The Vernal Equinox Is the Day on Which Night and Day Are Equal, and We Transition From Winter to Spring. So We Took Our Guests on a Journey From Darkness to Light…
As many of you know, at Team Entire, we live for our annual showcase. It’s like our Super Bowl and Oscars rolled into one, and it’s our chance to show our incredible clients the trends and talent that will create the biggest Wow factor throughout the upcoming year. With both our experience design, full-production event planning married with our talent programming we aim to WOW our peers and clients alike.
We knew that we wanted to beat our best celebration yet (last year’s 1960s Palm Springs inspired Swing Into Spring), so we had to come up with a very intriguing theme. And what’s more unique than a Vernal Equinox, an event that happens just once a year?
We chose the date of the actual Equinox, March 20. And we got to work on re-inventing our go-to venue of the past several years, the Bently Reserve. It was a tall order, so we started planning in earnest last summer with monthly all-hands-on-deck meetings. Our fearless leader Natasha Miller nailed the Vernal Equinox theme, which was so elevated and mysterious. Kate Swee found the inspirational poem (featured in the video above), and Grace McFarlin put everything together in an incredible mood board that guided us.
From Darkness: The darkness to light experience started the moment our guests entered the venue. They were greeted by a moon and our “Starry Starry Night” room, which featured a winter-themed food station. 49Square catering outdid themselves with a culinary experience featuring a moss shelf that guests stuck their hands into and felt around for food in clear little pods. It was inspired by winter and root vegetables that are underground. “Starry Starry Night” also featured a Light Painting photo booth, with artists who paint with light (check out the amazing pics here)! And 0ur first mainstage moment was a dramatic, dark and mysterious performance by Capacitor (above).
Guests traveled through an ombre banking hall, signaling the change from light to dark. Our vendors were able to subtly showcase this transition in such a creative way. Elevate Productions, our sister lighting and sound company, slowly increased the light in the main banking hall as the evening progressed. And Blueprint Studios created an evolution in color, doing a slow gradation in highboys, as one walked through the room.
Each half-hour featured a truly distinct performance. Second up was the amazing harpist and singer Lucinda, who recently moved to the Bay Area from the UK. Such a treat. She’s like the late Amy Winehouse on the harp. She was paired with a double Lyra duet (this is really rare!) by The Dahlias, a quartet of multi-disciplinary cirque artists officially unveiled that night! They displayed their wide-ranging talents with Cyr wheel, contortion and aerial performances throughout the evening. Next came a gorgeous piece by our hip-hop ballet dancers and guzheng player. An ancient instrument, played to hip-hop, paired with a modern take on ballet combined the old and new in a really exciting way.
To Light: After moving through the banking hall (where a 49Square circular piece transitioned from winter foods to colorful, spring delights), guests entered the bright and festive “Floral Explosion” room, with flower crafts and a Floral Explosion photo booth. The grand finale was an original take on a Holi-festival themed piece. Our dancers performed a crazy, upbeat bhangra piece, and we had the brightest aerial silks framing the dance on either side.
It can be a challenge to re-invent the same space every year, but the Bently Reserve is so versatile. To change it up, guests entered through different doors, we created a deconstructed stage, and the lighting by Elevate Productions really helped to create a changing-of-the-seasons mood. Last year’s event was a bit too jam-packed. So we inserted a long runway into the main banking hall and moved the bar into an adjacent room to open the space up. We also tightened up the guest list. It was the cream of the crop – over 400 of the top event planners, many who traveled from Los Angeles, New York and other parts of the country. Sandy Hammer from producing sponsor AllSeated traveled furthest, flying in from Israel!
Opening up the space allowed guests more room to take photos and interact with our talent. As many event pros know, an experience can live on long after the doors have closed and the house lights have come on, through the use of social media. Many clients who could not attend told us “I heard Vernal Equinox was amazing! I saw the photos.” No wonder! Everyone was using the hashtag #EntireEquinox18. By creating many visually appealing vignettes and “I’ve never seen that before” experiences, we were able to make it easy for our attendees to share the event with their circles.
We were also pleased to see an incredible number of requests for our talent. The very next day, our lead artist for our incredible light-painting photo set said, “No doubt that is a record number of quotes given in one day by a long shot!”
This was not your typical corporate event, which is just how we like to design for our clients. That makes us happy and makes our clients look amazing!
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