RTH at Paris Air Show

Delivering eight complex projects on-site for five satisfied clients

RTH at Paris Air Show

Delivering eight complex projects on-site for five satisfied clients


United Technologies Corporation, Embraer, Boom Supersonic, Cobham plc, Barnes Aerospace




  • Design
  • Build
  • Project management
  • Warehouse
  • Logistics
  • Management of third party suppliers
  • Event management

Some experience, you just can’t buy… but you can when you hire RTH

Some experience, they say, you just can’t buy. But that’s not the case if you’re commissioning a prestigious exhibition display. RTH has 30 years of experience at the Paris Air Show. And that experience is precisely what our clients who were exhibiting there in 2019 bought from us.

As we’ll share with you, it ensured them quality, it saved them worry and it yielded them some truly show-stopping displays.

The Paris Air Show 2019, which ran from 17 to 23 June, was the 53rdoccasion it had been staged. All the great and the good in the aviation industry attended. There were thousands of exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of trade and public visitors.

RTH was looking after eight projects for five clients at this show. We had fifteen members of staff in attendance, in addition to a small army of contractors whom we were project managing. The scope of our work ranged from an 85 square metre stand to a 1,260 square metre chalet. And just about everything in between.

We designed and built a bespoke beer tap made from an air-to-air refuelling nozzle, aviation technology that our client Cobham originally invented. We constructed dozens of plush meeting and conference rooms fit for hosting global aviation executives in a series of pavilions and chalets. We built an inspirational museum in the clouds to celebrate 50 years of Embraer innovation. And much, much more.

With so much going on we’ve highlighted five areas to illustrate to you how our decades of involvement at the Paris Air Show have led to great experiences and results for our clients.

Choosing trade show display suppliers – they really do matter

Being able to call upon a network of trusted suppliers is key to delivering successful exhibition displays. And with our 30 years’ experience at the Paris Air Show and numerous other events around the world, we have a little black book of suppliers that is a treasure trove of valuable connections.

From audio visual (AV) technicians to building-wrapping contractors, caterers to cleaners our partners are an essential part of our value proposition to you. They help us deliver the stands, chalets and pavilions to the high specifications our clients demand.

An example of the fantastic work our suppliers do can be seen with the audio visuals. In one chalet in Paris, the powerful computing tower the client had brought along to operate a vital virtual reality (VR) display failed two days before the show. It turned out it had been damaged in transit. Our project managers snapped into action, working with our AV suppliers to find a solution. Not having the VR was not an option.

Because our suppliers have a strong presence on the site, they were able to source a suitably specified machine from another display which had been surplus to requirements. The problem was solved within hours and it meant that the client could sleep easy that night. It is not only knowing which suppliers to choose, but having the relationship with them so that we can pull out all the stops when required.

The same AV suppliers worked with us across our projects installing a diverse range of equipment, from the largest touchscreen of its type in the world, to stunning LED walls and curved LED pillars.

Exhibition display builds: starting early, finishing early

Having worked at Paris and other major air shows for so long, we know every play in the book for ensuring our clients enjoy a quality experience. One approach that is indicative of this is starting and finishing the build early.

We’ll actually pay a premium to the site to get early access, and the benefits to our clients of doing this cannot be overstated. First, it builds in a little slack to the project to deal with any unexpected turn of events, but this is not our primary motivation.

Because we start early, we finish our builds well before the show begins. This means our clients can come on site and have a chance to review our work in good time for final adjustments to be made. This is a calm, considered walkthrough that sets clients’ minds at ease as they see everything come together.

The contrast to a chalet managed by another firm pushing their build to the time limit, is marked. Stressed out clients and contractors, not to mention the project managers; little to no opportunity to make adjustments; and the risk of an element not being completed satisfactorily.

