As part of a weekend-long event for a major high-street bank, we were asked by agency Conference Connections to design and produce the opening night party for 2,000 employees in Kensington Olympia's National Hall. We were given just six weeks lead time.
The initial brief was to create an event themed around the "four corners of the world". With such a large venue, one of the major challenges was trying to create the right atmosphere. For this we brought in draping expert Blackout to style the edges of the room and provide colours to replicate the flags of the four nations - China, Morocco, Italy and the United States - that we featured.
Guests entered the venue through a white box washed in subtle light, which featured the branding of the event dancing around the box through projection via gobos. The centrepiece of the venue was four giant flags, hung from a square truss to conceal a platform from which the bank's managing director was to speak. When the time came, the truss was lifted to reveal the stage and speaker.
To re-create the vibe of the four countries we brought in 300 props from Theme Traders. These included red and gold cushions, a giant 9ft Neptune sculpture and a working Italian fountain. The installation was completed with a white chill-out area on the balcony that included two posh coffee stations, known as baristas.
The production was complemented by interesting entertainment. Our client wanted the guests to be engaged at all times, so something interactive and exciting always had to be going on. To solve this we used more than 50 performers and produced a schedule that ensured non-stop performances throughout the party. These included magician Rajan and line-dancing lessons complete with cowboy and cowgirl dancers. In achieving this we were helped enormously by entertainment agency Sternberg Clarke, which demonstrated its ability to source a large proportion of the acts within just two weeks.
The technical aspect of the event was exceptionally demanding. We needed a bespoke sound system that would allow each world corner to have themed music, while the lighting scheme was designed to highlight the key props and to splash each corner in a distinct light. For this we had to use more than 80 moving headlights to create dramatic animated effects throughout the space.
On the food and drink front, the in-house catering team provided regional cuisine such as noodle boxes in China and earthenware bowls for Morocco.
These were complemented by more than 5,000 cocktails created by mixologist Manhattan Transfer. This, and the global feel of the whole event, put the 2,000 guests in the right mood for the rest of the weekend.