Donnelly and Associates, Vancouver, British Columbia, and the City of Surrey, British Columbia
"Surrey Fusion Festival"
One of Canada's largest multicultural celebrations, the two-day Surrey Fusion Festival featured more than 75 recording artists and performers from all over the world on four stages, along with 38 cultural pavilions enjoyed by more than 100,000 visitors. Following the parade of flags ceremony, attendees enjoyed an interactive farm area, a straw maze and a "learn to dance" stage.
5th Element Events, Markham, Ontario
"TD Toronto Jazz Festival"
Working at bustling outdoor mall, the event team created a "Music City" devoted to helping shoppers discover their inner musician. The fair included a full week of outdoor performances, custom lounges, vinyl piano crosswalks, roaming saxophone players and hidden pianos.
JHE Production Group, Harrisburg, N.C.
"Democratic National Convention Carolina Fest"
The kickoff for the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., "Carolina Fest" treated some 30,000 guests to a free event that included live musical performances by Janelle Monae and James Taylor, VIP hospitality areas, and family fun. Ninety-five tents and booths showcased Charlotte's rich heritage, from local hospitals to youth-related organizations to community causes.
BK Design, Boston
"Storybook Wedding" For a bridal couple determined that their wedding be themed to the book "The Neverending Story," right down to the "Auryn" symbol of entwined snakes, the invitation designer met the challenge with a save-the-date bookmark including black snakeskin patterned paper, a silver-foil stamped embossed logo, and a silver tassel. Black envelopes adorned with white calligraphy and silver wax seals housed the custom-bound book invitation, which featured hand-painted silver deckle-edge paper, elegant metallic ribbon and a pewter heart charm.
Dragonfly Custom Design, Orlando, Fla.
"SOS: An Americana-style Launch Party"
An attention-grabbing invitation was commissioned by a Chicago-based yacht charter company determined to "make a splash" with its brand and form relationships with concierge and destination management companies. Looking to monopolize guests' holiday plans for the Fourth of July, the invitation was created to generate excitement for the client's launch party with miniature picnic basket invitations presented to each guest, conveying an upscale Americana picnic on the dock.
Raymond Ramsay and Associates, Orlando, Fla., and Jennifer Goldberg, Southlake, Texas
"Jayden's Bat Mitzvah Invitation"
To honor a girl in love with fashion, the event team created the bat mitzvah invitation "Total Fashion": a full-color glossy magazine of more than 160 pages featuring the honoree on the cover. Throughout the issue, the "magazine" offered details of the weekend’s events, fashion articles, photo layouts, important mitzvah information, VIP fashion show tickets, and a response card.
Emerald City Designs, Farmington Hills, Mich.
"A Modern Union"
In order to "reflect" who they are as individuals and as a couple, two grooms decided upon using two long, rectangular dining tables with mirror tops. The cool, modern look was completed with Manzanita branches painted glossy black, which were joined at the ends and wrapped with crystal pendant drops to symbolize the men's union.
Picture Perfect Parties, North Reading, Mass.
"White Lace and Wine"
A sophisticated bride-to-be had a wine tasting at her wedding shower, a theme the event team carried through with a stunning 20-foot centerpiece—a triple-tier umbrella sculpture that floated above the dining table. Cascading ribbons in lavender and sage connected the three umbrellas, and crystal "raindrops" seemed to drizzle from above.
Wilkinson Rhodes, San Antonio
"Poodles on Parade"
An annual Valentine's Day dinner went retro and tres Parisian with high-fashion French poodles adorned with pink and white long-stem tulips dominating the decor. The host traditionally gives a champagne glass to each guest; these were filled with heart candy and had a glass heart ornament tied to the stem.
Food for Thought, Lincolnwood, Ill.
"Qatar Launch Gala"
To help Qatar Airways introduce itself to Chicago's elite when adding its newest destination in America, the event team created a gala at the city's iconic Field Museum. Guests were treated to a red carpet entrance, champagne and hors d'oeuvre, a five-star dinner, and entertainment by Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson.
Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth, Montreal
"Musee d'Art Contemporain Ball"
Some 600 guests attended the fundraising ball for the Montreal Contemporary Art Museum, which treated them to the "Illicit Activities" underground glam reception with a sinful five-course menu. Keying on a Prohibition theme, the event including "contraband" courses such as a lobster presented on a mirror covered by a suspicious parcel printed with postmarks from Colombia, with pretend "cocaine" (really citrus salt) sprinkled in a line on a mirror.
Someone's in the Kitchen, Tarzana, Calif.
"Moulin Rouge at the Milton"
In order to induce guests to contribute to a worthy cause, the caterer charmed them with a party with a sexy French vibe. The "Moulin Rouge" featured long cabaret tables designed to resemble can-can dancers' skirts, napkins clasped with garters, and a French menu featuring kir royale cocktails, French onion soup, tournedos Rossini and chocolate Eiffel Towers.
