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Gala_Win_Hobbs_2018.jpg Photo by Special Events magazine
Therese Cole-Hubbs of Electric Karma International celebrates her Gala Award win.

Special Events Magazine Announces 2020 Gala Award Nominees

Great event work from around the world will be honored at The Special Event 2020 in Las Vegas.

Special Events magazine is proud to announce the nominees for the 2020 Gala Awards.

The magazine received entries from around the world, including Canada, China, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Thailand and the United States. Members of the Special Events Advisory Board evaluated the entries and determined the nominees.

The nominees will be saluted and the winners announced on March 12 at The Special Event at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.


“Charlotte SHOUT!”
Charlotte Center City Partners, Charlotte, N.C.
A 13-day celebration of art, music, food and ideas, this festival featured more than 175 events for the city’s residents and visitors. Some 200,000 attendees enjoyed a diverse mix of local artists, musicians, chefs and thought leaders along with headliners such as Grammy winner Anthony Hamilton, rock band Umphrey’s McGee, and indie pop act Bleachers. Other highlights were the commission of new public murals, family-focused programming, cooking demonstrations, keynote speakers and panel discussions.


“Surrey Fusion Festival”
City of Surrey, Surrey, British Columbia, and MRG Events, Vancouver, British Columbia

The “ultimate celebration of food, music and culture,” this two-day event saw participation from 51 pavilions and more than 200 performers across seven stages--the most stages the festival has ever hosted in its 12-year history. More than 100,00 attendees could visit the Indigenous Village, Celebrate Africa Zone, Kids Zone and cooking demonstration. Headlining acts included internationally acclaimed Somali-Canadian singer K’naan and Punjabi singer Mankirt Aulakh.



“31st Annual Chandler Chamber Ostrich Festival”
Steve LeVine Entertainment and Public Relations, Scottsdale, Ariz.
The Ostrich Festival started in 1989 as a celebration of Chandler, Ariz.’s, colorful early history of ostrich ranching and has grown to become one of the premiere festivals in the U.S. Southwest, featuring national headliners, carnival midway games and exciting attractions. The most recent event offered chainsaw experts Bear Hollow, the Mango and Dango travelling theatrical circus show, the world’s largest bounce house, and a special meet-and-greet with Disney Junior’s PJ Masks characters.



“The Daffodil Ball: A Tribute to Picasso”
Alison Silcoff Events, Montreal
This legendary fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society featured a Picasso theme in decor, entertainment and menu, focusing on Spain, primary colors and cubism. A cascading Picasso mobile of seven cubes dominated the cocktail area, while cubist-shaped tables, custom-made Picasso ceramic chargers, and three different over-the-top Picasso-inspired centerpieces created eye-catching dining-room decor. Other highlights were Nuevo Flamenco entertainment and dinner courses presented as works of art.


“21st Discovery Ball”
California Science Center, Los Angeles
The record-breaking 21st annual fund/friend-raising gala kicked off the world premiere of “Dogs! A Science Tail”--a traveling exhibition curated by the California Science Center. For cocktails, the team created a playful “puppy love” setting followed by an elegant seated dinner in a “London park” setting filled with fireflies, weeping willows and pastel English roses. After dinner, party-goers enjoyed an electric nightclub environment imagined as an oversized dog house, with upholstered hot-pink fun-fur walls and dog-themed desserts.



“Valentine's Day Ball: 'Amazonia’''
Cava Rose, Montreal
On Valentine’s Day 2019, Montreal’s Fondation Jeunes En Tête--which supports youth mental health programs--hosted its annual Valentine’s Fundraiser Ball. A total of 620 guests attended the gala event, held inside Windsor Station, for an event themed to “Amazonia.” With lush greenery, native birds and a floor-to-ceiling video-mapped projection of a waterfall, guests were transported into an Amazon rainforest as they sipped custom cocktails, bid on luxurious auction items, and savored a traditional Brazilian feast.


