Christie's Green Auction Incorporates Sponsor JW Marriott Into Decor

By Jim Shi April 16, 2012, 12:19 PM EDT

Inspired by Jeff Koons' "Puppy" sculpture at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, event producer Van Wyck & Van Wyck built a four-foot-tall topiary shaped in the form of a griffin. The mythical animal is sponsor JW Marriott's logo and the floral version, which was created as a surprise for the brand executives, had eyes made of mums.

Photo: Carolyn Curtis/BizBash

Christie's Green Auction: A Bid to Save the Earth
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Given the focus of the event, it seemed fitting that the arrivals carpet for Christie's “Green Auction: Bid to Save the Earth” was green in color and stood in front of wall of living plants. And that was just for starters. The decor for the fund-raiser at the auction house's Rockefeller Center home on Wednesday, April 11, followed suit, with rainforest greens and even bananas filling the cocktail hour. A griffin-shaped living topiary, inspired by the “Puppy” sculpture by Jeff Koons and designed as a nod to sponsor JW Marriott, made for an appropriate conversation piece.

The philanthropic evening, overseen by Christie's director of special events Lauren Land and Green Auction project manager Katelyn Norris, was produced for the third year by Van Wyck & Van Wyck. The company's brand experience division worked alongside Christie's senior vice president of events and strategic partnerships, Lydia Fenet, and international senior vice president of communications, Toby Usnik. The event raised nearly $600,000; to date, the auction has raised nearly $6 million for its four beneficiaries: Oceana, Conservation International, the Central Park Conservancy, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Timed to Earth Day, this year's Green Auction, a carbon-neutral event with a focus on water, saw the support of JW Marriott, which formed a partnership with Christie's in June last year. As a result, the producers incorporated a number of subtle elements that linked directly back to the hotelier. This included having a special lounge section in the James Christie Auction room that added a youthful tone to the space's conservative walls. “The thought behind the creation of the 'JW Lounge' was to bring the comfort and luxury found in a JW Marriott hotel to life and also serve as a place for people to retreat in between bidding,” said Mitzi Gaskins, vice president and global brand manager at JW Marriott.

It also provided a more experiential way to showcase the brand's aesthetic, as well as its organic honey.

Despite the social-calendar success and popularity the event has achieved in its short course, 2012 marked the last year of the Green Auction. However, the organizers plan to build on the fund-raiser, hoping to “shake things up a bit” with a new approach that has yet to be announced.

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