By Susan O'Neill Posted June 23, 2009, 10:00 AM EDT
TORONTO Talent in town for the MuchMusic Video Awards had the opportunity to visit two lounges this past weekend, both of which offered swag and space to unwind: the official MMVA Gift Lounge, located at MuchMusic headquarters, and the Artist Sanctuary at Hotel Le Germain.
New York-based On 3 Productions created an orange and white lounge for artists and presenters participating in the MuchMusic Video Awards this year. “We were going for something edgy, something a little different, with bright colours and bold colours,” said Matthew Simon of On 3 Productions. Ikea and Sumo Lounge provided furnishings for the space, including bag chairs and ottomans. “It's a place where people can just chill out and relax.”
Floral arrangements from Ladybug added to the decor, and Daniel et Daniel Event Creation & Catering handled the catering. “This year, more than in the past, it's a more interactive experience backstage in the gift lounge,” said Samantha Milo Haft of On 3. “Moroccan Oil brought in a stylist and has been doing touch-ups for celebrities. We've got Jil Sander launching brand new eyewear for women backstage and they're doing custom fittings for the sunglasses.”
About 100 presenters and performers were expected to pass through the space, which was open throughout the weekend. “We're here for the talent. We have to be at their beck and call, so we're here from the rehearsals all the way to the end of the show,” Simon said. Every celebrity who visited the lounge signed a bag—to be auctioned off along with the entire gift collection—for the CP24/CHUM Christmas Wish. “There's some giving back,” he said. “It can't be all about the taking.”
Participating brands included Bench Apparel, Buddha Board, Cha Cha Handbags, Guess, Kameleon Jewellery, Keurig Inc., LouLou magazine, Marchon, Moroccan Oil, New Era, Tenstate Jeans, Nestlé, and Nautica.
About three blocks south of MuchMusic's headquarters, New York-based Know Affiliation set up Sirius Satellite Radio's second annual Artist Sanctuary in a series of suites at the Hotel Le Germain on Mercer Street. The space—which included catering by Victor Restaurant, spa treatments by Hammam Spa, hair and makeup touch-ups by the Loft Salon, and an oxygen bar by Element—targeted artists in town for the MuchMusic Video Awards, Edgefest, and the North by Northeast Music and Film Festival.
“It's not a gift lounge, it's not a swag lounge. Gifting is maybe a small percentage, but mainly it's about creating an experience,” said lounge creator Andy Winkler. “When people come in here, whether they're managers, publicists, artists, or tastemakers, there's absolutely nothing they have to worry about. It's a place to unwind and relax during major events.”
Brands including Nokia, SkullCandy, PKG, Vitaminwater, New Balance, and Mavi Jeans displayed products in a series of rooms throughout the hotel. “It's creating brand experiences. It's not a flea market. It's about activating in a cool way. Every room is different and unique," said Winkler, who estimated that close to 400 people would visit the lounge on Saturday and Sunday.
Pennant Media Group handled PR for the lounge, and additional sponsors included Knight XV, Stella Artois, Robert Mondavi, Redken, Inniskillin, Marvin Candy & Displays, Pucker Powder, Life is Sweet, and Tealish.