One of my favorite things to design is immersive environments. Seamless design should feel as though it belongs and when good design really congeals it creates a one-of-a-kind environment where you can’t tell where the event design starts or stops. It just feels like it belongs.
While I love to create these types of environments for weddings, I recently had the opportunity to take a departure from the nuptial design that I am accustomed to, in order to create a statement experience as part of the International Live Event Association’s annual conference called ILEA Live. I was the co-chair for the ILEA Esprit Awards Gala, which is the equivalent of the Academy Awards in the special events industry. In my upcoming series of articles I’d love to share with you some of the design elements that we incorporated into this event experience. You can use the same principles to seamlessly integrate design into your own wedding and through this series you might also find a few resources that you can utilize to create your celebration.
First, our team defined an event theme. I use the term theme with caution, because for many it conjures up thoughts of theme parties; think gangster, princess and tropical fiesta! ABSOLUTELY NOT! When I think of theme, I think or something that is more abstract – the story that ties the event together. For the Esprit Awards Gala, we wanted to create an event that had a multitude of individualized experiences. Hosted at the Walker Art Center we saw an opportunity to leverage the unique angular spaces and transition guests throughout the museum. We defined this as a fractured journey that would be full of surprises, naming the event concept Curiosity Fractured.
As with any event design, I like to evaluate the opportunity to instill graphic elements into the event space. With this intriguing theme we defined seven separate spaces at the Walker that we would activate throughout the evening. We felt that these spaces would be opened like secret rooms; which helped define our graphic treatment for the invitations for the event as well as a series of on-site graphics. Our design centered on a collection of seven doors opening into something mysterious.
I took the graphic concept to something three-dimensional in the passage way between event spaces. Utilizing the trapezoid benches in the Hennepin Lobby, I envisioned the benches to represent the shadows of our doorways and created dimensional door frame and doors to enliven this walk-through environment.
Graphics would help define the journey through the museum and also represent each of the distinct areas. The ‘journey’ graphics would emphasize the sense of wonder.
The graphics which defined each of the event spaces would set the stage for each immersion.
I loved how the bold graphics helped define the event and during the execution of the event, I thought this was a wonderful, impactful and relatively inexpensive way to make a big impact at a wedding. From an oversized ‘art-piece’ of the couple as a backdrop to the ceremony (think artsy engagement photo) or large black and white photos of special life moments as the decor at the reception. I think the use if these printed panels have so many applications.
I hope you are inspired to think differently about how you can infuse your event with a sense of wonder and I look forward to sharing additional ideas from Curiosity Fractured in just a few more weeks. Watch for part 2!
All my best –