"The Daffodil Ball: The Great Gatsby"
Some 700 guests enjoyed this annual event in a festive setting that evoked the Roaring Twenties world of wealthy Jay Gatsby. Classic period dishes included Oysters Rockefeller, Lobster Newburg and Baked Alaska, reinvented with a modern twist.
The Peabody Orlando, Orlando, Fla., and Hello Florida, Orlando, Fla.
"Give Kids the World 25th Annual Black and White Gala"
To raise funds to provide free vacations to children with life-threatening illnesses, the 25th annual gala encouraged 1,646 guests to look at the world through the eyes of a child. The meal carried out this theme, with a salad course designed to resemble a large toadstool in a forest—an image from the event's logo--and a dessert featuring a colorful chocolate kite soaring over puffy meringue clouds.
Venetian/Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas, and Luminous, Singapore
"Around the World in 80 Years"
A multi-day celebration of a business leader's 80th birthday was keyed to the Jules Verne novel "Around the World in 80 Days." Some 250 guests enjoyed a series of brunches and events, culminating in a gala dinner featuring four courses with four choices of entrees, each course paired with wine by a master sommelier.
Alison Silcoff Events, Montreal
"The Daffodil Ball: The Great Gatsby"
The venerable Daffodil Ball celebrated its 20th anniversary with a Roaring Twenties theme from "The Great Gatsby." Rich details including a vintage yellow Rolls-Royce, models dressed as flappers, and a sumptuous meal that included period dishes such as Oysters Rockefeller helped the event raise 23 percent more than the year prior—a record since the 2008 recession.
Hala Events and Communications, Toronto
"The Book Lover's Ball"
The only black-tie fundraiser in Toronto, the eighth annual Book Lover's Ball supported the public library foundation with a gala including a three-course dinner, an auction and the event's signature Adopt a Branch donation program. The evening's highlight was a spectacular finale that brought five featured books to life through performances by noteworthy Canadian performers.
Melissa Krauser Events, Houston
"Bleu Electrique: Contemporary Chic with a Parisian Beat"
Houston's famed Menil Collection of modern art celebrated its 25th anniversary for its support group of young professionals with a chic fundraiser designed to evoke European night clubs. Challenges including constructing a pavilion on museum's front esplanade above a negative-space sculpture embedded within the lawn.
E=MC2 Events, Calgary, Alberta
"TIFF Inaugural Gala: The Night That Never Ends"
The inaugural Toronto International Film Festival gala saluted 50 years of James Bond with an immersive experience that transported guests through multiple scenes including an industrial landscape, a 125-foot media-filled red carpet, a glamorous reception, and an after-party “pier” created on a 12,000 square foot custom fitted barge. Highlights of the evening included a high-octane helicopter stunt and underwater fireworks missiles.
Keep Memory Alive, Las Vegas
"Power of Love Gala"
Celebrities Michael Caine and Quincy Jones were the honorees as 1,700 guests rubbed elbows with entertainers including Bono, Whoopi Goldberg and Amy Poehler to raise money to fight Alzheimer's disease. Despite limited elevator capacity and inconvenient stair locations, the event team managed to move the big group from the arena concourse to the main floor in only 20 minutes by constructing two sets of elaborate curved stairs with wide steps, allowing guests to descend to the arena by passing across the 60-foot-wide stage as "stars."
Mosaic Inc., Pittsburgh
"Forces of Nature"
Designed to help raised funds for Event Pros Take Action, a group that works to rebuild homes devastated by Hurricane Katrina, the "Forces of Nature" benefit used a raw warehouse as a stage for four 20-by-20-foot design vignettes depicting earth, fire, water and ice. Food was offered both in the vignettes and in common areas, inviting guests to explore and dine progressively through the night.
Cava Rose, Montreal
For a couple determined to have a black-tie wedding look but in a fun, laid-back atmosphere, the event team treated 150 guests to a cocktails and tapas reception. Unique elements included giant “flower paintings” hanging on the walls of the factory-turned-gallery venue, the family speech presented as a flash mob, a playlist created by thee guests via RSVP card, and Spanish-inspired food and drink such as live paella station, roasted pig and custom sangria.
Events of Distinction, San Francisco
"Vivi Bene, Ama Molto"
A couple honored their Italian heritage with wedding vows exchanged in the stone ruins of a 19th century winery in the Sonoma Valley, followed by a performance by an Italian singer. A tented dining area offered three coordinated styles of tables; after dinner, a "museum" of family bridal gowns and custom-designed dessert stations provided a sweet finale.
The JDK Group, Camp Hill, Pa.
"From Farm to Fête"
Amidst a farmland setting, the event team created three distinctive venue spaces with a modern, sophisticated feel. Elegant tents for the ceremony and cocktails were followed by the dramatic reception tent: a glamorous presentation in black and white with stunning floral, tabletops and lighting.
B. Levine Productions, Los Angeles, and EFG PR, Los Angeles
"Danny and Aaron Got Married"
A Hollywood power couple tied the knot in true Hollywood style with a ceremony at Paramount Studios, where the famed B tank had been painted with the grooms' custom logo. The ceremony was held in a soundstage draped with black velvet; the grooms rode into room atop a "kosher" white unicorn to Madonna's "Like a Virgin."
