We were back in Pittsburgh again for the annual fund-raising event sponsored by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center for its Cancer Institute. This year the theme was Celebrate a Future Without Cancer. Who wouldn't celebrate that? And to do so, the clients wanted a festive atmosphere using jewel tones.
A Design Challenge
The event was for 800 people and held at the Monroeville Convention Center, a large space. And because it's a fundraiser, our eyes are always on the budget. After the stage treatment, our main design elements are flowers and lighting.
When I hear jewel tones I think emerald green, ruby red, sapphire blue, and amethyst gold. These are not easy colors to carry into flowers. In fact, I don't think truly deep jewel tones even exist in flowers with the exception of red.
Jewel tones certainly do exist in lighting and linen but you don't want to use too many otherwise the look becomes too busy. Plus, blue greens and purples are hard to "push" onto walls because of the dark nature of them. They create a more moody feeling rather than one that is light and celebratory. I began to thing that the client, while saying jewel tone, really meant bright, saturated colors.
The toughest part about creating a visual concept is that everyone has their own definition of these terms. My solution was to focus on the word "celebrate," and that seems to be the best answer for us to come together on the idea of an event awash not in jewel tones but in orange, gold and fuchsia.
And to really say "celebrate" we created gobos for the walls that emulated fireworks explosions in those tones.
Floral arrangements in oranges, rich pinks, yellow, and red were set off by linen in muted brown and copper. I wanted a neutral base so the flowers would really pop once they were lighted with pinspots.
Design wise, this was an conservative, older crowd. My natural inclination with design tends to be younger and edgier. but I found a balance of the two by adding a touch of excitement with several custom-built, avant-garde iridescent beaded chandeliers.
The best thing.
The venue AND the layout were the same. We learned from last year's layout as to what worked and what didn't and then improved upon it.
Stay tuned for a unique twist on a stage treatment and how we worked with and incorporated several styles of big-name acts into this event!