Installation to Inspiration

The lights go down, the doors swing open, and music starts to play softly in the background. Guest filter in, and as they do, they are stopped dead in their tracks. Jaws sag open. One word is repeated around the ballroom… “Wow.”

It’s the moment most event planners live for – the moment when all expectations go out the window because what you’ve created is a little piece magic.

It isn’t about the flowers or the linens or the lighting. (Okay, maybe it’s a little bit about the lighting.) The Wow Moment happens when you design something so unexpected that guests are left asking, “How did they do that?” or, my favorite, “Who would even think of that?”

Inspiration for creating these “Wow” moments can come from so many places. Here are some fantastic art installations that were meant to challenge the viewer’s perception of reality and space. It includes aerials of temporary designs in beaches, a gorilla made of coat hangers, a mountain of chairs, and ice people melting on concrete steps.

I’m also including photos of events designed by David Stark, who is famous for his event art installations. Here you will see his use of chair cushions, sticky notes, paint chips, shredded paper, colored towels, and more.

 

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3D Video Mapping

One of the hottest trends in the event world is 3D Video Mapping.

Video Mapping is a new projection technology used to turn irregularly shaped objects like building exteriors, ceilings, or even trees into a display surface for projection. Using special software, an irregular space is mapped out in a virtual environment. The software can interact with a projector to fit any desired image onto the surface of that object. Projection artists can add extra dimensions, optical illusions, and movement onto the projection surface. The video is usually combined with audio to create an audio-visual narrative. (wiki)

With skepticism growing surrounding even outdoor pyrotechnics, 3D video mapping seems like a great, updated replacement for the traditional post-event fireworks display.

Here’s a link to a video of two buildings being mapped. It’s pretty incredible!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDHfa03XzaM

 

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New Pantone Colors Spill Into Events

You may be wondering how what happens on the runways in Paris can possibly effect what your tables wear at your next event, but the Event Design World takes many of its queues from the world of fashion.

Is it any surprise that the textile companies and florists watch runways, too? When you see wedding bouquets wrapped in aluminum sheeting instead ribbon or the clash opposing print linens with similar color palettes, what you are really seeing is undertones of design houses like Dior, Chanel, and Donna Karen.

What’s next for event fashion? Pantone has made its color trends predictions for the spring and has announced that 2013 will be dominated by the color Emerald. I’ve added some design pics using the Pantone palette, which I hope inspires you to be bold with what appears to be a mostly pale palette.

In the end, it’s your own personal color story that matters. In the words of Lauren Hutton, “Fashion is what is offered four times a year by designers. Style is what you choose.”

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10 Hot New Event Trends for 2012

   The event world is looking forward to some pretty exciting things in 2012! The economy is looking a little better and budgets are starting to relax a bit, but companies are still seeking event components that do double duty by keeping their guests entertained and contributing to the overall theme.  Also on the event must-have list are new event apps and truly unique entertainment. So, here are the Event Diva’s top picks for 2012. Let me know if you have anything ideas to share for the new year

1. Retro Technotainment

The old arcade games that we see in hospitality suites everywhere are starting to get new, tech-savvy upgrades like this suped-up version of Pac-man that has room for three players at the same time.  You can also find a large-scale version of Connect Four and a six foot high programmable robot that looks like the love child of Rosie from the Jetson’s and Robot from Lost In Space. He reportedly is a big hit at cocktail parties and can easily mingle with guests. If you are a hard-core arcade buff and enjoy the classics like Centipede and Pinball, retro interactive games a hot way to spice up your event.

2. Video Invitations

We’ve all sent E-Vites. They’re a great, environment friendly way to drum up attendance at an event. But they are easy to mistake for junk mail and, because of the social disconnect involved in sending email invitations, don’t invoke a lot of interest with potential guests. That’s why video invitations have made the “Hot” list for 2012. Sites like www.VideoInvitations.netmake it easy for you to pick a template and insert your own video. Imagine your employees receiving a personal invitation from your CEO to attend your convention or retreat! Check out this really great wedding invitation video…http://vimeo.com/6889553

3. Custom Event Apps

Companies like www.Apps4Events.comare starting to offer custom-built apps compatible for any smart phone that can send guests event reminders, help them find vendors in your trade show, or even register them for your convention remotely! As a frequent trade show attendee, this Diva would love to have a little GPS help navigating the wilds of the trade show floor!

