Welcome to another edition of Behind the C4, where we talk about what it takes to run an event that’s as big and awesome as C4! This month’s topic is Floor Plans and I’m here to give you a bit of an outline as to what goes into plotting and planning a floor plan for our events.
MAPS FOR 2015
The first thing we always look at when working with a new or existing venue is the fire regulations. A lot of our initial planning process involves going over the building diagrams (or in some cases going in and creating our own) and then looking at all the potential challenges (doors, pillars, partitions, drapes, bleachers, etc.) Some buildings are fantastic to work with and some pose some interesting challenges that require us to spend more time on a compatible floor plan. It all depends on the venue and the space we’re utilizing.
What Goes Where?
At our small shows this is simple because we set the room up with as many tables as we can fit in there based on the fire regulations, and inside the room we mix exhibitors and artists. In the lobby area we usually have clubs or charities set up.
At C4 however, we’ve played around a lot with where things should go and for the past few years attendees have seen a few different layouts but here’s our general thoughts on why certain things go in certain places.
The Exhibitor Hall is always closest to the loading dock. I mean because our Exhibitors are bringing merchandise onto the floor they have pallets, dollies and truck loads of things they have to get to their booth. For convenience we make sure the Exhibitor Hall is closest to the loading dock for easy access.
In 2015 our Exhibitor Hall will be staying exactly where it’s always been on the Third Floor of the Convention Centre.
The Artist Alley is always in an area that forces attendees to walk through it. It has moved a few times over the past few years, it started off in the middle, outgrew that, moved to beside Guest Alley, and then moved to the second floor. Either way, we put Artist Alley in a place where it will get attention from the fans.
In 2015 our Artist Alley is staying on the Second Floor of the Convention Centre.
Attractions generally fit in where there’s Exhibitor space that wasn’t rented, or on the loading dock. Admittedly, our plan for attraction is usually as filler for dead space we can’t use for anything else. In the past you’ve seen our Ewoks, Zombie Superheroes, Pop Culture Car Show, various other car displays, and wrestling fit into the attractions category.
In 2015 we will not have any special Attractions at C4. (Or at least we haven’t announced or planned any as of yet, this might change.)
Gaming has gone through the most changes in the past few years, but it’s always off to the side, or in a location that can be considered quiet so people can focus on playing games. It’s purposefully not included in the other exhibition areas because we don’t want people walking through the gaming tables, or you know, using them as a cafeteria space. For this reason we have often separated the Gaming with partitions, separate rooms, or even separate floors in the case of BaseLAN. We want Gamers to have a great experience and it’s not fun if there are shoppers traipsing through their gaming space while they’re trying to take over the world in Risk.
In 2015 BaseLAN returns to the Main Floor.
Clubs, NPOs and Charities have become a big part of what C4 is in the past couple of years and originally we used to create a Club Alley that was part of the Exhibitor Hall but we have found that giving them a space that showcases them better was something that worked for everyone. Last year we moved these groups out to each of the East and West Concourses and this was a perfect place for them.
In 2015 you’ll find Clubs, NPOs and Charities on the Third Floor in both East and West Concourses as well as on the First Floor in the East Concourse on your way to BaseLAN.
Guest Alley is always closest to the Hospitality Room, or it was until they demolished the hospitality room we had been using for years. Guest Alley is also in a location that looks nice, so often back dropped by pre existing convention centre drapes, or somewhere where we can control security and accessibility well. We also look at how easy it is for Guests to get to and from Guest Alley, and how close it is to our Q&A room, how close it is to the Celebrity Photo Ops Room. We want to make it as fool proof as possible for our Guests so that they can have breaks, get to their Q&A’s, Photo Ops and everything with ease and without having to tote them all over the convention centre to do this. We also put Guest Alley in an area where we can make room for line ups. This is why you’ll see our Headliners where we’ve had them, it’s the best possible location for us to control their long lines.
In 2015 Guest Alley will be on the Third Floor against the brand new partition to Hall C, opening up March, 2016.
Why does the Floor Plan change?
C4 is a growing event and we’re growing with you! Here are some reasons we’ve had to make changes to the floor plan in the past.
1. Fire Regulations – every C4 event, before we’re allowed to open the doors, the Fire Inspector has to do a once over. Sometimes he makes us move things, we always hope they’re minor, but until he’s happy, nobody can come in.
2. Construction – Artist Alley was pretty happy where it was, and we liked having it on the Third Floor, but when construction happened, we could no longer fit it up there, so we moved it. You’ll notice that the construction knocked off exactly 20,000 sq. ft. of the Third Floor, and the space we’re using to house Artist Alley on the second floor is just over 19,000 sq. ft. Perfect fit!
3. Trial and Error – okay so Wrestling Ring beside Guest Alley? Bad idea. We tend to learn from our mistakes, so you can be sure we won’t do that again.
4. Growth – when we merged with AYB, we really needed a bigger space to house all of the awesome they were bringing to C4. Concession stands? More of you meant more of you to feed, so the convention centre elected to expand to include a food court for your convenience. You grow, we grow with you!
I know right? We’ve already done a few walks throughs of the new space in various construction stages and we’re already looking at the floor plans to get an idea of what will go where. We’re going to attempt to fit everything on the Third Floor but we have a secret . . . we don’t think it’s big enough! C4 is growing so rapidly and we’re happy that the Convention Centre is expanding, but it looks like we’re going to burst at the seams and will use some of the second and possibly main floors of the existing convention centre for our 2016 event. Stay tuned as we unleash all the details next January!
Anyway, we hope this has given you some insight as to why C4 is laid out the way it is! Our 2015 Exhibitor and Artist Alley maps will be released at the end of August!
Until then, stay nerdy,
Your Friendly Neighborhood C4 Team