“Give Kids the World Gala--A Starlite Night”
Hello! Destination Management, Orlando, Fla.
Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the Mercury Space Program, the 31st annual Give Kids the World gala treated 1,350 attendees to “A Starlite Night.” Event elements include decor inspired by a Renaissance-era observatory and custom entertainment, along with a shooting-star projection screen suspended by oversized balloons, moving LED orbs, and a 170-foot kabuki drop at the after-party.


“Boston University Campaign Victory Celebration”
Stratelyst Creative, Austin, Texas
Boston University celebrated the end of its seven-year, $1.8-billion fundraising initiative with two milestone events: a gala dinner for 400 of the biggest donors to the university, followed the next evening by an immersive 3-D-mapped show on ice for 3,000 members of the community at large. With more than 500 performers over the course of two days, the celebration featured synchronized skaters, the college choir, band, opera, and ice hockey club, along with ice-skating aerialists and the entire Boston Pops Orchestra.


“2019 IRF Invitational”
360 Destination Group Florida, Hollywood, Fla.
The 2019 Incentive Research Foundation Invitational included networking, education and destination-showcase experiences to foster relationships with 200-plus buyers/decision-makers from incentive companies and corporations, along with top supplier organizations. Crafted around “The Art of The Experience” theme, the event included transportation, on-site events, recreational activities, a registration welcome experience, and a pop-up food and beverage outlet. Collaborating with host Loews Miami Beach Hotel, the team made hotel history by using every inch of outdoor space for the first time.


“Eternity Wedding”
Bebke Productions, Even Yehuda, Israel
The inspiration for this wedding came from the event where the couple met: the Israeli edition of the Burning Man Festival. The couple wanted to provide their guests with an artistic experience that would not end once the wedding ended. In response, the event team created craft stands where guests hammered, painted and sewed the couple’s wedding decorations and future furniture; the wedding couple’s home now holds the furniture created at the wedding.


“Night Circus Wedding”
Center of Attention Events, Burbank, Calif.
Bringing the dream of the couple to life, the event team created the magical setting inspired by the book “The Night Circus.” Led by a stilt-walker, guests entered through a circus marquee sign into a black and white fantasyland filled with acrobats, magicians, music, and immersive hands-on experiences from an 1890s circus. When the couple kissed, the theme song from the movie “Up” played as a “house” floated into the air.


“Organic Fall Wedding”
Jaclyn Watson Events, New York
During peak foliage season in Vermont, this couple treated their 165 guests to a rustic-yet-elegant wedding at an 18th century estate. Bagpipers led the couple to their ceremony, then guided guests to a reception offering a full oyster bar followed by dinner in a sailcloth tent. After dinner, the bride surprised her groom by hopping onstage to play drums with the band.


“Free-Spirited Musical Extravaganza in NOLA”
Kristin Banta Events, Studio City, Calif.
Inspired by the 1970s free-spirited style of Fleetwood Mac songbird Stevie Nicks plus with the sultry ambiance of New Orleans’ French Quarter, this wedding set at the New Orleans Museum of Art featured a dusk ceremony in the sculpture garden under Spanish moss, an opium den-inspired cocktail reception, and a surprise after-party glowing with neon inside the museum. A three-hour concert was kicked off by the newlyweds’ “first song”—the 1990s hit “Ballroom Blitz”—and featured an all-star line-up of family and friends, all professional performers and musicians.


“Modern Minimalist Wedding in Carmel”
Kristin Banta Events, Studio City, Calif.
Underscoring the couple’s effortless style, this modern minimalist wedding combined hard with soft in a luxe, neutral palette featuring industrial textures and organic accents. Held at Carmel Valley Ranch’s [Calif.] hilltop setting with its jaw-dropping views, the fashion-forward ceremony incorporated a prism frame strung with copper pendants and showcased a collection of Belgian rugs and concrete blocks topped with baby’s breath and parrot tulips. After the ceremony, guests settled into plush banquettes for sunset cocktails, followed by a reception featuring a luxurious collection of tablescapes, a custom dance floor, and a pendant installation overhead.


