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Baselworld - Interview with Michel Loris-Melikoff

Baselworld Interview with Michel Loris-Melikoff

We spoke with the Managing Director of Baselworld on the Community District, the new exhibition space that will make its debut at Baselworld 2020.

A few days ago, Baselworld’s management announced a new exhibition space for the fair’s next edition (read our article), which will be held from 30 April to 5 May 2020. We wanted to know more and asked Michel Loris-Melikoff to divulge some details. We will also be speaking with Stéphan Waser, CEO of Maurice Lacroix, in the not-too-distant future, who just announced the brand’s return to Baselworld in the Community District. 

How is the Community District better than a regular booth in terms of responding to the specific needs and demands of certain watchmakers?

After listening to many watch companies over recent months, it became clear that, for some of them, building and dismantling a multi-level booth every year, and having to come up with different creative variations each time, represented an investment of cost and effort that, in some cases, was too high for them to absorb, particularly for the mid-sized brands.

On the strength of this dialogue, we are proposing a turnkey solution, which is very competitively priced because of the economies of scale it offers. Baselworld builds the booths, and the companies customise them. It’s completely new. It makes things easier for them and reduces the effort involved, which also enables them to focus more on their commercial priorities. 

These new booths also give our exhibitors maximum flexibility, because they can modify the size of their presence from one year to the next, according to their current circumstances. We hope that this open exhibition concept will inspire many other brands in their individual constructions, and transform Baselworld into a genuine experience for all of its many audiences.

Where will it be located?
The Community District will be at the end of the central aisle of Hall 1.0, offering great visibility to all the exhibitors.

Interview de Michel Loris-Melikoff

© Baselworld

What is your objective in terms of the number of brands exhibiting in the Community District for the coming year? 
We are building and marketing them in modular fashion. We will begin this year with fewer than 10 brands. We have been pleasantly surprised to see that some exhibitors are already asking to expand, because the pricing is very competitive for a quality presence worthy of the neighbouring brands with their individual booths.

Maurice Lacroix has already confirmed it will be there – have any other brands expressed an interest? 
Yes, and we will be giving priority in this new space to former exhibitors from Hall 1.0, as well as brands with an established international presence and prestige. We can reasonably conceive of expanding the concept within Hall 1.0, but also into Hall 1.1 from 2021.

Is this initiative also intended to bring the brands that set themselves up in Basel hotels during the fair into Baselworld itself? 
Not directly. We are offering turnkey solutions to meet the needs of all brands, including the longstanding Baselworld brands, which is who we are focusing on in the first instance. For the brands exhibiting outside the fair, we have other proposals such as the Incubator, a new take on the Watch Gallery, and other solutions that combine space rental with rental of prefabricated booths.

Could we say that the Community District as an exhibition space fits somewhere between the Incubator and the regular booths? 
Not really, because the quality of the constructions and the dimension of the exhibition surface, which is between 100 and 300 m2, mean that they are really only intended for established brands. Hall 1.0 is a major showcase of the exhibition, and we in no way want to lessen this image. We simply had to come up with pragmatic solutions to reduce the investment required, by sharing the costs. At the end of the day, it’s a responsible approach that addresses the economic reality of many brands, who now need to engage in more activations while operating within the same financial constraints.

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