Showcase: The Love Ball Fundraiser - Charity melts hearts in a winter palace

Guests braved sub-zero Russian temperatures to raise money at a supermodel's gala event.

What was the event? Titled The Love Ball, the event raised money for Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova's children's playground charity, the Naked Heart Foundation. It was held at the Tsaritsyno Palace estate in Moscow on St Valentine's Day, and 400 guests, including Chelsea footballer Andrei Shevchenko and pop star Natalie Imbruglia, helped raise more than EUR4m (£3m).

How was the event structured? The grandeur of the snow-covered palace provided the perfect setting for the winter wonderland-themed event. Arriving guests were driven through the sweeping grounds and ushered into the main building, where they enjoyed a champagne and canape reception in the opulent ballroom.

When all the guests had arrived, they were directed out through the palace and across a bridge that led to a temporary structure. This was hidden by a 60-metre long ice-carving that disguised the structure, replicating a traditional Russian palace, and giving the illusion that everyone was walking into an ice palace. Inside, there were Russian-style decorations and table centres, while white satin was used to decorate the venue's walls and real silver birch trees enhanced the winter wonderland theme.

A stage with a purpose-built screen was positioned facing the tables, and was used for an auction that included items such as a heart-shaped sculpture from Damien Hirst, which fetched more than EUR1m (£750,000). When the auction and the three-course dinner had finished, a screen lifted to reveal a performing area and gig stage, which hosted a 12-person Bolshoi ballet, a Moroccan drummer and music from Emmanuelle and Razorlight.

Who was behind the event? Agency Eventica brought Event Concept on board to produce the event, who in turn employed the expertise of florist Veevers Carter. The rest of the companies, including caterer Novikov, temporary structure specialist Roder, ice sculptor Kirill Bair and projection company M-Concert, were sourced locally.

What were the highlights? The clever dressing of a large, four-legged lighting truss, which had to be placed on the floor in the middle of the venue, was impressive. It couldn't be attached to the ceiling for fear that its weight, combined with that of the snow on the roof, might prove disastrous. There was also a danger that the truss would look ugly, but Event Concept made it part of the winter wonderland theme by dressing it with mirrored facia. On the entertainment front, Razorlight, who performed for free, did not disappoint.

SUPPLIER FILE
Eventica
www.eventica.co.uk
(020) 7183 2560

Event Concept
www.eventconcept.co.uk
(020) 7740 3988

Veevers Carter
www.veeverscarter.com
(020) 7237 8800

State Museum-Reserve
Tsaritsyno
www.tsaritsyno-museum.ru
+7 (495) 321 0743.


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