The Manama Collection
This is one of Winkreative’s clients, a new luxury watch and jewellery event in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. Winkreative commissioned me to devise and write a brochure for potential exhibitors, persuading them to come on board. There’s already a competing event in Manama but this client wanted to position itself as more prestigious, more polished and aimed at a more sophisticated consumer. That called for an understated, refined brochure design and an elegant tone of voice.
Heritage of Bahrain
The Ancient Greeks knew Bahrain as Tylos – the centre of pearl trading. Bahrain was at the crossroads of the ancient trade routes between east and west and its seas were blessed with the finest pearls in the world. Its historic wealth is apparent in the delicate wooden carvings and the intricate details that you can still see in the houses that grace the winding streets of old Bahrain. Today, it is the only country in the world that sells only natural pearls (anything synthetic is banned). It is a nation whose collective knowledge of the jewellery trade goes back more than two and a half thousand years.
Bahrain discovered oil in the 1930s. The first Gulf state to do so and the first to modernise, Bahrain is one of the most progressive, open and diverse nations in the Arab world. Its economy is the fastest-growing in the region – and the freest. When the country became independent in 1971, the government swiftly invested in tourism, the financial sector and, most significantly, culture. Today’s Bahrain is acknowledged as the cultural capital of the Gulf. It is home to countless galleries, a beautiful national theatre and a flourishing contemporary art scene.
Manama and its people
The capital of Bahrain, the ‘Place of dreams’ as its name means, has a cosmopolitan feel that reflects both its ancient and modern history. More than eight million tourists visit each year. They come mainly from neighbouring Gulf states to shop and enjoy Bahrain’s famously friendly, laid-back atmosphere. Manama offers visitors the best of both worlds – luxury shopping and modern architecture, but also a local culture that’s visible and thriving. There’s a cosmopolitan feel thanks to its trading history and its large immigrant population, and souks and old, traditional houses remain a feature of this colourful city.
A sense of enjoyment
While the scale of the exhibition hall is impressive, on another level it is decidedly human. Wayfinding will be designed around the customer’s experience and the zoning will be carefully thought-through to keep lines of sight clear. People will move easily from stand to stand, taking their time to browse, and pausing now and then for refreshment. Security, naturally, will be given utmost importance and we will make sure it is efficient and visible, but also unobtrusive and friendly.
A social event
Given that this will be a cultural event as well as a commercial one, we have put much thought into creating a generous social space inside the exhibition hall. A café and a library lined with books on jewellery and horology will be placed in an easily accessible spot that’s perfect for relaxing and people-watching. It will be a space that people gravitate to throughout the day to meet their friends, chat and rest between visits to the exhibition stands.