An event plan is more than just a document that includes contacts, runsheets and site drawings. Truth be told, an event plan starts way before the first supplier is contacted or even considered. It begins with an overall vision for the event; everything that the event is about; why it is happening, who is it for and what type of experience are you looking to deliver. With the Athlete's Village handover event for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the vision was clear - a premium, stakeholder occasion that showcased the development, but equally, the character and uniqueness of the region. Guests needed to leave feeling like they had had a true Hinterland experience, and that the developer and the building acknowledged the local inspiration in all its colour and richness. This was the event plan.
Like no other, this property development event relied on our awareness of the key elements that make an event what it is, and then knowing the people or organisations that can deliver these to brief. First amongst these was - and often is - the food. Catering sets the tone for the evening and is often the one element people recall over all others. 'Local' was the key ingredient and essential to creating a unique experience. In this instance, we were aware of a former Masterchef finalist based in Queensland who was known for his bespoke menus created from local ingredients for corporate events. The food at this event was described by one of our senior team members as the best she had tasted "in 15 years of doing these types of events", and that is quite a statement considering her experience in experiential marketing. Mouth-watering Mooloolaba King prawns, a delicious cheese selection from nearby Woombye Farmhouse and a Buderim Ginger and mint infused signature cocktail were just some of the gastronomic delights on offer that night.
Decor and styling elements were given just as much attention. Designed to support the intense tones and bold architecture of the Athlete's Village, the furniture was elegant yet unobtrusive in quantity, placement and appearance. Floral arrangements inspired by Queensland coastal native grasses and Gold Coast succulents greeted guests and provided pops of muted colour, but also curated to play a supporting role to the building we were there to launch. Staff were hand-picked for their bubbly Queensland dispositions and fully briefed to converse informally with guests about the unique qualities of the food and signature mocktails.
Experiential touchpoints included some that were mandatory based on their importance to the development as well as some that were custom-built by our event designer. Created specifically for the internal hallways of the new building was a 96m continuous artwork inspired by the sun and moon cycle of the Queensland bush. Our client was keen to showcase this original work, but initially had only a rough idea of how to incorporate such a giant installation. The end result was a 300m square marquee, completely black to the sun that housed the work in a heightened, sense-deprived experience. One truly 'lived' this immersive artwork. Another priority for our client was showcasing the giant outdoor sculpture that sat adjacent to the event space. Designed specifically to represent the heart of the village precinct, the 60m installation was introduced to guests on the night through a dazzling lightshow that included a custom-built soundscape. The lightshow revealed and complimented the sculpture but was never so overpowering as to clash with the subtle throw lighting that washed the surrounding buildings. As an accomplished brand experience agency, we knew balance was always going to be required to ensure the true character of the development was conveyed to all.
Sensitivity was also called for when acknowledging and profiling the indigenous qualities of the project. A local elder performed a Welcome to Country followed by a Deadly Award-winning musician, from Queensland and respectful of the local tribal elders on whose ground she was performing. The journey to the 'art marquee' was made more authentic through the placement of an indigenous didgeridoo player en route, with the enchanting Australian bush sound drifting up through the cool twilight air being one of the most moving experiences of the night.