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ast year I was lucky enough to be invited to Las Vegas to
attend and speak at an annual events trade show/fair.
I was even luckier enough to attend a seminar/class
hosted by floral luminary, Preston Bailey. However, despite his
floral designs being incredible, I must say I was a little
underwhelmed by the general look, style and feel and ideas of
the fair in general. The looks were not very cutting edge and a
lot of it, us “backwater” Aussies had been doing for a while.
A couple of years ago I had a client from the UK, who vetoed
an idea I had for an event, asking instead for a really “now” look
and could she have an “all white” event? We had been doing
that here three years previously.
The upshot of what I am getting at, is that here in Oz, we are
lucky enough to have a plethora of inspirational event producers,
very talented event designers, amazing event suppliers and an
audience that is both sophisticated and demands something
new and different... How cool is that?
So if you don’t wake up in the morning thinking, “hmmm... a
Missoni stripe will look amazing on the chairs for next month’s
event, or you don’t even know what a Missoni stripe is, how do
you come up with great ideas for your clients without engaging a
stylist or designer?
So often I see someone’s event replicated, or the same look
used over and over again. And whilst copying something is the
highest form of flattery, it leads nowhere.
A friend of mine had an arrow tattooed on her arm, the point
aiming to her fingers to always remind her to keep moving forward.
She is a stylist. I think everyone should have a metaphorical arrow
on their arms to remind them to keep moving forward.
I get very frustrated with people who tell me they are not
creative. Everyone is, in some way, shape or form. The trick is to
find out what your strong points are and exploit them. Make
them your style and your calling card. Use what others are doing
(we all do) to inspire you. Use colours that are on trend, shapes
that are in and mix them to create something that is yours.
Every event should be different, yet there is nothing wrong
with a signature, something that says “you”.
Let others give you inspiration to create something great. Read
magazines, go online; use every available resource to understand
what is available and being done. You are never going to be
someone you are not, so no point in aspiring to be that person.
They are the sum of all their hard work, experience and concepts
and that will never be you. But look at what those people have
done and gain inspiration from it to drive you forward.
We all look at what everyone is doing. Instagram is awesome
for that. As are websites. My kids laugh at me as I am always
taking photos of everything. I have a massive library of photos. So
often I use them to create my own mood board when I am
designing an event. They inspire me.
I also have a large library of local and international magazines
and subscribe to a lot. I encourage my staff to look in furniture
stores, to go through fabric shops and to check out any new
venue, bar, lounge or restaurant in town.
I find the more I look at what is happening around me globally,
the more I am inspired. A colour, a sofa, the way someone
plates up their food, it all helps. When I design an event I
generally start with a very vague concept and build the details
from there. But sometimes I build the event from one piece.
Just recently, I saw some amazing multi coloured Bentwood
chairs and fell in love with them. They became the focal design
point for an event I did at the MCA. In the end however, as much
as I loved them and they were as sensational as I expected, the
large floral curtain that was the stage backdrop, stole the show.
Working with my amazing florist, we designed and built a large
floral drape that brought the room to life with a sense of
impending spring. All of that came out of seeing a chair that
sparked an idea, that then led to a collaborative process between
me as the event producer and my awesome florist. It doesn’t
matter where you get the spark for an idea from, just that you
got that spark and it sparked the idea, that culminated in that
event... and the process has begun! m
Stu Katzen can be contacted on email@example.com .
To make it in the events business you have to find
your own style. So start looking, says Stu Katzen.
Inspiration or Aspiration
BY STU KATZEN
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