Plan-It Parties, North Potomac, Md.
The event team pleased a detail-oriented bride with a dramatic ceremony and celebration at Andrew Mellon Auditorium in Washington, including such flourishes as a custom Lucite chuppah and 12,000 yards of specialty ribbon hand-cut and suspended from the ceiling. The event team overcame several tough challenges, including finding a new decor provider when the original vendor bowed out only 16 days before the wedding.
Xena Productions, Dublin
A golf course was transformed into an elegant white and gray wedding for 248 guests in Portugal. In order to take advantage of vistas of the ocean and the sunset, guests were seated on different levels at a combination of table designs topped with abundant white orchids, hydrangeas and roses, while driftwood from the local beach accented centerpieces.
Fourth Wall Events, New York
"BOI-2013 Grand Cayman"
When the client asked for a redesign of its recognition program to make it more intimate and fun, the event team obliged, bringing two waves of 1,000 guests total to the Ritz-Carlton in Grand Cayman for a series of parties culminating in "Starry Night," a Van Gogh-inspired evening under the stars. Attendees gave the program a score of 4.97 out of 5, the highest mark in the 10-year history of this annual incentive.
Go West Creative Group, Westlake Village, Calif.
"Farmers Championship 2013"
To uphold the longstanding Farmers Insurance Co. tradition of honoring top producers with an all-inclusive "Championship" incentive conference, the event team turned Chicago's Navy Pier into a "business conference with the excitement of a rock concert," with the goal of rebuilding attendees' confidence in the future. Events included an opening night party overlooking Lake Michigan with a painter creating oversize art works, a unique awards ceremony with a "Secret Agent" theme, and a closing concert with legendary band Chicago.
PJ Hummel & Co., Tacoma, Wash.
The event team treated Microsoft employees to a month-long series of family events in the creepy Vagabond Swamp, located on the campus food court area, where ghostly vagabonds crawled out of the swamp forest for their own family reunion on Halloween. With the goal of creating a mesmerizing experience rather than a horrifying one, vignettes included two skeletons slumped over an array of tarot cards and an Ouija board, and a vagabond camp complete with washtubs and clotheslines.
Extraordinary Events, Sherman Oaks, Calif., and Vok Dams Events, Wuppertal, Germany
"International Media Launch"
Eight waves of journalists traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia, to experience the international media launch of the new BMW X5, with the message “Where Luxury Touches Adventure.” The jewel of the program was a custom-built structure called the BMW X5 City Lodge with design elements that touched on trendy, exclusive design combined with pure nature, wild, primal beauty, and a thrilling outdoor lifestyle.
Kennedy Creative Events, Austin, Texas
"Jeep Grand Cherokee Media Drive Program"
When Chrysler asked the event team to put together a multi-day event for its re-released Jeep Cherokee model, the result was an eight-day program designed to fully immerse automotive media in the Cherokee experience. With a gourmet, catered showroom event that educated media on special vehicle features, on- and off-road driving, a barbecue lunch in the rustic Texas hill country, and a test-drive experience around Austin's new Circuit of the Americas track, media members left with a strong impression of the 2013 Cherokee's luxury and high performance.
Phenomenon Marketing and Communications, Beijing
"The New HTC One Launch"
HTC launched its flagship product, the HTC One, in China with three events in two days. A multipurpose dual-screen stage served different events, while indoor and outdoor experience zones and social media engagement opportunities gave audience members the chance to "hear, see, try and share" the new phone.
Facts and Fiction, Cologne, Germany
"Bayer Anniversary Tour 2013"
This global roadshow took the message of Bayer's 150th anniversary to some 32,000 guests via a traveling exhibition of 22 containers that keyed on scientific issues with various target groups in mind. Each of the cases referred to one letter of the corporate message statement "Science for a Better Life"; they all fit in 40-foot container or on a single trailer.
MGM Resorts Events, Las Vegas
"Inspiring Our World"
Created to salute and inspire MGM Resorts International employees, this high-energy show was cheered by 62,000 staffers in Las Vegas, Detroit, Reno, Nev., and Biloxi and Tunica, Miss. The project involved casting of talented amateurs for all roles, intense rehearsals, and shuttling tens of thousands of people to the show.MGM Resorts Events, Las Vegas12-03
Created to salute and inspire MGM Resorts International employees, this high-energy show was cheered by 62,000 staffers in Las Vegas, Detroit, Reno, Nev., and Biloxi and Tunica, Miss. The project involved casting of talented amateurs for all roles, intense rehearsals, and shuttling tens of thousands of people to the show.
"HTC Cube Campaign 2012"
HTC's "Cube" campaign transformed a typical truck trailer into a mobile exhibition unit that traveled to 35 cities in China to offer multiple zones for live performances, product showcases and interactive user experiences. With its cost-effective design, the unit could be set up quickly, making it an efficient way to penetrate second- and third-tier cities.