4. Living Event Decor

I know you’ve seen this one on my list before, but I can’t help myself! Whether it’s waiters dressed to fit the event theme,  lovely showgirls at a casino event (www.ClassicEventsInc.com), or aerialists dripping from chandeliers, using people as part of the decor is also a great way to entertain.

5. Recycled Event Decor

Use your client’s product to add decor to their event like these gorgeous chandeliers. They are just paint chips provided by a popular national paint company for their event.   

6. Nuttin But Stringz and Fighting Gravity

You might have seen them on America’s Got Talent,  now you can book them for your event! The brothers Escobar mix hip-hop with Vivaldi in one of the most interesting performances you’ve ever seen. It’s about as unexpected and unique as corporate talent gets, except for maybe another America’s Got Talent alum, Fighting Gravity, seen here…

8. Haute Couture Chairs

Event Furniture Rental Companies like Luxe Event Rentals and Modern Chair Rentals are taking chair design to the extreme! Find retro-modern chair design at it’s finest by searching either of their online catalogs, or check out the inflatable Blofield furniture. It’s elegant, lightweight, sturdy, and easy on the shipping charges!

 

9.Luna Transformations

Also a new self-illuminated line of furniture is a classy, yet creative way to spice up your lounge-themed bar or event. They come in a variety of retro light-filtering designs and colors.

10. QR Craze

   Most of your event attendees are pretty tech-savvy and expect to have their events integrated. It’s easier than you think! Add a QR code to the printed material. Search for a free QR code generator online and simply copy and paste! Draw attendees to your company website, Twitter page, or have it lead to a video you’ve posted online! If you’ve never used a QR code before, just pull up your bacode scanner (standard on most smart phones) and scan the barcode above to see how it works.

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Have a Purple Cow at Your Event

What in the world is a Purple Cow and why would you want one at your event? The answer is simple. A Purple Cow is that special, unusual, sometimes even shocking event element that makes your guests do a double-take. In short, a Purple Cow is the “Wow-factor”.  There’s no better way to ensure the success of your event than by giving your guests the gift of a new experience.

Keep in mind, your Purple Cow doesn’t have to cost you the farm, but if you do have a little wiggle room in your budget, here are a few great Purple Cows.

 www.robostilts.com  ROBOSTILTS combines glowing futuristic costuming, props and stilt walking, innovative concepts and impressive skill to create awe inspiring and original entertainment.  Imagine an alien invasion of intergalactic circus performers.

 www.sandstory.com/  Sand Animation – Sand scattered on a light box is formed and reformed into ever changing shapes and images that tell visually powerful stories. Set to music they inspire, challenge and motivate in a captivating way.

Strolling Tables from www.castofthousands.com combines living décor with couture table design. Women, whose skirts serve as your cocktail or buffet tables, can customize their costumes and make up to reflect almost any theme. Here’s a video of a geisha strolling table.    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbPIzmJybVs&feature=related

The Champagne Chandelier, also from www.ChampagneShowgirls.com , is a live acrobat suspended upside down in the center of a chandelier of champagne bottles. Performing above the guests heads, she dances and pours champagne directly into the attendees’ flutes. Here’s video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjWpDjURCXw&feature=related

If you guys have any Purple Cow suggestions, please let us know!

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Ice: The Hottest Component of Summer Events

In the 80′s ice sculptures hit the event world with a bang! Every wedding, gala, anniversary, and graduation had one. Semi formal event, you say? Start at the ice scuplture and work your way down, dude!  Planners weren’t happy until every occasion featured a set of linked ice hearts or a bowing ice swan. Remember (Oh, for shame!) the bowing swans that form a heart?

Like that really cool, catchy song on the radio that you love the first fifty times you hear it and hate it the next two hundred and fifty times – Ice sculptures just got played out. Which is terrible, really, since there have always been some really talented Ice Artists out there.

Luckily, Ice Art is making a comeback in a major way. Gone are the passe sculptures of doves you used to encounter. Ice Artists are being commisioned to build sculptures that add a seriously cool twist to the hottest events. 

I’ve included some pictures of some really great ice features that made huge impacts. A whole salmon and perfectly pink salmon slices frozen in blocks of ice added interest to one London event. Standing human sculptures melt in the hot sun – a clever political statement at a forum on climate change.

The key, this diva thinks, is to use ice in a totally unexpected ways to make an impact, reinforce brand awareness, and create a sense of whimsy.

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Finding the WOW Factor

I love thumbing through books written by industry titans like Preston Bailey and David Tutera. Full-color event photo euphoria washes over me as I flip pages revealing event after amazing event. “How did they do that?” one might wonder, but more impotantly…How did they come up with that in the first place?

