By Anna Sekula Posted January 21, 2011, 11:56 AM EST
NEW YORK Looking to avoid weather-related delays, IFC opted to house the red carpet, screening, and party for the premiere of its new comedy series Portlandia under one roof, bringing the 300-person event to the Edison Ballroom on Wednesday. The network's PR and marketing and event team, in tandem with Precision Event Group's Jason Wanderer, then set about designing a layout for the main room that could double as the viewing site for the show and the ensuing reception with a minimal amount of change. The result was an intimate theater, which combined lounge furnishings, high-tops, communal tables, and stools, with nods to Portlandia's tongue-in-cheek portrait of Portland, Oregon.
“Housing the red carpet, screening, and after-party in one space allowed us to seamlessly move from one element of the party to the next, without disrupting the flow of the evening,” said Marie Moore, IFC's vice president of consumer PR. “IFC's goal was to create an experience for guests that truly brought Portlandia to life. To do that, we incorporated elements of the show that we knew would resonate with the audience, like having giant cutouts of birds placed around the room to emanate a sketch in the series about putting birds on things as an expression of art.”
Indeed, the show's quirky jokes about Portland provided plenty of fodder for the design team, as did the city's bridges and idyllic greenery. Beyond the bird motif, IFC and Wanderer referenced the town's “Bridge City” nickname with tabletop centerpieces, hid the space's six columns with tall spruce trees, created cocktail tables embedded with bicycle wheels, and dressed the waitstaff in flannel shirts.
The night's menu also took cues from the Pacific Northwest, with ingredients like Tillamook cheddar, Walla Walla sweet onion, and marionberry incorporated into the hors d'oeuvres and desserts passed throughout the night. The team even partnered with Rogue Ales, bringing in the popular Oregon brew to complement chardonnay and pinot noir from the region. The brewery's pint bottles customized with the Portlandia logo served as take-home mementos for guests.