Arts & Architecture Pop-up | bookstall reinvented



Art and architecture books are still a cult affair. Both the visual and haptic stimuli and the richness of the content inspire new and old generations of readers. The role of the book in today’s society is unquestionable. However, the position and visibility of the book are indeed questionable.


We want to bring the book closer to the interested user. But who is “We?” The publishers Birkhäuser, JOVIS, Deutscher Kunstverlag and De Gruyter Arts have recently joined forces and created a new arts and architecture cluster that assumes a strong position within the professional and scholarly discourse. We, the publishers’ cluster, want to actively approach more interested readers and convince them of the value of our books. 


How can we – the publishers – reach a broader public and initiate a dialogue? How can we increase our presence and access more (unconventional) locations? What synergies with other uses or spaces could then emerge?





For the Arts & Architecture Pop-up design challenge, competition participants are tasked with designing the detailed concept for a novel pop-up bookstall system, which is set to be launched at the world’s most famous book fair in Frankfurt in October 2020. However, the display system must be compatible with various subsequent locations as well.

Our cluster is looking for a future-oriented concept of a dynamic and flexible display system, based on a clever, sustainable, and user-friendly design. How do you envision an innovative book display system? You have the unique chance to influence the visibility of these four highly important publishers and to shape and carry their message to the public.






The exhibited content, materiality, and execution of the pop-up stall depict our future- oriented vision. For this competition, participants are challenged to work with a specific innovative material – the perfect match for our ambitions. The HONEXT panels are a high-end reclaimed material for circular living, created entirely from cellulose waste. This is the main material to work with. For us, “low-cost” and “low-tech” are important concepts, intended to create added value.


We want to travel the world! The stall needs to pop up everywhere. Therefore, it must be easily transportable (ideally with a private car, a suitcase may be too small...). Storage costs are obsolete, we want to keep it on the move. In addition, the pop-up system is intended primarily for the display of printed content. Consequently, the display of any digital content is considered an exception (and should be justified), since we cannot depend on a permanent electricity source.


The perfect occasion to launch the pop-up display system is the Frankfurt book fair in October 2020. The exhibition area for the publisher’s cluster comprises 8,00 x 2,00 m, freely accessible on at least three sides. We usually display around 200 books. However, beyond the book fair, we want to be present in as many locations as possible from now on. This means that the dimensions/magnitude of the display system must be adaptive. We want to use the pop-up stand in smaller areas as well, or for the display of a reduced collection of books.


No specialized staff and complicated tools are needed for assembly and disassembly. Think of a student or a fair employee in charge of putting the whole system together within 30 minutes. It is vital that your design can be adapted and applied to multiple locations and is suitable for both the proposed and other potential layouts.



Already interested? Download full competition brief for more information. The competition is open to all, both students and professionals.





Please submit your designs by March 18, 2020 via e-mail to:
Do you have questions? Please submit them by February 14, 2020 to:





1st Prize books worth 1500€ from the entire portfolio of the publishers’ cluster
2nd Prize books worth 1000€ from the entire portfolio of the publishers’ cluster
3rd Prize books worth 500€ from the entire portfolio of the publishers’ cluster
Mention books worth 200€ from the entire portfolio of the publishers’ cluster

Beyond the material prize, you will gain great publicity, as the winning design will be disseminated on several professional channels.



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Photo by Lysander Yuen on Unsplash