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Keywords:

  • economic geography;
  • cyclical clusters;
  • global circuits;
  • overlapping spaces;
  • trade fairs and exhibitions;
  • furniture industry

abstract

This article contributes to an understanding of temporary or event-based economic phenomena in economic and industrial geography by drawing on research conducted on the furniture and interior design industry. It argues that trade fairs should be seen not simply as temporary industry gatherings, but as central, though temporary, spaces for knowledge and market processes that symbolize microcosms of the industry they represent and function as effective marketplaces. It suggests that these temporary events should be viewed not as isolated from one another, but as arranged together in an almost continual global circuit. In this sense, trade fairs are less temporary clusters than they are cyclical clusters; they are complexes of overlapping spaces that are scheduled and arranged in such a way that spaces can be reproduced, reenacted, and renewed over time. Although actual fairs are short-lived events, their presence in the business cycle has lasting consequences for the organization of markets and industries and for the firms of which they are comprised.