“Choksi-Patel Ballroom Wedding”
Something Fabulous, Detroit
With guests from all around the world, this Indian wedding extravaganza aimed to create an atmosphere that felt like home for the couple and their 400 guests. From a 24-hour hospitality suite to live entertainment, guests were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime experience to celebrate the couple’s marriage. Careful planning made the most of resources; for example, the mandap was repurposed as a dessert stage with cotton candy hanging from the mandap structure.



“Amway Achievers 2018”
Hello! Nashville Destination Management, Nashville, Tenn
Some 5,000 guests poured into Nashville, Tenn., for the only incentive program that Amway hosts in North America. As Nashville was a new, smaller destination for the group—and a city better known for bar-hopping than family-friendly events--the team wove a “Reflections of Tennessee” storyline throughout the program. Over the week, the event showcased the city’s natural Southern charm and world-famous venues, all while incorporating events suitable for both children and adults


“SHRM Annual Conference 2019”
INVNT, New York
The SHRM Annual Conference is a must-attend for human resources professionals seeking to enhance their skills, stay abreast of the latest trends, get certified or re-certified, and engage in networking activities. Central to this experience are the conference’s four general sessions, which in 2019 featured four engaging set designs, the latest tech, and talent ranging from Lionel Richie and Martha Stewart to Brene’ Brown and Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie.


“Walmart Associate and Shareholders Meeting”
LEO Events, Memphis, Tenn.
Combining elements of a Grammy Award-level spectacular with general sessions, the annual Walmart Associate and Shareholders Meeting gives management a unique opportunity to share future plans with 14,000 associates from around the world. In June, Walmart associates gathered in Fayetteville, Ark., for a week-long celebration, beginning with business-unit meetings for associates, followed by a concert night and concluding with the associate and shareholders meeting. Here, a group of Walmart associates from around the world performed an opening number that showcased talents including singing, dancing, and instrument playing, then announced the host of the show, actress Jennifer Garner.


“Enchanted Woodland Wedding on the Lake”
Jaclyn Watson Events, New York, and Drape Art Designs, Wakefield, R.I.
For a wedding staged at the bride’s family farm on the shores of Lake Champlain in New England, the event team’s goal was to unite the elements of land, sea and sky, echoing the natural beauty of the space in the event design. Layers of light strands suspended above the clear-top tent created a vivid night sky, while unique light installations helped guests flow from the main tent to smaller lounge areas. From macramé hammocks strung between trees to a handcrafted driftwood chuppah, each detail helped set the stage for a stunning celebration.


“Private Waterfront Wedding”
Stamford Tent and Event Services, Stamford, Conn.
Despite site challenges that included rocky, uneven ground and an infinity pool that had to be covered to accommodate the 250 guests, the event team created an installation that functioned as an extension of the bride’s family home. A fully floored 15- by-30-meter Losberger structure for dining and dancing with an open 16- by-50-foot open front porch connected to a 52- by-52-foot floored deck erected over a swimming pool. An integral dormer facilitated the connection and created an elegant entry foyer for the dining tent.


“Circus World Celebration--Under the Big Top”
The RK Group, San Antonio
This 95th “birthday spectacular” celebrated a beloved mother, business pioneer and community leader. The circus-themed event keyed on the three-ring tents of old, with guests transitioning into three separate, spectacular tented environments supported with more than a half dozen smaller tents used for operations. The three primary tents were a 30- by-50-meter clearspan structure, a 50-meter round tent, and a 40- by-60-meter clearspan structure


“Phish New Year's Eve Concert”
Future Affairs Productions, Pawtucket, R.I.
For the lucky 22,000 who scored a ticket to Phish’s sold-out concert on New Year’s Eve in New York, a highlight was the theatrics at midnight. Cued to lyrics in the song “Mercury,” a red stage wash showcased a four-minute rain of red rose petals floating down from the ceiling across the front of the stage. At midnight, the “Mercury” theme came to life with a balloon drop of thousands of silver orbs resembling beads of mercury.