AOO Events Inc., Los Angeles
"High Tech Namaste"
A breathtaking wedding married Hindu traditions with a modern spin, including decorating a custom-built mandap with 6,000 hand-opened red and fuchsia roses, and lining the structure's base with 1,000 Dendrobium orchids. Marigolds—a mainstay of such events—decorated cocktail tables and were hand-strung into garlands to festoon the couple's dining table.
Designs by Sean, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The ceremony began with an elaborate aisle treatment of 18-foot-tall myrtle trees lining the walkway and overflowing with thousands of blooming branches. The couple exchanged vows under a natural birch branch and floral arbor structure, and then dined at tables with centerpieces featuring four different designs situated within the event floor plan; fresh-cut garden roses, phalaenopsis orchids, mini blush callas and echevaria were featured.
Newberry Brothers, Denver
"Southern Meets Western Wedding"
A wedding at a rugged Western ranch picked up a sweet Southern vibe thanks to lush arrangements of lavender roses, variegated carnations, white peonies, and cream roses softened with pale lavender stock, baby's breath and cascades of amaranthus stems. To continue the Southern feel, parasols with flowers dripping over the edges and green moss branches were hung throughout the venue.
ABC Special Event Rentals by CORT, Mukilteo, Wash.
"Microsoft Windows 8 Rollout"
To create a space for some 2,000 international VIPs attending a four-day conference at Microsoft headquarters, the tent designed and installed more than 25 tents covering more than 120,000 square feet. The centerpiece was a 165-by-264-foot keynote structure large enough to host 4,000 attendees and emblazoned with massive 40-by-200-foot "Windows 8" logos on each side of the top canvas and 20-by-40-foot logos on the gable ends.
All Seasons Event Rental, Kansas City, Kan.
The Kansas State Alumni Center was transformed into a romantic wedding venue thanks to a 82-by-100-foot clear-span tent and additional smaller tents for bar areas and marquee walkways—all dressed in fabric liner and carpeted. Even though a storm knocked out two auxiliary tents two days before the wedding, the tent team scrambled to dry the wet carpet and bring in new tent tops and pipes.
Arena Americas, Oak Creek, Wis.
"Tiffany & Co. Blue Book Gala"
For a product launch by high-end jeweler Tiffany and Co., the event team was charged with installing a party structure for 400 VIPS at New York's Rockefeller Center, a bustling business and tourist landmark. The solution: A 39 by 31-meter clearspan structure at a custom 12 degree pitch wrapped with a custom 21-foot tall fabric façade created with trademark "Tiffany blue" fabric.
"A Gift-wrapped Affair"
For a client who requested a holiday event but without the traditional holiday look, the design team came up with "CranTango," featuring dramatic lighting in cranberry and tangerine that created a welcoming atmosphere. The neutral ballroom appeared to be gift-wrapped from the inside out using digital mapping and floor-based lighting rather than pricey ceiling lights.
Megavision Arts, Santa Monica, Calif.
For a private wedding in Doha, Qatar, 2D projection mapping was used to create a unique environment as well as to provide progressively changing mood lighting in the ballroom. Projection design transformed the ballroom into a European palace set amongst royal gardens replete with songbirds and butterflies, and incorporated an illusion used to reveal the bride "entering" via horse-drawn carriage.
Russell Harris Event Group, North Hollywood, Calif., and Images by Lighting, Los Angeles
"Super Bowl and Sin City"
Charged with creating a lighting design that would save money while providing two distinctly different environments for two different events, the lighting team treated 4,000 guests in a 100,000-square-foot union hall to a "Super Bowl" welcome party, then a final-night "Las Vegas club" scene. Thanks to using the same grid, energy-efficient LEDs and programmable fixtures, the team was able to pull off the two different environments with ease.
E=MC2 Events, Calgary, Alberta, and Production Canada, Vaughn, Ontario
To help the Toronto International Film Festival celebrate the 50th anniversary of James Bond at its inaugural gala, the event team staged a complex event involving a custom venue site with a 12,000-square-foot barge, an 8,000-square-foot dining tent, and action stunts involving a helicopter, a Sea-Doo and an aquatic fireworks display. Complicating the action were gale-force winds and rainstorm warnings, which not only delayed production but forced the implementation of changes.
5th Element Events, Markham, Ontario
"Adball Great Gatsby"
The closing gala for Canadian Advertising Week—Adball—brought together top advertising and marketing professionals for an event that included a fashion show where top CEOs of major advertising agencies strutted down the runway. The event team made the show memorable with a custom-built LED stage, and a runway featuring a massive "Gatsby" cityscape.
One Smooth Stone, Downers Grove, Ill.
"Dinner for 60 in a Banyan Tree"
How to impress 60 top sales performers from a software company who have seen it all? The event team topped expectations by staging dinner on a deck installed within the branches of an ancient Banyan tree. The deck and dining tables were skillfully woven through multiple vertical roots while the addition of decor, lighting and audio gave the evening added polish.
