By Anna Sekula Posted March 4, 2011, 3:48 PM EST
To mark the forthcoming premiere of its new drama series Breakout Kings, A&E hosted a jailhouse-themed reception at Stage 37, putting 236 guests in an environment that echoed the cop-and-convict premise of the TV show. But rather than create an uncomfortably realistic replica of a detention facility for the event on Wednesday, March 2, the network opted to single out specific imagery and disperse those visual elements across the raw, warehouse-like space. The result was a setting more conceptual than overwhelmingly thematic.
To design and produce the event, A&E's publicity team tapped MKG, which employed lighting, furniture, room dividers, and subtle embellishments to loosely translate the look and feel of Breakout Kings.
Taking advantage of the venue's unadorned concrete surroundings, the producers set the tone by casting long shadows on the floor using custom gobos in the shape of barred prison windows. Bare-bulb hanging fixtures and a smattering of floor lamps provided illumination elsewhere and created a stark, institutional framework for the decor. Other hints of correctional facility paraphernalia included chain-link fencing installed behind the bars and the DJ booth, room dividers modeled after the two-way mirrors of interrogation rooms, and a plain stainless steel table for check-in. The team even decorated the tops of black cocktail tables with blueprint-style graphics as a a play on the name of the show.
However, the design wasn't entirely abstract—event staffers wore orange jumpsuits and a photo booth mimicked mugshots with a height chart and letter board. As a artful way to incorporate promotional footage of the show into the event, MKG placed video displays into plain metal booths and funneled the audio through telephone handsets, mimicking the stereotypical visitor cubicles found in prison.