OTC = Off The Chain
The mood at last year's Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) was marred by news reports of a a little leak in the Gulf of Mexico associated with an offshore drilling platform. One year later, the world's largest annual oil and gas event is back in Houston — and more confident than ever.
With a renewed focus on safety, the 2,385 represented companies hailing from 40 nations are making it clear that the industry is open for business.
OTC is expected to draw an estimated 72,000 visitors and companies employ smart design to lure them to their respective booths. Ranging from the bold red of Halliburton and KBR to the airy blue and orange signs that identify the Norwegian delegates, the scene at Reliant Park is nearly as much a feast for the eyes as it is an idea and business exchange.
Consider the vibrant setup of Dutch offshore platform fabricating and operating company, Heerema. Taking a page from the Netherlands' De Stijl movement (think Piet Mondrian's geometric compositions of primary colors and abstract lines), the booth presents gigantic diagonal blue, red and yellow-hued bars, arranged like monumental pick-up sticks as they hoist an animated advertisement. Indeed, it's difficult for the passerby not to enter Heerma's lair, at which point one will notice that the design is actually composed of lacquered oil pipes, a reference to the company's role in construction.
Representatives from Heerma's Leiden office report that the design is new for this year, expressing that they wanted a booth as innovative as their company. Below the assemblage, visitors can mingle in a score of mod, womb-like chairs.
Although the conference's indulgences usually carry more negative connotations — boozy nights, sexual excess — local and international aesthetes can take pleasure in the 568,000 square feet of design delight, on view through Thursday.