To bring the new HTC smartphone to second and third tier cities in China, the "Cube" campaign converted a truck trailer into a mobile exhibition unit that offered live performances, product showcases and interactive experiences for visitors over a four-month period. The campaign contacted one million consumers and sold an average of 100 smartphones each day.
Venetian/Palazzo Hotel, Las Vegas, and Luminous, Singapore
A multi-day event celebrating the 80th birthday of a business titan brought 250 guests to Singapore for a rich array of events including meals, tours and entertainment, along with a gala birthday finale with stages on each side of the room. Personalized experiences for guests were key elements, which were developed via a website that captured individualized dining preferences and the like.
Vok Dams Events, Wuppertal, Germany
"150th Anniversary: We Are Bayer"
Bayer celebrated its transition over 150 years from local German chemical company to global powerhouse with 110,000 employees with a festival for 30,000 attendees keyed on a simple phrase: We are Bayer. Enterainment included Bayer staffers as peformers and a Bayer logo made up of employees holding colored card squares.
The largest event ever held on the Microsoft campus, the Windows 8 product launch brought 2,600 VIPs from around the world to experience the new program and discover opportunities for developing new software. The rental team provided more than 25 tents comprising more than 120,000 square feet, including a 165-by-264-square foot keynote structure large enough to hold 4,000 attendees—the centerpiece of the event.
A1 Party, Covina, Calif.
"2013 Stanford-Wisconsin Official Tailgates"
Some 15,000 attendees enjoyed tailgate parties at the largest college football game of the year—the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. The event rental team provided support for many vendors including production companies, caterers and others to create events, despite heavy rains and many last-minute requests from clients.
Party Reflections, Charlotte, N.C.
"2012 Democratic National Convention"
The 2012 Democratic National Convention, held in Charlotte, N.C., was a showcase for politicians, lobbyists and dignitaries to gather together and support their chosen candidate for the next president of the United States. The event provided the stage for more than 35,000 guests to be served and entertained during the convention, meaning that producers, caterers, event planners and delegates required full event rental support on a 24-hour basis for the full week they were in Charlotte.
Marquee Tents, Austin, Texas
In response to a client's request for "something different," this veteran rental company developed a new style of flooring, since dubbed "Vintage Plank." After tweaking and testing the product, the rental company debuted it at a wedding to great success.
PTE Productions, Orlando, Fla.
"Swan and Dolphin Holiday Lighting"
The Swan and Dolphin holiday lighting event in Orlando, Fla., integrated proprietary RGBW-1 LED lighting fixtures, developed and manufactured specifically for this event, and festive holiday music for the breezeway connecting the Swan and Dolphin properties. Guests of the resort were dazzled by an imaginative display located at the base of 36 soaring palm trees with three unique holiday themed shows.
Sequence Events, New York
"Find & Seq"
"Find & Seq" is a unique, interactive and fun team-building activity designed to be part scavenger hunt and part "Amazing Race." Using a custom iPad app, teams race around a given location, testing their street smarts, resourcefulness, creativity and teamwork.
Imagination Entertainment, San Diego
To please an audience of 200 guests, ranging in age from 20s to 60s and hailing from more than 25 countries, the event team developed "Flashback"—a musical journey of medleys spanning the '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s. Dozens of hits and instant costume changes brought the audience to its feet.
Total Event Resources, Schaumburg, Ill.
"TNA 30th Anniversary Celebration"
With stilt walkers, fire breathers, acrobats, clowns, mystics and dancers, this sophisticated cirque-style extravaganza grew in momentum into an explosive party where an elegant pole acrobat and "fire and grinder burlesque extraordinaire" fit right in. The venue—a modern art center glowing with vibrant lighting--set the perfect atmosphere for fantasy to meld with revelry.
Ultimate Ventures, Addison, Texas
"Trouble's Brewing at Cow Camp: A Texas Adventure"
A unique, interactive production took guests on a ride through Texas history with armadillo racing, bull rides, quick-draw demonstrations and rollo roping. A country and Western band provided a backdrop to line dancing led by saloon girls in an evening that closed with s'mores under the stars.
BRAVO! Entertainment, Dallas, and E=MC2 Events, Calgary, Alberta
Inspired by the 50th anniversary of film icon James Bond, the event team created a sophisticated entertainment experience for 500 guests at the Toronto International Film Festival gala. Guests watched as "agents" and "villains" staged battles, Bond girls drove Sea-Doos around the harbor, and "James Bond" jumped from a helicopter into the water, where a Bond girl retrieved him and brought him to the dinner tent.
To help its financial-services client thank board members of partner banks for their loyalty while also encouraging them to stick together to overcome future challenges, the event team created a gala evening that contrasted its historic setting with the theme of embracing change. For example, Mozart's famous "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" was first performed as it had been when written, then was turned into a country and Western version, followed by a flamenco adaptation.
