Sushi
  • Food truck
  • Hat/helmet
  • Candy dispenser
  • Lamp
  • Kitchen appliance
  • Car

Throughout and after the challenge, we spoke with the participants to understand their process. This gave us a chance to explain what we do as designers and how we go about attacking design problems. For example, one participant noted that he did not have enough pieces to complete his design. This lead to a conversation about limited resources, whether they be financial, material, or human. Another person noted that she was struggling to come up with ideas and marvelled at the creativity of the children who were taking the challenge alongside her. This gave us the chance to describe our philosophies on creativity, noting that our firm is constantly seeking ways to find our way back to a time where ideas flowed freely. Overall, the Design Challenge was a great success, and we see a lot of value in repeating this project, perhaps in a classroom setting with children.

The process of preparing for the Design Challenge is one we'll never forget: hours spent in the LEGO® store at Polo Park, where the staff got to know us well and even threatened to put us to work, since we were spending so much time there filling canister after canister. We had the technique down to a science by our third try, utilizing every bit of space to maximize our take-home quantity. We ended up filling 14 canisters, before our fingers (and sanity) called it quits. Counting and sorting, and then re-counting (due to Joseph's momentary lapse of concentration) took more than an evening, with over 10,000 pieces to go through (thanks to Jen for the additional help, even after Joseph swore we didn't need any). 

We still have several bags left, so if anybody is interested in taking the challenge, come by the office!

Manitoba Filipino Business Council Trade Show - LEGO Design Challenge
Manitoba Filipino Business Council Trade Show - LEGO Design Challenge
Manitoba Filipino Business Council Trade Show - LEGO Design Challenge
Manitoba Filipino Business Council Trade Show - LEGO Design Challenge

CBC Panel

At 1:30, there was a CBC Panel discussion with several of the business leaders who were in attendance at the Trade Show. This included representatives from Delight Digital, RBC, Be.YOU.tiful, and Just-in Couture, as well as our very own Paulo Castillo (who stepped in last minute, in place of Joseph, who was fighting a cold). The panel discussed everything from inspiration to stewardship, and Paulo fielded questions from the CBC moderator about our practice and how we show support for the Filipino community here in Winnipeg. 

The discussion gave us the opportunity to tell people a little bit about who we are, where we came from, and where we think we're going as a company. Paulo did an awesome job delivering our message and telling our stories. We're so proud! Thank you to the CBC moderator for an excellent talk and thank you to the MFBC for inviting us and giving us the opportunity to gain some valuable exposure. Thank you to Mabuhay TV for the screenshot below:

Manitoba Filipino Business Council Trade Show - CBC Panel

Our most sincere gratitude!

Thank you to the Manitoba Filipino Business Council for producing a wonderful event. In particular, thank you to Dale Voluntad, President of the MFBC, for inviting us to take part in the trade show and CBC panel discussion. Your hard work and generosity are sincerely appreciated!

Thank you to all the business representatives and visitors who came to our booth to introduce themselves and chat with us about Play. We made some excellent connections and look forward to collaborating with many of you in the future.

Thank you to everybody who took part in our Design Challenge. We hope you had fun!

Thank you to Mabuhay TV and Judianne Jayme for interviewing us.

Thank you to Jayson Mariano from Robot Age Media for capturing our day and spending the day with us. And thank you so much for helping us take down our booth. You certainly made our jobs easier. We're looking forward to seeing another great video from you and to collaborating on another project! And hopefully, next year, you'll have a booth right beside ours!

Most of all, thank you to our families for your support and help! We love you!

MFBC Trade Show