Show us something we haven't (yet).
Showcase your event to be honored alongside the industry's brightest.
Submit an EEA!

Industry Innovators 2022: Kristin Banta

The creative director of Kristin Banta Events aims to start trends, not follow them.

Industry Innovators 2022: Kristin Banta
One of Banta's most memorable events was a b'nai mitzvah for two children with an affinity for literature and classical music. "We brought [it] to life via interactive features including open books with pages flying up to the ceiling, a dance floor inscribed with all of their favorite literary passages, and a DJ booth made from stacked books and typewriters spilling out seat assignments, along with swirling instruments over the dance floor," Banta says.
Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Banta Events

Industry Innovators 2022: Kristin BantaPhoto: Courtesy of Kristin Banta EventsKristin Banta is the creative director of Kristin Banta Events, Inc. (KBE), based in Los Angeles.

How she got her start: Banta holds a BA in theater arts from Pepperdine University, and attended UCLA for a post-graduate program focusing on marketing within the entertainment industry.

"The combination of studies from production management to lighting and stage design, accompanied by creative marketing strategies, inspired me to open a business focusing on highly experiential, non-traditional events," she explains. "Having initially started on the concert and booking side of live events along with events within the local fashion community, the launch of KBE took my design endeavors into the private and corporate sector. Today, the business holds a diverse roster inclusive of beauty, tech, entertainment, and high-end social, working both domestically and internationally."

What innovation means to her: To Banta, innovation is all about finding new ways to demand an audience's attention. "It's the act of disruption of the status quo. If we are not disrupting, we risk the consumer or attendee disengaging—and our job is always rooted in promoting engagement and inspiring consumer loyalty," she says. "The second that innovation is not at the forefront of my design endeavors, my ability to lead and my power to promote is lost."

She continues, "I think it's important to always consider how we can start trends rather than to incorporate them. It's the only way I, as a designer, can continue to evolve—but it does mean taking risks, which can be scary."

How she stays inspired: Banta tends to find inspiration in strange and unexpected places. "I may see something on the runway or in a television show and end up doing a deep dive into the history and origin of the smallest detail that captivated me," she explains. "I love using Pinterest as a research tool, as the ability to rabbit hole into foreign worlds of travel, architecture, fashion, and nature changes the entire way in which I perceive my surroundings. There is nothing that is inaccessible to us in the digital age, which makes it easy to find inspiration."

Career highlights: Of the many events she's designed, several stand out in Banta's memory—including a wedding with an angel-devil concept, which she elevated into a "heaven-and-hell experience" by leaning on notable literary works for inspiration including Homer, Tolkien, and Dante. Industry Innovators 2022: Kristin Banta"The ceremony space invited guests to pick a side—heaven or hell—each of which was fully dressed to evoke its surroundings," Banta says. "Servers offered smouldering cocktails or white cotton candy clouds while outfitted in angel and devil couture. The guests traveled from hell through middle earth into heaven, space by space, which included an eight-course dinner from mink-upholstered tables surrounded by taxidermy and white-gloved butlers."Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Banta Events

Industry Innovators 2022: Kristin BantaHighlights of Bumble's Coachella party included a sled run, mud room-themed bars, ski lift lounges, a snow angel garden, and an interactive geodesic dome where guests were treated to an ice bar and invited to create custom snowflakes.Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Banta Events

Banta also cites Bumble’s first Coachella weekend party, where "we made it snow in the desert," she recalls. "We transformed a desert estate into a winter wonderland while elevating the concept into an Aspen-inspired playground. ... The goal was to create a luxe environment befitting the brand and to make an impression on an oversaturated party market." 

Another career highlight: "An interactive wedding, as featured on my own show for the Bravo network, that incorporated bold pops of indigo blue featured within four black-and-white rooms via large-scale installations composed of unexpected items such as phone receivers, driftwood, antlers, light bulbs, and 5,000 paper cranes," she says. 

Banta also cites the opening and closing parties for a luxury charter of the Asian seas, which required her to design and mobilize 40 crates onto a moving target in eight weeks, along with the wedding programs for LOTTE SIGNIEL Seoul and LOTTE SIGNIEL Busan in South Korea, which she calls "our first foray into hotel openings and collaborative partnerships."

Industry Innovators 2022: Kristin Banta"Lighting cues led guests from one space to the next, including one long dinner table for 150 guests showcasing elevated breakfast served for dinner," Banta adds. "The show was created to illustrate a completely different spin on weddings, showcasing a less traditional point of view, and the traction we got from the endeavor was very successful."Photo: Courtesy of Kristin Banta Events

Her favorite thing about the event industry: "The ability to push the envelope of event design in order to get people actually involved with the content and connect with others," she says. "It's the opportunity to take guests on a journey and to have the chance to alter their perception of the world around them."

This feature is sponsored by Hubilo, a leading virtual and hybrid event platform built to drive engagement, with clients including Deloitte, Coca-Cola, Amazon Web Services, and more.

Back to the full list: 11 Event Planners, Designers, & Producers to Get Inspired By