Some 1,400 guests of the MGM Grand Las Vegas were treated to an immersive entertainment experience that used the event space as the stage to ring in the New Year. The production used a plethora of performance acts and artists including parkour, production numbers, street performance artists, a disc jockey, dancers and urban performance legends--all married with new technology.
Spectra—1 million lumens of light and 35,000 watts of sound on a 400-foot-long performance stage developed to support the local "100 Days of Summer" event—was delivered free to charge to 125,000 spectators in Orange Beach, Ala. Depicting a day at the Wharf—a retail development—the spectacle included LED strings, moving lights, haze and state-of-the-art audio to share local culture with visitors.
"Lamborghini Aventador Miami City Takeover"
The event team put the eye-catching Lamborghini Aventador Roadster on display at a product launch in Miami with a spin down Ocean Drive, a pop-up store in a high-end shopping district, and a drag race with a Boeing 777 at Miami International Airport. Some 400 international guests—including press, stakeholders and select VIPs—took part in the events; of the 200 international publications invited, 120 put their car on their cover.
Elias Events, Houston
"Jeff's Outlaw Country 50th"
The honoree--an avid hunter and fisherman--turned 50 in style with a party for 250 guests at Bayou City Music Center in Houston featuring modern "outlaw country" decor, Southern home-style cooking, free-flowing booze, popcorn bars and mechanical bulls. Decor accents including a chandelier made of rope, a dance floor defined by fencing and hay bales, and photos of the birthday boy strung on fishing line attached to fishing poles.
"Sensational at 70"
A woman "of style and grace" celebrated her 70th birthday with 35 special guests at an event hosted by her daughters. A 40-foot mirrored dining table featured 1,000 tangerine and fuchsia roses, mercury glass vessels, dahlia napkin rings, and couture chair covers; a trio of desserts was showcased inside bejeweled satin boxes.
Newberry Brothers, Denver, and Creative Events and Occasions, Denver
"Dive in with Joseph"
For a bar mitzvah boy who loves to swim, the event team keyed on his favorite sport with touches including acrylic "bubbles" cascading down onto tables and a "lap pool" dance floor with "pool handles" on the stage. The kids' tables had swimming stroke silhouettes suspended above, and guests departed with custom embroidered towels.
A Legendary Event, Atlanta
A couple celebrating both 10 years of marriage and a very special birthday sent individual town cars to pick up guests at their homes and bring them to The Estate, an iconic Southern mansion in the heart of Atlanta. Guests enjoyed an elegant setting swathed in champagne and purple-striped satin drape, mirrored tables, and an elegant dinner with one waiter assigned to each guest for superb service.
Something New Events, Canfield, Ohio
"Groovy 60th Surprise"
Some 500 guests enjoyed a surprise 60th birthday party that featured a contemporary '70s theme carried through with a white time tunnel that led attendees into the venue, a 5,900-seat multipurpose arena washed with colorful gobos. Hors d'oeuvre were presented by servers dressed as "Foxy Brown," while a six-foot-tall cake "stalked" the honoree to the theme music from "Jaws."
The 80th birthday celebration for a tycoon brought guests from around the world to Singapore for a remarkable five-day event that drew on the honoree's Ukrainian, Lithuanian and Jewish heritage as well as his business accomplishments. Highlights included a Shabbat dinner in the ArtScience Museum, a performance by comedienne Rita Rudner, a birthday dinner featuring stages on each side of the room, and a performance by Paul Anka with the Singapore Symphony.
BBDO Live, Bonn, and Leiter Marketing Deutschland, Aschaffenburg, Germany
To assist client Linde in creating a marketing platform to show off its forklift trucks and their talented drivers, the event team developed the Stapler Cup: an international competition of regional heats that culminates in a final held in Germany in front of some 15,000 spectators. Linde uses the final to showcase its other products and to raise donations for the needy.
InVNT, New York
"Opel Paris Motor Show 2012"
A challenging early-morning time slot for Opel's Paris Auto Show press conference inspired the event team to take a new approach: a pre-event drive-by spoken-word poetry slam on the streets of Paris to communicate the youthful personality of ADAM, Opel's new concept car. Some 300 influential journalists were invited in groups of 30 each to visit various cafes; the brightly color cars drove by and performers posing as customers launched into their presentations, resulting in positive media coverage worth $900,000.
Vitamin E Events, Hamburg, Germany
"Olympus OM-D 360 Degree Campaign"
To underscore the creative capabilities of the Olympus OM-D camera, the event team invited 12 international artists to turn a 7,500-square-foot space into an interactive exhibition of the theme of "Space and Art." Some 30,000 people visited the installation and used free cameras to shoot images, resulting in 24,000 Facebook fans and nearly 22 million photos.
EventWorks, Los Angeles, and E Plus Productions, Los Angeles
"Reaching New Heights"
A group of 1,600 VIPs from Amway China were treated to three hours of non-stop entertainment including dancers, acrobats, stilt walkers, musicians, singers and jugglers. A new cylindrical, hydraulic LED center screen, 180-degree projection and 3D rigging converted a barebones aircraft hangar into a theatrical showcase.