“Walmart Associate and Shareholders Meeting”
LEO Events, Memphis, Tenn.
Combining elements of a Grammy Award-level spectacular with general sessions, the annual Walmart associates and shareholders meeting is a unique opportunity for management to share future plans with thousands of associates from around the world. A centerpiece of the 2019 meeting was a 44-foot turntable set center stage, permitting informative sessions to be presented onstage while the back half of the rotating stage was prepped for entertainment segments. Surprise performances from Lady Antebellum, Bebe Rexha, Neon Trees, Maren Morris and One Republic kept the energy high during the three-hour live show.


“TransLink's Transport 2050”
MRG Events, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Creative Others, Vancouver, British Columbia
TransLink’s regional transportation strategy, Transport 2050, was promoted with a major activation at the Pacific National Exhibition, which attracted more than 200,000 people. To accomplish the goal of determining public transportation needs in the future, the event team built a 3-D-printed scale model of metro Vancouver in 2050, which was mounted on a media table comprising nine LED screens and animated with visuals, music and narrative to tell the story of transportation--past, present and future. The team also created a virtual reality experience immersing users in a leisurely transit ride of the future.


“Apollo 50: Go for the Moon”
Linder Global Events, Washington
The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution collaborated with the event team to make the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing an out-of-this-world experience. The public event hosted an audience of more than 500,000 attendees over the course of the program, presenting a 17-minute show combining full-motion projection-mapping to re-create the launch of Apollo 11. Highlights included a full-size image of the Saturn V rocket projected onto the Washington Monument


“Disney L.A. Screenings”
Russell Harris Event Group, North Hollywood, Calif.
With the mega media deal of Disney buying Fox, last year’s upfronts took on an entirely new face and format. To accommodate the studio’s expanding needs, the event team turned two sound stages into two very different environments for delegations of buyers and media from Asia, Europe, South America and the United States. Despite a tight turnaround time, the stages were transformed into a custom-built theater and a fully functioning restaurant.


“BMW Vision iNEXT World Flight”
VOK DAMS Events, Wuppertal, Germany
Inspired by Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days," the event team took the BMW Vision iNEXT to media representatives in four cities on three continents within five days. “BMW iNEXT World Flight” featured a cargo plane converted into a high tech, futuristic stage. Surrounded by an impressive 360-degree light and media installation and presented on a built-in turntable, the program offered some 400 journalists from around the world the experience of the concept vehicle at virtually same moment


“Passport to Luxury”
Hello! Arizona Destination Management, Scottsdale, Ariz.
The Pella President’s Club “Winner Dinner” was a special incentive celebration for the client’s top-tier sales group, so all attendees and guests had to feel special. The event team designed a four-hour event centered on entertainment, as the “flight crew” took the 33 VIPs on the inaugural voyage of “Pella Air Flight 001.” Guests were whisked away on the trip of a lifetime--without ever leaving their first-class seats--jet-setting around the world to enjoy cuisine from iconic destinations including Greece, Morocco and France.


“Investment Aktuell 2019: Life Counts”
Insglück, Berlin
Every year, Union Investment provides the directors of its partner banks with insights into innovative topics at its annual flagship event: InvestmentAktuell. This year, the program took the theme of the numbers that rule of our lives—from simple phone numbers to complex data—and showed the incredible power numbers have to shape and enrich our lives. According to the motto of “Life Counts,” the theme of the campaign was translated into a multi-sensory experience designed to amaze, amuse and inspire.