The other benefit of finishing early is that, should you choose, you can start to use your asset early. This gives you a valuable extra day or two of use on top of what is a very short-term, temporary build. Whether it is giving your staff a dress rehearsal and letting them enjoy the facilities, completing some valuable media work or something else. At Paris, two clients’ chalets were a hive of activity the day before the show opened, with filming, catering and tours in full swing.

Understanding the site regulations of trade shows

Paris 2019 gave us ample opportunity to add value to our clients with our knowledge and experience of the site regulations. These include health and safety rules and practical points, like understanding where responsibility lies for a boundary wall between chalets.

The biggest material impact this was able to yield was in the design of the two pavilions we worked on. While we are all grateful for the rigorous health and safety regulations that keep us safe, they can restrict a client’s ambitions for their designs. On an initial inspection, you’d think the regulations at Paris would not permit a suspended ceiling in the pavilions. But we’ve been around the block and know how to come up with a design which satisfies health and safety rules, whilst providing the client with elegant suspended ceilings.

These small points all add up to making a big difference.

Runners, and finishing touches to your trade show exhibits

With operations as complex as those our clients are running, there will inevitably be snags. So in the build-up and during the event we’ll manage a team of runners to take the stress away from you. We know that this is an essential part of our service, alongside our design and build functions.

At this point, we are the eyes and ears for our clients – noticing issues before they do. This includes spotting the minor actions we can take to provide that extra sheen. Sometimes literally some “extra sheen” with one of our project managers buffing up a hand rail. But also noticing when the pot plants need some care and attention or if the bathrooms would look better with chrome soap dispensers.

And then there are the things that our clients forget, or break or lose. It’s really not surprising given the amount they will have set themselves to do. So we are there for them.

“We need three new lightning cables to keep the display iPads charged.” No problem, our man in a van will add it to his daily shopping list. “On reflection, we would like that big vase and flowers you suggested earlier.” Consider it done. We’ll get them over to you within 30 minutes!

Transforming exhibition display design into build

Some clients will involve other creative agencies in various aspects of project delivery – particularly the design. We do, of course,  work well with other agencies, but we also have a complete design function in-house which is optimised for the temporary structures used in exhibitions.

This means that we understand from the outset what can be achieved within, for example, budget and site regulations. Our work at the Paris Air Show 2019 raises one or two good illustrations of the value which our combination of design and build experience brings to clients.

One of our larger projects was designed by architects, rather than our in-house design team. The concept was stunning, and the client loved it – but it was not practical within the scope of a temporary build. Much discussion was had, and we were able to work with the architect to evolve the design into something that worked for a temporary exhibition.

Examples of how this was achieved include adding ambient lighting to complement the bright LED wall which originally was to be entirely relied upon for lighting a large room that had no natural light. How would anyone otherwise see at times when the screen went black? And fire regulations meant that the building required lit exit signs.

The ceiling was originally specified as glass mirror. This heavy and expensive material would have weighed on the budget as well the structure’s load capacity. It would have been a health and safety risk too. We were able to retain the mirrored effect but bypass all these problems by using an extremely light-weight mirrored stretch fabric.

Moving to another build project on the site, this too had ceiling load complications to overcome. For aesthetic reasons our client did not want support pillars throughout their exhibit. This significantly limited the load that could be put through the ceiling. The attractive gloss black oval ceiling features which were to accent the exhibits would ordinarily be constructed from solid, weighty materials. We again were able to design and build them with a light-weight fabric that appeared to be made from a sturdy material.

See what our 30 years of experience at air shows and other exhibitions can do for you

With all this experience and knowledge behind us we delivered each of our projects ahead of time and to specification. And with onsite support during the show, it all means that our clients can focus on achieving their objectives from the exhibition, knowing that they are in safe hands.

Choosing RTH for your trade show is to choose experts. Designers, engineers, carpenters, logistics managers, contractors and project managers who are all specialists in what they do and really care about your success at the exhibition. Choosing RTH is to buy trade show experience that is hard to match anywhere else.

If you could benefit from our knowledge and experience when you next exhibit, please get in touch

email us