Hello Florida Destination Management, Orlando, Fla., and Metropolis Productions, Orlando, Fla.
The 2013 Give Kids the World Gala invited 1,600 guests to look at life through the eyes of a child as they dined in a lavish black and white ballroom that slowly filled with color. The entertainment told the story of the foundation by utilizing three stages placed in the middle of the ballroom and 14 projection screens, leading to a joyous finale with acrobats, soaring kites and a crescendo release of butterfly confetti.
Bayer celebrated its 150th anniversary by turning to 1,500 Bayer staffers to entertain 30,000 of their fellow employees and their families in a soccer stadium. Highlights included interviews with married couples who intitially met while working for Bayer, performances by children from the Bayer Kindergarten schools, and the first live performance of the winning song from a worldwide contest.
A Divine Event, Norcross, Ga.
"The Playhouse" For a client who loves the outdoors, all things vintage and plenty of surprises, the event team designed five "garden rooms" to mimic the interior of an 1835 historic home-turned-wedding venue for guests to explore. Highlights included a "portrait gallery," "boudoir" and "living room."
Designs by Sean, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Famous Firsts Ltd., Boca Raton, Fla.
Some well-traveled clients wanted an African theme event to top them all. As guests arrived in their African themed outfits to the “Safari Party,” they were greeted by a real elephant and two lively costumed tribal pygmies. Decor highlights included a 160-foot mural with a panoramic view of the Serengeti.
Someone's in the Kitchen, Tarzana, Calif.
"Dining in the Desert"
An intimate dinner in Palm Desert, Calif., reflected a painted desert design, with 78 lucky guests dining at tables swathed in custom persimmon and turquoise fabrics embossed with silver and surrounded by Navajo suede chairs, mahogany lampshades and a faux ceiling. Outside, a 10-foot-tall rock backdrop glowed in vibrant colors, highlighting a performance by a fire dancer.
"New Media Award 2013: Night of Magic Heads"
As the centerpiece for Germany's coveted new media awards ceremony, the event team keyed on the "Night of Magic Heads" theme, a salute to creative minds, with a giant pop-up book backdrop. The approval ratings for the award ceremony, which had taken a back seat to the after-party, jumped from 42 percent the year prior to 92 percent thanks to the new staging.
Warner Bros Studios Special Events, Burbank, Calif.
"Man of Steel Press Junket"
The event team had only four days to design and install seven fully detailed sets, complete with authentic wardrobe and props from the film, for a multi-day press junket for the movie "Man of Steel." Vignettes including Kal-El's journey on the planet Krypton and the offices of the Daily Planet, inspired by legendary minimalist architect Mies van der Rohe.
Wilkenwerk Gmbh, Hamburg, Germany
"Top Banken 2012"
The event team thanked bank managers—often regarded as somewhat impersonal people—with a private dinner in corporate headquarters reimagined to resemble a living room replete with rich details. Highlights included an ancestral portrait wall featuring foxes for a touch of whimsy, and 3D armchairs made of cardboard in front of a fireplace protruding from the wall.
Alison Silcoff Events, Montreal, and Decor and More, Oakville, Ontario
Timed to coincide with the release of the Baz Lurhmann film "The Great Gatsby," the 20th anniversary Daffodil Ball took guests to the Roaring Twenties, with decor elements including Gatsby's yellow Rolls-Royce, flappers dancing, art deco decor and some 50,000 daffodils. Standouts included five massive multi-tier crystal chandeliers, pearl necklaces as napkin rings, and feather boas for guests.
Blueprint Studios, San Francisco
"Pebble Beach Corporate Retreat"
An executive retreat for bankers became an interactive, Wild West experience thanks to a richly detailed setting consisting of separate building installations and seating areas, including a general store, saloon and sheriff's office. In the dining room, long tables with distressed tin surfaces created a communal atmosphere, while the after-party lounge offered quilted leather club chairs, poker tables and wine barrels adorned with cactus and summer wildflowers.
"The Inspiration Room"
For a client exhibiting at the JCK Jewelry Show, one of the largest conventions held in Las Vegas every year, the event team created a customer-facing event that took the trade show “booth” to another level. In an enchanted wonderland, guests stepped through a keyhole and into another dimension, where they could preview the new collections in an immersive environment straight out of a fairy tale.
Nearly 2,300 guests enjoyed a blow-out New Year's Eve party in a ballroom transformed into a luxurious garden. Decor elements included nymphs in a huge, mist-filled cage, a hand-cut 30-foot canopy billowing over the ballroom, 30-foot abstract landscapes covering three walls, and a 20-foot water curtain with chevron, paisley and geometric patterns programmed onto the water.
For a client's 60th birthday party, the event team created a '70s theme party for 500 guests thanks to servers dressed as "Foxy Brown" and roller derby girls, while the bartenders celebrated the honoree's arrival by juggling liquor bottles, breathing fire and tossing flaming drinks. The LED dance floor pulsed to a disco beat while caricatures of the honoree—dressed in a "Saturday Night Fever" John Travolta costume—played across the floor.
