Creative Director, AOO Events, Lead designdawg
By Leslee Bell
We are seeing lots of changes in 2012 especially in the formal dining arena. Gone are the days of stuffy dinners (unless it is a a state dinner with all the protocol). More events are using contemporary formats in seating, combining tall tables with comfortable bar-height stools, or rectangular tables with table-height sofas. More requests for three-quarter table seating are coming in with rounds so no one has their back to the main attraction. Tables are designed as serpentines, rectangles, squares and even clover leaves in combinations to create interest in the room.
Lounge, lounge, lounge! It's in again and not going anywhere. Staged at various heights with stairs from one level to another and tiered for impact.
Various looks in furnishings, texture, different media in upholstery from leather and suede to chenille and tapestry. It's about weaves and patterns. Carpets with the sass of Zebra, geometric patterns in bold colors or soft textural earth tones let the furniture be the drama.
The color for 2012 is stunningly bold -- Tangerine Tango. The color for 2011 was Honeysuckle which is a saucy fuchsia pink. Now these two colors are being paired with celadon green or purple for "attitude palettes" and soft corals and creams for a more subdued palette with rave reviews.
A secondary popular palette is the aquatic blue colors from marine to azure and from teal to turquoise, paired with greens. Think peacock feathers for inspiration.
Themes are out but looks and names that have great freedom for design like the inspiration board for blue mystique (the client's corporate color is blue) give great latitude in design.
Black and white will be strong as an anchor palette and the base for the hot colors to use as their canvas for impact. Red, orange, fuchsia and yellow are the splashes most used with it this year.
Metallics in furniture and settings to gaudy to stylish are having rebirth. From soft;y draped fabrics, lames and leather to rigid metals -- gold, silver , pewter, bronze and copper ... all will soar in 2012.
Lighting is the most important tool in the designer's arsenal. A good lighting director is paramount. They bring depth, texture and drama to a room and change the look of the space over and over, breathing life into the event.
A designer can create a fabulous room but without the magic of lighting it can be flat with little dimension. Lighting sets the mood and tells an ever-changing story.
Branding is out and imprinting is in. Imprinting impacts all your senses, is experiential and therefore far more impactful. Smell is the sense that is most affected by imprinting. Capitalize on it.
Repurposing is very "in." Metaphorically speaking, the client wants to keep the car but will change out the wheels for impact when budgets are modest.
Food stylings are nouveau from being suspended from truss to deep frozen and nitrogen tossed a la minute to being served on clothespins, cooked at a tabletop or planted in seedling gardens. It is as much about the presentation as it is the fabulous foods.
Hors d'oeuvres are served in parchment or edible pastry cones, endive leaves, edible spoons, shot glasses or even with clothes pins.
Popcorn is an adult party food with various flavored salts as toppers paired with local beers or wines. Poutine and flavorful toppings replace the old potato martini bar.
Candy stations are not only for the young, but the young at heart. Unique cocktail are always a crowd pleaser. Create a signature one.
About Leslee Bell
Leslee Bell founded Decor and More in 1989. She pioneered a new style of design and has been rewarded for her efforts. In 2005 she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Special Events Spirit Awards and in 2006, Decor and More was the most awarded company during the ISES Esprit Awards.
Decor and More