By Anna Sekula Posted April 5, 2012, 11:35 AM EDT
As a way to introduce its four new printers to the press, small-business owners, and other key customers, Hewlett-Packard turned a raw west Chelsea space into a makeshift lab and color-coded showcase based around the CMYK color model. The design scheme for the event, which took over the Glasshouses at the Chelsea Arts Tower on March 28, wasn't just a decorative tool, but also a way for the company to emphasize the thermal process and app- and cloud-enabled technology of its inkjet products.
Dubbed “This Is an Experiment in Color,” the gathering, produced and designed by ExtraExtra, invited some 300 attendees to test the printers in a series of interactive experiments. Physically, the space was divided into four monochromatic vignettes, each representing a particular CMYK hue, and included a photo booth with a wireless printer, an educational area with a self-proclaimed “inkologist,” a section where attendees could create storyboards by hand or digitally, and a small screening room. The latter was for a video the producers commissioned to act as an extension of the event, interviewing entrepreneurs about the impact and influence of color in their businesses. These “colorful” personalities, such as Sophomore designer Chrissie Miller, photographer Phil Oh, and Paper magazine founders Kim Hastreiter and David Hershkovits, were incorporated into the evening affair as hosts.
“Each of the CMYK rooms were designed to demonstrate the value of color in business, elevate the unique strengths of HP's small-business portfolio, and [show] how it allows small businesses to make the best impression possible,” said Cherie Britt, HP's worldwide public relations manager. “This format was a great way to show the power of our printers and of color as well.”
On the visual side, the organizers looked to transition some white decor elements to blue, pink, yellow, and black (or, in color-printing terms, cyan, magenta, yellow, and key). This meant swapping out flower arrangements, removing white wrap from multicolored display podiums, and dyeing the water in the test-tube-like cylinders that decorated the facade of the bars. The process was even extended to the social media activation, with pops of color appearing in an on-site Twitter wall as guests added photos and comments.
Incorporated into the color scheme and laboratory motif was the catering from Pinch Food Design. Servers wore white lab coats and the menu for drinks and hors d'oeuvres was based on the four-tone color palette. Cocktails included a ginger liqueur, bourbon, and fresh lemon juice concoction known as the “yellow sunflower” and another that contained Cava, St. Germain, and fresh pomegranate dubbed the “magenta mulberry.” For bites there were items like cyan-hued cucumber tartare in globe grapes and black beluga lentils on Yukon potatoes.