Last night we unveiled the winners of our 2008 Event Style Awards at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where a throng of industry types were on hand to see who would take home the evening's top honors. Winners included the Recording Academy's Grammy after-party for Best Corporate Event Concept, 15/40 Productions' work on the Walk Hard premiere for Best Fresh Idea, and Microsoft's Halo 3 launch for Best Overall Event Decor.
Here is a complete list of winners:
Best Nonprofit Event Concept: California Science Center’s Discovery Ball, submitted by California Science Center
A traveling exhibition showcasing the technology, props, and costumes depicted in George Lucas’s Star Wars sci-fi trilogy was the inspiration behind the theme of the California Science Center’s ninth annual Discovery Ball. Guests walked along a black carpet lined with costumed stormtroopers before entering the museum, where they had the chance to mingle with actors dressed like Chewbacca and Han Solo and witnessed a staged lightsaber battle among characters during dinner. The event raised a record-setting $1.14 million.
Best Corporate Event Concept (Over $50,000): The Recording Academy’s “Grammy Celebration” After-Party, submitted by Along Came Mary Productions
The Recording Academy’s Branden Chapman found his inspiration for the theme of the organization’s official Grammy after-party in Janet Jackson’s music video “If,” which is set in an Asian club. Chapman worked with the team at Along Came Mary to produce the party for 6,000 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, which the crew transformed on an hourly basis to evoke Asian-influenced looks like a serene Zen garden created in amber tones and a vibrant Tokyo-like scene with a multicolored light show.
Best Invitation Design: Ruinart Champagne’s “Champagne & Croquet” Cocktail Party, submitted by Dear John Fine Stationers and Card Tricks Designs
Card Tricks Designs and Dear John Fine Stationers teamed up to design a Lucite cube containing a real croquet ball and wicket on artificial grass for Ruinart’s “Champagne & Croquet” cocktail party at the Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel & Spa in October. Models dressed in the host company’s yellow and white brand colors personally delivered the invitations, which bore silk-screened Ruinart logos along with event details, to select sommeliers and food and beverage managers from local venues.
Best Fresh Idea: Walk Hard World Premiere Red-Carpet Setup, submitted by 15/40 Productions
At the Walk Hard premiere, actor John C. Reilly arrived in character as Dewey Cox on an open flatbed truck, playing songs from the movie. The film’s band played as the truck traveled down Hollywood Boulevard and continued once the vehicle had settled on the arrivals carpet, which was decked with six-foot-tall letters spelling out Dewey’s name and a wall featuring the fictional character’s album covers. Reilly remained in character as he walked the press line.
Best Overall Catering at an Event: Sea Shepherd Benefit, submitted by An Catering
For the Sea Shepherd benefit, which called for an all-vegan menu, the nonprofit turned to An Catering for dishes to satisfy all guests. To create a menu that would rival the taste and presentation of more traditional meals, the catering company experimented with the color and texture of ingredients. Passed hors d’oeuvres included an eggplant and mushroom creation presented in the form of a sushi roll, and the three-course meal featured such dishes as vegetarian ratatouille and garlic noodles with seitan duck.
Best Lighting Design: The Simpsons Movie Premiere Party, submitted by Kinetic Lighting Inc.
Kinetic used Finelite Image Projectors to decorate nearly 35,000 square feet of the Wadsworth Theater parking lot with rotating images of doughnuts and Simpsons characters. Since the space had no existing hang points, the company lined the perimeter in boom lifts and set up truss structures over food stations before lighting key areas like three large domes in the animated characters’ signature yellow. Kinetic lit representations of characters hanging inside the domes to create floating silhouettes against the structures’ exteriors.
Best New Venue: Opera and Crimson, submitted by the Syndicate Inc. and Velvet Rope Events
Technically two separate venues, Opera and Crimson can serve as a single space for events by way of a retractable wall. Created by nightlife impresario David Judaken, each venue features distinct decor elements. Opera channels a theatrical vibe with a fog-screen doorway and an entryway covered in blown amber glass, while Crimson is a rock ’n’ roll-inspired lounge with faux chinchilla- and python-covered walls, as well as a ceiling covered in red mosaic tiles. Combined, the venues span 10,500 square feet and hold 700 people.
Best Event PR Strategy: Finding Nemo Submarine Ride Launch, submitted by Disneyland Resort
In an effort to draw attention to the impending launch of Disneyland’s Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage ride, Disney sent the Nemo Dream Mobile—a vehicle designed to look like one of the attraction’s yellow submarines—to cities in Canada and the Western United States. The vehicle acted as a traveling billboard while on the road, facilitated consumer awareness of the new ride through interactive features such as question-and-answer sessions, and helped generate additional media coverage.
