WORKING AROUND THE obstacles of a holiday-weekend setup, Los Angeles-based EventWorks president Janet Elkins and team designed a September opera gala with an “exclusive Russian card club” theme, she says. The theme tied into Tchaikovsky's “The Queen of Spades,” the Los Angeles Opera's featured performance.
“We had to plan the installation for a Saturday, even though the event happened on a Tuesday,” Elkins says, “because nothing happens on a Sunday and Monday when it's Labor Day weekend.” She also had to coordinate with security at the Performing Arts Center Plaza to ensure the safety of sidewalls and other installation items that would sit for three days before the event took place.
Crediting staff members Randy Dupre, Ted Bowers and Michelle Messick for their contributions to the event design, Elkins says the group used its $45,000 decor budget to create an environment that “transported guests back into 18th-century St. Petersburg.”
On the evening of the event, 800 guests walked through a stone archway illuminated by torch sconces, and encountered a luxurious card club tableau. The focal point of the scene was an ornate crystal chandelier, which brought out the rich tones of the antique table and the red-velvet-cushioned chairs. Guests moved on to find their places at tables dressed in floor-length burgundy velvet linens, each featuring a playing-card table number and a gold pedestal centerpiece dripping with pin-spotted red roses. Over the gala's entertainment stage hung a 30-foot-high replica of an antique queen-of-spades card, which Event Works created by working from a 1-inch square picture.
Sidewalls decorated with a repeating red-spade logo and set with custom-made, uplit curtained windows worked “to make you not feel like you were in a big banquet situation,” Elkins says, “but to create this lovely room.”
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