Back in June, Adam Hall cut the ribbon on its brand new Experience Centre on the outskirts of Frankfurt, rolling out the red carpet for some 600-plus VIPs from across the event technology industry to take a look inside. Daniel Gumble spoke to Adam Hall Group CEO Alexander Pietschmann about what the new facility means for the company and its ongoing expansion…
'If you can dream it, you can do it'. These are the words that greet you upon entering Adam Hall’s sprawling new Experience Centre on the outskirts of Frankfurt (NeuAnspach, to be precise). The phrase – a quote from Walt Disney – is emblazoned in brightly lit lettering above a display of iconic rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia, in what is effectively a reception area-cum-mini museum. Adorning the walls are electric guitars and amplifiers belonging to all manner of rock’n’roll royalty, as well as artwork and signed lyric sheets from the likes of The Beatles and Rolling Stones. Needless to say, it makes a striking first impression, and one that stands very much apart from the somewhat more corporate aesthetic sometimes associated with such facilities.
In many ways, this opening gambit is designed to make a bold statement as to the work and experiences that Adam Hall and its stable of brands facilitate – that its all-encompassing event technology solutions are truly the nuts and bolts that whirr and grind behind the scenes of so much musical iconography.
Indeed, what lies behind the scenes at the centre itself is equally as impressive as the initial spectacle gracing its outward-facing quarters. The centre, the result of over €20 million investment, is spread over two adjacent complexes – the Experience Centre itself and the Logistics Park. Between them, Adam Hall has developed a hub that welcomes business customers and partners to ‘come together’ – a mantra regularly uttered by the firm’s figureheads throughout the launch event – to get up close with its full product catalogue, demo its assortment of technology in a fully equipped onsite venue and talk business with staff.
What’s more, it also houses the training and education hub for the recently launched Adam Hall Academy, which looks to train engineers and audio professionals in its complete range of solutions.
So what does the arrival of the Experience Centre mean for Adam Hall and its place on the global event technology solutions landscape? PSNEurope editor Daniel Gumble spoke to Adam Hall Group CEO Alexander Pietschmann to find out…
Just how much of a statement to the rest of the industry is this new Experience Centre?
In order to keep pace with today’s fast-moving, high-tech driven world, companies require bold courage, constant innovation and high customer-orientation. It also requires passion with a greater purpose. So in addition to building a platform that inspires innovation fuelled by customer orientation, the new Adam Hall Experience Centre is an outward expression regarding why we do what we do. It’s our mission to develop event technology solutions to enable more people to realise their creative ideas, amplify emotions and allow people to share great moments together.
We believe this philosophy reflects the passion shared throughout the industry as a whole. And because of this, we did not build the Experience Centre for us alone; it’s a place for the industry to come together to share, learn and exchange ideas. It was designed to serve as an open space for inspiration and creativity among industry professionals, customers, partners and employees alike. This greater industry-serving purpose and transparency already makes a statement on its own. When industry professionals come to the Experience Centre, it is our intention that they do not feel like they are visiting another company, but instead we designed the Experience Centere as a place you feel right at home.
What does the new facility mean for Adam Hall and its customers and clients?
In a word, transparency. Here customers have the opportunity to see our brands and product portfolio in the permanent showroom upstairs. And by way of the connected auditorium below, customers have the opportunity to experience our event technology as a solutions set. But more than simply see and experience our offering, we want customers to directly interact with our product managers and engineers so they can be a part of shaping the future development of our products and solutions – from pro audio to lighting to stage equipment and industrial parts. This is the best fuel inspiring innovation and hence the reason why we have placed our development department under the same roof.
What kind of impact will the new centre have on Adam Hall’s pro audio business?
Focusing on pro products, services and education, which continuously improve real-world human connections and experiences will be key for our future success. The new Experience Centre will play a significant role in enabling direct and personal interactions, as well as open and honest dialogues with our customers and users. From the auditorium, where we can demonstrate products in a solutions environment, to the various new R&D laboratories, including the large anechoic chamber, the Experience Centre is well equipped to ensure we can sustain further growth and continue to bring new innovations and product introductions to the marketplace for a long time to come.
Will the new facility have a knock-on effect on Adam Hall’s presence at trade shows, particularly Prolight+Sound given the close proximity between the locations?
Our trade show presence will continue to bear high importance for us. We are a company that strongly values personal relationships and our annual participation in more than 25 trade shows is not something we see decreasing.
And with regards to Prolight+Sound, this is our home turf, and we have built solid relationships with our Prolight+Sound colleagues in Frankfurt. Of course, the Experience Centre has only just opened its doors, so we are considering future possibilities at this stage given the proximity and the industry-oriented nature of the centre. We cannot say if and what will transpire at the moment, but with a shared sense of vision and purpose, anything is possible.
Why was now the right time to create this new space?
As we have been growing more and more internationally, our focus has been on creating showrooms across the globe, including Barcelona, Singapore, Poland, and New Jersey in the US. Now that we have established a global footprint of customer showrooms internationally, it was time to execute our plans to update the original customer showroom at HQ in NeuAnspach, just outside of Frankfurt.
In parallel, we were planning new facilities for our development department. We decided to combine the two in one overarching facility with innovation laboratories and offices for the R&D and product management departments on one side and a grand showroom and auditorium concept for customers and partners on the other side. Having both together in a shared space is a good way to foster ongoing dialogues with customers and keep the direct feedback loop to our engineers in motion. We even took this open exchange idea a step further and offer it as an open place for the industry to share, learn and exchange ideas surrounding event technology. This is why we call it the Experience Centre and not an innovation centre. Event technology creates experiences and that’s what it’s all about.
Tell us about the Adam Hall Academy and how it will benefit from the new centre?
We believe in ongoing education and certified training courses for our employees and for the industry. This is why we also added an educational component to the Experience Centre with the introduction of the Adam Hall Academy. Through partnerships with educational institutions, starting with the German Event Academy (DEAplus), we offer seminars for students and working professionals from all event technology sectors. The range includes certified training courses in areas such as lighting, sound, rigging, video and media technology. The new Experience Us Live section of our website provides more details for anyone interested. During the initial months between now and the end of the year, seminars are primarily offered in German, however we will be slowly expanding with courses also in English.
How much of a focus is training and education for Adam Hall today?
The concept was created out of a growing need and desire for our employees, as well as a wish from our customers primarily in the rental and install sectors and from MI retailers and industrial manufacturers. As we all can appreciate, a high-level of expertise and knowledge goes a long way in these professions. The training addresses numerous technical facets from the field and business-related ones as well, including leadership, sales strategy, account management and so on. While our focus will remain on the developing, manufacturing, and distributing of event technology solutions, training and education will become a growing integral part of our business looking forward.