Syzygy Events, Gaithersburg, Md.
"A New Age of Exploration"
The National Geographic Society's 125th anniversary gala celebrated six outstanding individuals for their efforts to lead exploration, advance scientific understanding and expand knowledge with an elegant gala that included a full orchestra hidden behind an 80-foot reverse kabuki drop, fitted between the venue's massive columns. An integral part of the evening was the presentation of the society's iconic photographs; to present them properly, the event team fabricated 26 20-by-20-foot fabric projection screens between archways.
Hello Florida Destination Management, Orlando, Fla.
"Holiday in the City"
A corporate holiday party for 275 guests included a 13-foot-long pink couch for groups to perch on, an iPad photo station, and custom glowing table numbers. During the awards segment, performers entered the room holding big white balloons bearing the names of nominees; the balloons were popped to reveal the winners.
"Psychologies Magazine: China's Best Marriage"
This magazine celebrated its new column "China's Best Marriage" by hosting an event where happy married couples shared stories of how they met, their weddings and their married lives. The party was held at a hotel with a small garden, an ideal setting for photo shoots and media interviews.
POP Kollaborative, Calgary, Alberta
"Tag! You're It!"
For the kickoff event for a month-long fundraising campaign benefitting United Way, company employees donned white coveralls and goggles so they could be "tagged" by professional graffiti artists with a message of unity and commitment. The employees then took their own cans of food-grade spray paint to tag one another—an activity that contributed to 65 percent employee engagement in the campaign and $1.5 million raised, both company records.
A giant pop-up book dubbed "The Book of Magic Heads"—a nod to creative minds—served as the backdrop for a prestigious new media awards competition. Every award winner was surprised by a new "page," and the approval ratings for the award ceremony, which had taken a back seat to the after-party, jumped from 42 percent the year prior to 92 percent thanks to the new staging.
Kuoni Destination Management, San Diego, and White Lotus Productions, San Diego
"Under the Big Top"
Top agents at an insurance company event were treated to an authentic, vintage circus including props from the film "Water for Elephants, fortune tellers, a calliope and clowns. Guests could change into authentic circus costumes and step into the center ring for a photo opp.
On Stage Events & Communications, Hong Kong
"Jardines Executive Dinner 2012"
This executives dinner keyed on the theme "magic," with entertainers including wizards on stilts and a crystal ball juggler, and a "anti-gravity" room, where pillars seemed to float in midair. The highlight of the evening was a Japanese projection dance, where the performer's movements appear to interact with projected images.
To help its financial services client thank board members of partner banks for their loyalty while also encouraging them to stick together to overcome future challenges, the event team created a gala evening that contrasted an historic setting with the theme of embracing change. To change the perspective of guests—both literally and figuratively—the event team used the huge front window of the hall as a stage for moving images, and a magician displayed a moving blue balloon to encourage guests to join the journey.
The Companies, Munich
"Under Enormous Pressure"
Rather than create a predictable launch event for a new industrial transfer press—with dry speeches from engineers and a demonstration—the event team developed a consumer-style event, with the production floor illuminated with 36-foot-wide LEDs and boxes branded with the corporate logo serving as seating. The press machine was revealed washed in projection mapping, while background music created excitement.
Verve Marketing, Dublin
"Rock and Royalty"
The event team met Google's challenge of creating an "unforgettable" holiday party with "Rock and Royalty." Held on the grounds of Royal Hospital Kilmainham in Dublin, the festivities included everything from performances by Victorian-era strongmen to laser graffiti; a clear-top tent enabled guests to dine while enjoying projection mapping on the courtyard's walls.
EventWorks, Los Angeles
With only six months' lead time, the event team took over a historic hangar in Hawaii to create a VIP gala for 1,600 top salespeople from China. Highlights included a display of Flying Tiger airplanes, a vast array of entertainers from acrobats to dancers to singers, and a 16-by-15-foot circular motorized centerpiece screen that served both as a "rocket" blasting off from the stage and as a gigantic birthday cake saluting the client company.
Sullivan Group, Houston, and Designs by Sean, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
"Annual Offshore Technology Conference Dinner"
The client's annual conference kicked off on the floor of Reliant Stadium in Houston with a sit-down dinner for 1,000 from all aspects of the offshore energy industry. The underwater theme—shown in hand-painted abstract murals of sea life, "jellyfish" lighting and elegant centerpieces—combined with actual subsea equipment merged elegant design with the realities of the offshore industry.
Keying on the simple phrase "We are Bayer," the event team helped the venerable company celebrate its 150th anniversary with some 30,000 current and former employees and their families in the company's own premier league soccer stadium. With the goals of involving attendees and sharing the Bayer message, the activities used 1,500 Bayer volunteers as entertainers, from a young gymnast to the company's own philharmonic orchestra.
Here are details on the latest crop of Gala Award nominees, named by the Advisory Board of Special Events. Watch for the winners, who will be named Jan. 10 at The Special Event 2014.