Event planners can find inspiration anywhere! The world of fashion, interior design, entertainment, and even nature can be a creative well-spring of ideas. Above, I’ve posted a few event photos from planners like Bailey and Tutera along with some photos of places they could have drawn their inspiration.

Sure, their apparently astronomical event budgets gives them an edge, but you can use the genius of the big names who write the books we all love to drool over. Find a decor element you find inspiring and put your own spin on it!

To get the creative juices flowing, check out th Event Outfitters  website. Event Outfitters is a new company that just launched into the event industry. They offer apparel and gifts for event professionals, but most impotantly – they have an entire selection of inspiring event books written by the Event Industry’s biggest stars. Each book has been approved by event planners with tons of experience in the event world.

 www.EventOutfittersOnline.com

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Avoid the Planning Pit Falls of the Company Christmas Party

It’s time to start planning the annual Christmas Party. It’s an event  when executives rub elbows with the guys who work the forklifts in the warehouse. It should be a time of cheer and good will toward men, but we who are responsible for pulling off a Whovillian chorus of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” while everyone in the company joins hands around the non-denominational Christmas Tree…well, we know better.

If the upcoming company festivities have you dreading the holidays, just follow these simple steps to minimize the season’s stress and pull off an event everyone will enjoy.

1. Kick the committee. 

Okay, not everyone has this luxury, but I highly recomend doing your best to convice your coworkers that, as much as you appreciate the help, it’s easier to keep track of all the details if you do it yourself. It’s hard enough to get everyone on the same page at the same time. Besides, everyone has a different idea of what’s fun! Better that one person (with event planning experience) take on the task of planning a Christmas party that has something for everyone.   

2. Get Real With Your Budget Limitations.

You know your budget. It really is okay to share it with your vendors. The vendors you have used in the past want to continue to foster their relationship with you. Repeat business rarely comes from taking advantage of your clients. If you tell your caterer you only have $XX.XX per person, your caterer will be able to give you a realistic expectation of a menu within that budget. Asking a vendor for a quote without giving them budget limitations means having to revise and re-revise proposals. That’s a huge time-waster you don’t need!

3. Go With A Theme and Make It Generic

A theme ties an event together. It determines a color palette and suggests activities. There are tons of great themes to go with at Christmastime, so have fun. Planners on a budget (and who isn’t?) should pick a very generic theme for their Christmas Party. “Rockwellian Christmas” sounds like a terrific theme, but finding reasonably priced decor might be a challenge. It would be better to go with something like “White Christmas” or “The North Pole”, both of which you could find decor at the nearest party supply store.

4. Take Time To Enjoy The Party!

You work hard to make everything perfect and the chances are good that you’ll be working equally hard at the Christmas Party. Be sure to take a few minutes to grab a glass of champagne and socialize. You deserve to kick it into low gear and take a bow!

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Chairs That Are Dressed to Impress

   You work so hard. You stretch your budget dollars. You stress about every little detail and then, when you finally finish the set-up of your event, you step back and realize something’s missing. You can’t really put your finger on what it is, but you know your decor has holes somewhere.

   Well, if your chairs are huddled around your tables like the popular clique of mean girls from your high school, you might want to start your decor critique with them. So often we work so hard to organize what goes on our tables that we forget that our chairs make the first impression. We simply stick a cover on them and tie a sash and call it done. With that kind of care, is it any wonder that those snobby chairs all sit with their backs turned?

   Make your chairs more sociable and inviting by adding a little extra character to each of them. It doesn’t have to cost you very much. Go to the discount accessory store and buy some cheap broaches to pin on them, or simply stick a feather in your chair sash’s knot. If you have zero wiggle room in your budget, take a few minutes to work out a creative way to tie the sash.

   Believe me, your chairs will thank you.

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All A-Twitter

Twitter is the new must-have for corporate conventions, charity galas, and sporting events. The seamless integration of the internet and the event world has more benefits than you might imagine.

With a little preparation, you can seek sponsors, advertise for your event, send RSVPs, build hype, and so much more. Best of all, you can do it for free! At your event, have your A/V company project a live Twitter Feed onto a screen and encourage your guests to tweet about the event.

The real-time feedback provided by  Twitter can also be used during seminars to ask questions of the speaker, critique content, and make comments.

Thank you to all of my readers who contually rate The Event Diva’s Blog as one of the most popular event planning blogs on www.Alltop.com

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