The Art of Transforming A Venue

Picture of Aidan Henry

Aidan Henry

Brink Events
Victoria, B.C.

Taking a blank canvas and turning it into something magical using nothing more than paint and a brush is what any great artist strives to do. Event designers are no different – but our “canvas” is an empty venue. The ability to envision an awe-inspiring experience in a bare room takes creativity and imagination. The interesting and unfortunate part for us is that guests only usually get to see the finished product (the “after”). They don’t often see the blank canvas or bare room (the “before”). I’m certain that if they did, they’d be even more taken aback than if they were to simply experience the event. With that in mind, we thought it would be fascinating to go behind the scenes on a few of our portfolio events to expose the “before” and “after” shots with some explanation around the process and journey.

Bayview Place – Holiday Party 2016
What’s your natural inclination when given full access to an old train repair building? A Winter Wonderland-theme holiday party, of course. So, how did we do it? With such a large space and a somewhat limited budget, we focused on a few key areas for maximum return. Most importantly (and this will become a common theme throughout this article), we concentrated on lighting. Ambient lighting is by far the best way to transform a large space on a limited budget. In the case of this Winter Wonderland, an icy blue colour fit the bill perfectly. Beyond that, we complemented the room with a mix of white (drape, chairs, floral, gobo patterns) and silver (linens, votives, vases).

Mining Association of British Columbia – VIP Reception 2015
When dealing with a dull, underwhelming hotel banquet room, you really need to dig deep into the creative tank to drum up an inspiring design plan. Once again, we started with lighting first and foremost. Choosing a pink and gold combination to complement the corporate palette, we integrated a mix of LED uplighting, moving fixtures, and traditional lighting with gels. This created great ambience for the room. To further add to the atmosphere, we used an assortment of specialized decor elements, including floral arrangements, corporate gobos, draping, metallic vases, and custom signage.
Private Client – VIP Dinner 2018
For this event, we were asked to create a colourful, “neon” VIP dinner for an intimate group of 50 guests. With such a small space, options can be limited but we focused on a few key elements. As is obvious in the “after” photo, balloon garlands, ambient lighting, bright linens, colourful visuals, and splashy accent pieces created the bulk of the design. A black base was used to further highlight the lighting and decor elements, while maximizing their ‘pop’. The simple, integrated design worked well for this particular event without going overboard on the panache or budget.
Shaw Cable – Holiday Party 2018
This project was one of our favourites of all-time. In this case, we were given a handsome budget and full creative freedom to design the ultimate holiday party. So where did our inspiration come from for this endeavour? The 2018 Pantone Color of the Year of course – Ultra Violet. This purple shade oozes of elegance, mystery, and grandeur. Using pure white as our base for draping, floral, chairs, and other decor pieces, we capped off the design with a sea of ambient purple lighting, as well as select purple accents. The end result? A crisp, sophisticated design that matches the simplicity of white with the extravagance of purple, creating the perfect backdrop for an upscale affair.
An event is like a voyage – there is a starting point and a destination. The passage is the process. From design to execution, venues morph into new spaces. Having the foresight and vision to turn an empty room into something magical and whimsical is an admirable feat. Event designers strive to do this every day, and we continue to be inspired by those around us who push the boundaries and raise the bar with every new event. The quest for perfection will never end, nor will the perpetual wheel of innovation when it comes to venue transformations – and we’re thankful for this.

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