“Fusion of Past and Future”
Sensix Communications and Events, Montreal, and Manina World, Montreal 
A Vision EQ electric concept car--inspired by a 1930s Mercedes-Benz championship model--guided the event team’s design for an immersive “Fusion of Past and Future” luxury brand experience during the Montreal F1 race. Nonstop performances fused retro and modernistic fashion, music and dance with race-car greeters dressed in metallic fabric, flappers in LED dresses, a tap-dancing/beat-boxing number, a jazz quartet with 1930s interpretations of current hits, and 7-foot tall ambassadors roaming for photos--all set against a backdrop of live IMAG transformed into electrifying screen visuals in real time.



“Who Runs The World? Girls!”
Bravo! Entertainment, Dallas
For an international beauty company’s big annual event, the event team put together a custom entertainment package empowering women. The production comprised 4,000 square feet of stage, 1,000 hours of rehearsals, 40 performances in two weeks, 111 cast members from all over the United States, custom, interactive content on 12 LED screens, 500-plus costumes, 175 interactive props, 32,000 attendees--and one custom Scottish tartan. From the opening production number and surprise product reveals to celebrations and inspirational pieces, every moment of the entertainment was strategically created to reflect the brand, celebrate success, and motivate top salespeople.


“100 Year Anniversary Celebration”
Corinthian Events, Boston
To celebrate 100 successful years of a family-owned company and its loyal employees, the event started as what seemed to be an ordinary company party. But during the welcome, the curtains pulled back to reveal a band playing songs from “The Greatest Showman.” Some 25 circus acts exploded onto the stage and from around the venue, delighting and amazing the crowd.


“2019 IRF Invitational”
360 Destination Group Florida, Hollywood, Fla.
This multi-day event included networking, education and destination-showcase experiences to foster relationships with 200-plus buyers/decision-makers from incentive companies and corporations, along with top supplier organizations. The event team crafted the program around “The Art of The Experience” theme and incorporated a record number of entertainment components, from the welcome through the final night. Entertainment elements included acts celebrating Miami neighborhoods and an indoor beach party.


“The ICONSIAM City Opening Mega Phenomena”
Index Creative Village, Bangkok
To celebrate the opening of the Iconsiam City development, the event team created a 30-minute show for more than 550,000 guests. Keying on the theme of “the best of Thailand meeting the best of the world,” the program combined traditional Thai culture with innovative new technologies and world-class contemporary performances, including 1,500 drones, 45 LED drummers, and 200 student performers


“TUI Cruises ‘Mein Schiff 2’ Naming Ceremony”
Insglück, Berlin
The naming-ceremony show for this cruise ship featured explorers from throughout the ages in a spectacular mix of dance, music and acrobatics presented in five acts, each representing a continent. Installed on the pool deck, a mast fitted with LED lights transformed the modern cruise liner into a sailboat. A spectacular fireworks show in front of Lisbon’s Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge served as the grand finale


“SHRM Annual Conference 2019”
INVNT, New York
The SHRM Annual Conference is a must-attend for human resources professionals seeking to enhance their skills, stay abreast of the latest trends, get certified or re-certified, and engage in networking activities. Central to this experience are the conference’s four general sessions, which in 2019 featured four engaging set designs, the latest tech, and talent ranging from Lionel Richie and Martha Stewart to Brene’ Brown and Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie.


“50th Birthday Celebration”
Corinthian Events, Boston
Keying on the theme of “One Night in Singapore,” the event team oversaw the buy-out of a local Southeast Asian restaurant for a birthday bash for 110 guests. Challenged with transforming the public space, the team skillfully covered intrusive windows with cling, and used extensive florals to add atmosphere. The chef went all out with a wide array of appetizers, a build-your-own bahn mi station, and custom cocktails.


“Bon Voyage”
Eclectic Events International, Toronto
This retirement party reflected the honoree's personal life and his passions, which include travel, art, animals, food and music. Three food stations focused on some of his favorite destinations including Peru, Hawaii and Tuscany. Paying homage to his love of art and travel, an artist created a custom 4- by-6-foot canvas before the eyes of the guests; it was presented at the conclusion of the event.



