We get by with a little help from our friends, or at least we used to. Lately, people have been getting a little help from people they barely know. A friend of mine recently hired a life coach to help him decide what he wants to be when he grows up (his words, not mine). Forget knowing how to fix our own cars, mow our own lawns or clean our own houses. We now need to hire someone to help us know ourselves. The life coach began the process by asking my friend to visualize his perfect day. He envisioned a simple but happy day, yet it didn’t veer too far from what he already had.
Why, when faced with a blank canvas, do we choose to draw a picture that stays within our comfort zone? Even the best and the brightest do the same. I have never forgotten the story told by architect Frank Gehry when he was contracted by MIT engineers to create their ideal offices. He began the process as the life coach did, by asking them to envision their perfect office space. Gehry was expecting these brilliant minds to come up with far-out ideas filled with space-age, state-of-the-art concepts on organization and design. To his surprise, almost everyone described their perfect office as very close to what they already had.
A LEAP OF FAITH
When it comes to reinvention, we are inspired though by those who take that leap of faith and succeed. I recall the story of story of Sigrid Olson. She was once living the fast life, a designer of a major line carried by Liz Claiborne until it was eliminated. Faced now with opportunity to change, she and her husband moved to their New England cottage and opened an art gallery and studio. The space is full of light, creativity and people … it’s open to the public even through it’s also the couple’s living space. In addition to selling her art, she has also organized yoga retreats and written a cookbook. Fresh is the word that came to mind when I first heard of Olson’s change. A fresh start, fresh outlook, fresh new, perfect day. And just a thought … not all moves have to be linear or upwards. Sideways works too!
A PERFECT DAY IN EVENT DESIGN
Another example of fresh thinking in the event world was the re-opening of the Long Beach Conference Center’s Pacific Ballroom. As produced by Los Angeles-based Event Works and the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center, it showcased the event space, its new creative vision and new functionality.
The 45,000 square feet of event and entertainment space was still the same arena that hosted historical performances from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Only now, thanks to a $10 million renovation, the space can be transformed within minutes, hiding all seats, creating a sleek ballroom. The transformation is complete thanks to an elaborate steel tension grid, which supports LED and stage lighting, sound systems and decorative elements, all in-house and can change with the click of an iPad. The event was designed by Event Works to showcase all of this.
The 1,000 guests entered the ballroom where entertainment allowed them to experience all the space could offer. First, a dynamic video-mapped performance by Side Project DJ and Drummer took place from an elevated DJ booth. Then, a performance by the Laserman Experience led into a kabuki curtain reveal of an illuminated stage. On stage, William Close and the Earth Harp Collective performed with the world’s largest stringed instrument, which was connected to the steel grid—literally connecting to the room to the instrument. The crescendo was a blaze of pyrotechnics and the evening ended with DJ Roonie G hosting an after-party at which video mapping (Megavision Arts who provided video mapping throughout the event) projected great acts from the venue’s history.
For a full list of all vendors, please see this BizBash piece on the event.