Client companies are demanding experiences that translate to their bottom line
ISES Sydney explored coming trends at their October networking function at Li’l Darlin
Report and photos by Nate Cochran
The middle is being hollowed out of events budgets, with clients demanding big ticket experiences they can reuse or cheap and cheerful options, a panel of events experts revealed last week [31 Oct].
Such an example of high-end, highly engineered projects is the Alienware trailer Proj-X built for consumer PC maker, Dell, which will last hundreds of shows and tour Australia in many capacities, says Proj-X director James Grady. The self-contained, driveable van has seated bays inside to hold workstations and can be reconfigured.
“People want to save money but they’re spending a lot to do that,” Grady says.
“There’s a lot of big budgets coming in for big projects and they want to see these projects used a lot.
“[Dell] can change certain areas of the unit, update with their products, but they have a platform. They keep changing the product over; there’s different people with access to this vehicle and everybody who comes to it really has an experience.
“Sometimes they set it up with catering or for a show or independently – a complete set up for themselves and by themselves for people they want to impress.”
He says he is fielding a call every week for such a reuseable installation, and has completed one for Sunbeam that is a mobile cafe where it demonstrates its kitchen goods making food.
“It’s on its fourth install in Perth, it’s a shipping container that opens up – press a button and the doors comes down and the awnings come out and they do product displays all around it.
“They cater at this event, bring in their resellers and everybody comments on how cool this little set up is.
“A fair bit of money went in up front and now it’s a reuseable, fairly cost-effective drag and drop.”
At the “cheap and cheerful, get it in and get it out” end of the spectrum, Grady says clients request disposable solutions for their events.
“There’s a lot of companies saying, ‘This is my budget, I have a space this big, I don’t want to store it or see it again’. There’s a couple of good solutions for that.”
Jen Rudland says in an age when people can congregate through social media, face-to-face events must offer so much more than they once did. At the same time, there’s renewed interest in classic styles updated for the 21st century, she says.
“If you think to when everything was handmade in the 1800s, there’s been swings in terms of what technology and materials allow,” says Rudland, who is senior event stylist at Decorative Events and Exhibitions.
“All the old faithful [items] will be around but it’s about reimagining them and customisation.
“[Experience] is essential because people have so many choices to participate in a range of events and even why to come to an event has fundamentally shifted, you have online community versus face to face.”
And more than 40 years after leading experimental physicist and hobbyist chef Nicholas Kurti toyed with a technique he would later call “molecular gastronomy”, cooking with liquid nitrogen and other such tricks is now a way to differentiate an event. Sarah Barker says Hive Catering‘s pastry chef has recently confected a “milkeringue” using liquid nitrogen.
“It creates really spectacular desserts but is really simple,” Barker says.
“It’s cream dropped into nitrogen that creates like a meringue so it’s frozen on the crust but on the inside it’s soft and gooey – so it’s like a pavlova but made out of ice cream.”
Event planners should also look out for what is essential in terms of textures and colours, says Rudland. Concrete, lighting direction and Pantone colour palettes will play a leading role next year, she says. Barker says interactive elements such as make-your-own ice cream and tapas stations will also be in demand.
Trendsetters to watch out for in 2013
# Popup shops
# Community festivals and underground scene
# Popular culture such as film and TV