“Roses Are Pink 70th Birthday Party”
WM Events, Atlanta
On the lawn behind a private home, the team created an outdoor experience reminiscent of the Italian countryside to celebrate the honoree’s 70th birthday. A “Midsummer Night’s Dream” theme combined rustic romance and wedding-style accents at this intimate gathering for 30 guests, which appealed to multiple generations. After dining beneath market lights and grapevine balls at a single row of weathered farm tables, guests enjoyed a mini casino and more time to toast the birthday girl.


“An Adventure”
Events Man, Hong Kong
Guests at this three-day extravaganza started at the Ritz Paris for champagne and high tea, and by 5 p.m. were onboard the Venice Simplon-Orient Express. The 24-hour train journey included gourmet meals, fine wines and a rollicking party that rolled through four countries. Upon arrival in Venice, guests were whisked to the Hotel Cipriani and a masquerade ball featuring a performance by Kylie Minogue.


“The Magic of Music and Literature”
Kristin Banta Events, Studio City, Calif.
Two years in the planning, this b’nai mitzvah showcased the twins’ unique personalities by highlighting their individual passions and talents, largely focusing on literature and classical music. In order to captivate kids and adults alike, the event team developed an innovative, experiential concept that transported guests into a whimsical setting from the moment they entered the event. Music and literature were brought to life as instruments and books took flight throughout the space.


“Circus World Celebration--Under the Big Top”
The RK Group, San Antonio
Celebrating 95th birthday of a beloved mother, business pioneer and community leader, this event took 850 guests back to a World War II-era victory party, then to a mid-20th century circus. Three immersive environments were created in three main event tents, supported by half a dozen secondary tents in a site offering little infrastructure. Entertainment ranged from three dozen authentic circus performers, Indian elephants and WWII-style bands to country legend Lee Greenwood.


“Facebook Creators Lounge at VidCon 2019”
Gallagher, Los Angeles
Facebook has hosted a Creators Lounge for several years at VidCon, one of the largest conventions in the world for social media creators. To offer an elevated experiential atmosphere along with highlighting the new platform launch--the Facebook Creator Studio, which provides audio and video production tools to create content in Facebook--the event team created a video production studio that included editors, so that professional videos could be shot and edited on-site.


“SAP’s Design to Operate Eye Control Showcase”
MCI Deutschland, Berlin
The SAP vision of “Intelligent Enterprise” was staged at the 2019 Hanover Trade Fair through an interactive storytelling concept focusing on the “Digital Supply Chain.” The goal was to use a target group product to make the networked competencies of SAP tangible. Using AR guided only by eye control, the viewer was enabled to intuitively dive into three dimensions at the same time, and experience a constant interplay of the real exhibit and its “digital twin.”


BMW Vision iNEXT World Flight
VOK DAMS Events, Wuppertal, Germany
Inspired by Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days," the event team took the BMW Vision iNEXT to media representatives in four cities on three continents within five days. “BMW iNEXT World Flight” featured a cargo plane converted into a high tech, futuristic stage. Surrounded by an impressive 360-degree light and media installation and presented on a built-in turntable, the program offered some 400 journalists from around the world the experience of the concept vehicle at virtually the same moment.


Birch Aquarium at Scripps
San Diego
Located high on a bluff with dramatic ocean views, this one-of-a-kind facility includes more than 60 diverse marine habitats and features a stunning two-story giant kelp forest. At more than 30,000 square feet, the facility can accommodate up to 1,500 guests with multiple setup configurations. From an intimate dinner for 15 in front of the kelp forest to a bash for 1,500 that takes full advantage of the venue’s nontraditional setting, guests are able to explore ocean habitats, get hands-on with science, and enjoy some of the best ocean views in southern California.


Keep Memory Alive Event Center
Las Vegas
Designed by superstar architect Frank Gehry, the venue offers a 9,800-square-foot Event Center with capacity for 400 seated and 700 standing; this figure rises to 1,500 once outdoor spaces are included. All told, the center offers 68,000 total square feet of interior space. Event proceeds benefit Keep Memory Alive, which supports the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.