Best Entertainment Program/Concept: Triple Net Properties’ Incentive Trip Gala, submitted by Zoe Productions Inc.
Triple Net’s yearly employee trip to La Quinta Resort in Palm Desert concluded with an award gala dubbed the Pirate Parrrty. Entertainers dressed in pirate garb and trained in sword fighting performed in duels atop tables during the dinner portion of the evening. Live parrots sat on performers’ shoulders, and the monkey featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies skipped from guest to guest in the ballroom, where entertainment and activities included competitive rum drinking and pirate-themed poker games.
Best Use of Technology: DirecTV Emmy After-Party, submitted by Firefly LA
To celebrate the launch of its 100 high-definition channels, DirecTV hosted an Emmy after-party on an open field, where it set up a large air-supported tent. Firefly LA used 20,000-lumen HD DLP projectors to decorate every inch of the interior and exterior of the structure with custom animated designs like the rings from the Emmy statuette, and 250 active screens depicted DirecTV’s channels. The entrance to the event featured 50 plasma screens that spelled out “100 HD.”
Best Video for an Event: Oaks Christian High School Performing Arts Center Opening Event, submitted by Go West Events & Multimedia
For the grand opening of the Bedrosian Pavillion, a performing arts facility on the Oaks Christian High School campus, Go West placed three large screens on a stage to display a video presentation. The video depicted a single female on the outer screens bending, pulling apart, and manipulating images of scenes from the high school’s functions, before tossing them back and forth across the third screen in a tennis-match-like manner. The three screens helped ensure that the content engaged audience members from every angle.
Best Overall Event Decor: Microsoft’s Halo 3 “Halowood” Beta Preview Launch Party, submitted by Zed Ink Inc.
For the preview of Halo 3 beta, Microsoft transformed Hollywood’s Quixote Studios into a glowing blue environment inspired by the game. Projectors showed Halo 3 graphics over the entry, and a glowing blue tunnel drew guests inward. Three-dimensional vignettes behind chain-link fencing showed scenes ranging from deserts and forests to machinery and conceptual art. Halo 3 video projections covered bars, and makeshift gaming stations took over futuristic military-style lounges; seating included aircraft-evocative chairs and glowing cubes.
Best Staging/Set Design: Microsoft’s Events at the E3 Business & Media Summit, submitted by Zed Ink Inc.
Microsoft created a high-tech look at Santa Monica High School by transforming the concrete amphitheater into a dramatic event space. Staging and technologies sat beneath a 100-foot-wide structure, and a high-definition screen and scaffolding with layers of panels, lighting fixtures, and plasma TVs anchored the stage. The team built walkways over an open moat to close the space between presenters and the audience, and stage lighting played a significant role in the set design as columns of light shot up overhead.
Best Meeting/Incentive Event Program: MasterCard Global Sales Meeting,submitted by Barkley Kalpak Associates
For MasterCard’s global sales meeting for 500 executives, Barkley Kalpak created an intensive four-day event series. A welcome reception divided guests into teams who took part in a three-day sales training simulation targeted at a fictitious company. Evening activities included an event at the Mission at San Juan Capistrano to celebrate influential cultures on California’s history and an award dinner recognizing top salespeople. String Theory performed during the cocktail reception, and Sheryl Crow turned up for a surprise concert.
Best New Product: Printed Velon, submitted by Velon Designs Inc.
Event producer Robert Fountain created printed velon as an answer to the limited color choices of flame-retardant velon fabric commonly used for tenting and draping. Fountain can print multicolored versions of the fabric or customize it to match an event’s theme by superimposing a pattern or company logo onto the material. Printed velon is also an eco-friendly alternative to other fabrics on the market, as it’s made from recycled plastic and is itself 100 percent recyclable.
Best Corporate Event Concept (Under $50,000): Vivid Magazine’s “Celebrating Luxury Lifestyle” Reader Appreciation Event, submitted by Fresh Events Company
Vivid magazine hoped to create face time between sponsors and readers and to build its reputation as a source of luxury content for affluent Asian-Americans with this event, which took over a private jet hangar. Guests perused Bentleys and Rolls-Royces that sat on the hangar floor and checked out jewels during a runway show, where models emerged from jets. Fresh Events Company created a high-end atmosphere by adorning birch trees with glass jewels. A 20-foot Vivid logo sprawled across the venue’s floor.