LOOK FOR SOMETHING SOFTER

JULIE SHANKLIN, PRINCIPAL, AND MARIELLE SHORTELL, SENIOR EVENT DESIGNER, SYZYGY EVENT PRODUCTIONS, GAITHERSBURG, MD., WWW.SYZYGYEVENTS.COM

THE LOOK: “Our clients are very practical. They want furniture, functional bars, branding abilities and decor that can be multipurposed. There is not a lot of wiggle room within budgets today to do the excess that we have seen in the past. We are very hands-on and forthright with each of our clients to guide them into choosing items that will receive the biggest bang for their buck.”

THE PALETTE: “There is a definite change to a softer feel of event decor. Neutrals will be popular in 2010 — ranging from dove gray to charcoal, and soft sand to deep chocolate. Simple accents of playful colors will add to the color scheme — canary yellow, soft violet, lapis blue and vibrant orange.”

THE INSPIRATION: “We tend to look at fashion and runway shows often, because they forecast the seasons to come almost a year in advance. We also look at new hotel design and interior design in Europe and Asia. They have an amazing talent for doing the unexpected — beautifully.”

LOOK FOR FANTASY

JULIE HALE, PRESIDENT AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR, VANGARD INC., TACOMA, WASH., WWW.VANGARDEVENTS.COM

THE LOOK: “For 2010, we see a desire from our client to return to a either a themed look — usually something from a fairy tale á la Willy Wonka or Alice in Wonderland — or a continued interest in ambient decor — the ‘no theme’ theme. While large props and straightforward reproductions have been on the back burner for awhile, we see a lot of interest in creating fantasy environments with color, light, texture, food and entertainment. Interactive elements — working candy walls, video DJ's, and food stations with a themed element — also add to the decor and make the event feel more complete.”

THE PALETTE: “Teal! Black. Mirrors, feathers, sequins, fur. A layered and textured look. Red is big still, with fuchsia and coppers, browns and bronzes with gold. The desire for luxury still exists, but it has to be tempered as to not look too ostentatious.”

THE INSPIRATION: “Fashion, interior design, art, nature, travel. It is an overall awareness of what is happening in the world. While it may seem sort of an odd route, I can get as much out of looking through National Geographic as I can from Elle Decor or Vogue.”

LOOK FOR NATURE

DIANE BUTNER, DIRECTOR OF EVENT DESIGN, MGM MIRAGE EVENTS, LAS VEGAS, WWW.MGMMIRAGEVENTS.COM

THE LOOK: “‘Nature’ as decor — bringing the outdoors in. This is either with the real deal — hedges, gardens, rugged architectural elements — or with romantic floral and botanical print textiles. Garden-makers and designers will collide in a big way to bring the art of nature into events.”

THE PALETTE: “Jade green and jewel tones. More importantly, patterns are coming on strong — stripes, tartan plaids and splatter prints are going to be hot. (Think Jackson Pollock.) Sequins are also coming down the fashion runways!”

THE FUTURE: “Instead of dressing a room to death, designers will continue to use a ‘guerrilla’ mentality. Creating a strong entrance and a fantastic central focal point, for instance, will make a huge impact for lesser budgets. The trend of ‘smarter designing’ is here to stay. Trying too hard to impress others has been replaced with a more thoughtful and conservative movement. Don't get me wrong — a beautiful room will never be out of style. It's just done with a lot more precision!”