The Armory
Dating back to the 1930s, this iconic venue is an historic landmark in the heart of Minneapolis. The indoor/outdoor space is designed to offer maximum options for customization and scalability, with the ability to accommodate groups from 25 to 8,000 guests, offering top-flight event management, catering, and audiovisual and production capabilities.


“Curtain Call Ball”
BeEvents, Minneapolis
As the first social soiree of the fall and the biggest fundraiser of the year, the Curtain Call Ball brings 450 social and corporate patrons together to benefit the Children’s Theatre Co. Working with only a tagline this year, the event team imagined a Marie Antoinette-inspired palace with rich colors and textures, then added a dash of punk-rock attitude for a truly magical experience. With hand-drawn art, living decor, gilded castles and mythical mazes, the team designed an event fit for the nobles of Versailles.


“Fantasy Forest”
To Be Designed, San Diego
For this 300-person sit-down dinner, the team’s objective was to tell a complex story based entire on design. The team had three goals: to convey the growth of the client--a law firm celebrating its 10th year; to include the firm’s and its clients’ earth-friendly interests; and to create a beautiful, one-of-a-kind dinner in a museum setting. The design theme developed from small greenery touches at the entrance and ended with a dinner in a magical, overgrown woodland where stunning imagery of the world’s major forests surrounded the guests.


“Petite Forêt”
Wei Zhang, Beijing
A bridal couple realized their dream of a unique wedding when the event team created an exquisite forest inside a banquet hall. Using only natural elements—including living trees—the preparation schedule took a full five months. The event team used 360-degree immersive design in a traditional hotel banquet hall to create the breathtaking setting.

BEST DECOR: TOTAL DECOR BUDGET 250,000 to $500,000

19-01_CSI_Alice _USE.jpg
“Alice in Wonderful Orlando”
CSI DMC, Falls Church, Va.
Just like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole, guests were delighted by this immersive event themed to Alice in Wonderland. The event team brought three event spaces to life with a cohesive, interactive design for 1,300 attendees. The whimsical event asked guests to follow the White Rabbit to visit the Caterpillar and the Red Queen’s Croquet Court, sip tea with the Mad Hatter, and celebrate VIPs in the Enchanted Garden.


“San Francisco Symphony Opening Night Gala”
Got Light, San Francisco, and Blueprint Studios, San Francisco
The San Francisco Symphony opening night gala drew more than 3,000 attendees to celebrate conductor Michael Tilson Thomas’ 25th and final season as music director. The event featured six unique venues for attendees, including four dinner spaces, a street party, and a backstage VIP lounge. The exclusive Patrons’ Pavilion dinner tent featured eight stunning chandeliers and transformed from dinner service into a dance party.


“Holiday Party”
USAA, San Antonio
Some 23,000 attendees entered a wonderland forest, falling down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by fanciful creatures. After interacting with Alice, the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts, guests ventured into three exhibit halls to enjoy a live performance by legendary rock and roll band Journey. Others ventured to the third floor and into a Mad Hatter Holiday--a fun and funky space complete with curved spandex screens, video projection, and a giant crazy clock illuminating the dance floor.



MGM Resorts Event Productions, Las Vegas
For a surprise party celebrating a milestone birthday for a high-profile client, the 200 VIP guests went on an unforgettable journey through three distinct celebration experiences. The hotel ballroom setting--a 17,542-square-foot space--was completely reimagined and transformed into separate rooms: a cocktail reception area, a sit-down dinner space, and a high-end club. Once the elaborate floor to ceiling decor was installed, not an inch of the walls nor the convention room carpeting was visible


“Ski Chalet Holiday Soiree”
Silhouette Group, New York
It was a chilly December night in Austin, Texas, as 500 guests walked through the unassuming doors of an airport hangar into the base of a snowy mountain in a ski village. After cocktails, a grand doorway entrance led to dinner, where guests were transported to the top of the mountain and inside the dining room of the ski chalet. Guests found their seats at king dining tables, where elaborate runners of florals, greenery, fairy lights, birch wooden stubs and surprise elements such as antlers drew “oohs” and “aahs” from guests.


