Design Mind: Mark Wells, Hello Florida!, Orlando, Fla., www.hello-usa.com
Dojo Design: Hello Florida's martial arts-theme sales meeting celebration combined organic Zen-garden serenity with hands-on (and hand-to-hand) interactive decor elements.
Garden Party: Large-scale Zen gardens designed by Hello Florida and built by Orlando-based Party Guys at the event's beach location got their Japanese feel from a combination of railroad ties, custom bamboo tools and garden accents. Cocktail tabletop versions of the gardens offered activity, sparked conversation and encouraged networking.
Dynamic Decor: Lest guests be lulled into an overly meditative state, Hello Florida designed the “Bungee Foo” interactive stage backdrop and “photo ride,” which gave participants clad in martial arts costumes the chance to strike an airborne karate pose — a unique live-decor highlight. Meanwhile, an 18-by-24-foot inflatable video screen provided by Orlando's PTE Productions gave the event's video DJ a chance to entertain guests on the beach.
Pro Quote: “I truly feel that in order to create cutting-edge and contemporary design, you must start with the understanding that the event art is temporary and that there will be a minimal amount of time to influence the guests and a maximum amount of influences. One should ask oneself, ‘How many touch points can the budget allow, and what are my influences?’” — Mark Wells
Design Mind: David Merrell, president and creative director, AOO Events, Los Angeles, www.aooevents.com
Fashion Forward: For a Dream Foundation benefit at Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara, Calif., Merrell and his AOO dream team kept things spare and sophisti-cated, letting a couple of key focal points steal the show. The result was a stunning benefit themed around fashion designer Valentino.
Pure and Simple: Decor hinged on a 20-foot-high custom stage made of padded white suede panels, 5-foot-wide chandeliers and a full-room draping of white velvet. White calla lily centerpieces, clear Chameleon chairs and transparent chargers added to the pristine scene.
Tailor-made: More cost-effective and easier to transport than glass — not to mention quieter during dinner service — faux-antique mirror tabletops, accompanied by a matching stage treatment, were designed especially for the fashion-themed fête. Merrell and crew used mirrored plexiglass, acid, paint and “a lot of elbow grease” to get the right look, the designer notes. “But it was worth it,” he adds. “This product has now been used on other AOO jobs and has met with great success.”
Pro Quote: “I think today's theme events tap into looks that begin in the interior design industry. This is especially true of the events we do for the entertainment industry. Fabrics, lighting, accessories — even the carpeting — all are pulled from the looks created by today's top interior designers.” — David Merrell
Design Mind: Chris Blumke, president, Decor 'N More, Denver, www.decornmoreinc.com
Mod Squad: Working on an annual event with a repeat client usually means striving to outdo previous years' efforts, and Decor 'N More's “Abstract Modern” theme for a conference on precious metals investment did just that.
Event Evolution: For the event's Internet Cafe area, Chromalink chain-link drape from New York-based Dazian — a nod to the client's association with metal — replaced the stretch fabric and acrylic panels that Decor 'N More has used in the past. High-tech graphics digitally printed on Airtex material by Phoenix-based ImageCraft stood in for the hand-painted pix of yore in the event's stage area.
Sign In Style: Of special note was the registration area — a famously functional but dull conference feature — which the design firm transformed into a chic focal point with a sexy, curved counter sporting a marble veneer front and uplit acrylic top.
Pro Quote: “Our clients come to us for creative, unique designs that reflect current products and technology, even if the theme is an old one. We ask for their vision. We ask for the goal of their event. Then we design to accommodate both. Today's contemporary theme designs are more abstract, crisp and simple, with effective lighting. Our custom designs — especially stage sets — reflect that trend.” — Chris Blumke
SCULPTWARE's new stretch-to-fit SplashBacks chair accents let designers create custom arrangements with up to three colors or prints per chair. Simply pull down a SplashBack over a Sculptware-covered chair back, add a color band, and await the oohs and aahs. Visit sculptwareonline.com.
BLOWUPTHINGS' Light Bulb illuminated inflatable features an internal 500-watt fixture with color-changing capability. Easy to suspend from a single rig point, the nearly 14-foot-high sculpture offers a sleek surface for high-profile projection or killer custom branding. Visit www.blowupthings.com.
The programmable Diamond Display Centerpiece from ICE MAGIC features 10 4-inch optic crystal diamonds that can be customized with your client's logo or message. And so everyone remembers the event, the centerpiece's dazzling diamonds do double duty as guest gifts. Visit www.icemagic.biz.