“Come Fly with Me”
Southwest Conference Planners, Scottsdale, Ariz., and M Group Scenic Studios, Scottsdale, Ariz.
For an event where a typical desert experience wouldn’t do, the event team designed an evening inspired by luxury air travel from the 1950s and ’60s. A hangar was transformed into a vintage international flight experience with custom-built scenic fuselages perched on illuminated acrylic platforms and lounge spaces featuring soft leather and sleek high-backed seating. Video projections on the walls drew the space in and provided engaging content via video, lithograph and silhouetted images of maps and planes.


“TRBOT 131st Annual Dinner”
Fifth Element Group, Toronto
With “innovation” as the theme of the 131st annual Board of Trade dinner attended by top business leaders and politicians, the event team keyed on a custom centerpiece—a levitating lightbulb centerpiece—that was a showstopper. Each table featured custom-printed and die-cut charger mats with printed technology nodes to underscore the event’s branding objectives. The event ended with dignitaries onstage for a confetti drop to celebrate the board’s 175th year.


“Haus Laboratories Brand Product Launch Party”
Gallagher, Los Angeles
Founded by Lady Gaga, Haus Laboratories prides itself on not being “just another beauty brand,” so the event team celebrated this approach with avant-garde settings and a guest list to match. The hangar venue was broken into activity zones including a laboratory-themed makeup trial store, an elevated gastronomy experience, celebrity lounge, VIP DJ booth area, fully functioning night club, backstage lounge, and VIP trailer green for Gaga. A light show heralded Gaga’s entrance and opening speech, which concluded with a kabuki drop that revealed the makeup lab.


“Luma Park”
Verve the Live Agency, Dublin
To enliven a dark winter night, Google’s holiday party for 3,500 was designed as a playground of light where guests could immerse themselves in art, technology and unforgettable experiences. Highlights included a Glitter Room, the Ready Set Glow room complete with its own LED entrance arch, and an industrial bubble machine releasing 9,000 haze-filled bubbles per minute throughout the main stage performance. Because the nearly 300-year-old venue had no catering facilities, the team installed four kitchen areas, along with gas and water connections.


“The ICONSIAM City Opening Mega Phenomena”
Index Creative Village, Bangkok
Excitement about the opening of this $1.5 billion mixed-use project, including one of the largest shopping malls in Asia, grew after photos of rehearsals leaked to the public. Photos of a stunning ceremony that threw the spotlight on the “lotus” structure of the development were front-page news on every major news outlet and on the social media feeds of Thailand’s best-known influencers, cementing the development as a household name in Thailand.


“World Premiere Porsche 911 "Timeless Machine"
Pure Perfection, Wiesbaden, Germany
Porsche founder Ferry Porsche’s notion of the “timeless machine” became the guiding principle and content source for the press launch of the latest model 911 for both live and online audiences. The event team created a time tunnel--250 meters long and 25 meters wide--as the launch stage for a retrospective journey showcasing the eight generations of the 911. The hybrid staging worked for the live audience of 400 as well as the 2.4 million viewers online.


“BMW Vision iNEXT World Flight”
VOK DAMS Event Group, Wuppertal, Germany
Instead of bringing the global press to the presentation venue, BMW decided to spin the usual concept around and bring the iNEXT to the press instead. The BMW iNEXT World Flight was an industry first: a cargo plane converted into a high-tech, futuristic stage. Surrounded by an impressive 360-degree light and media installation and presented on a built-in turntable, the display enabled some 400 journalists from around the world to experience the concept vehicle at virtually the same moment.


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