Report by Gwen O’Toole
Photography by Geoff Magee
For one night only, Sydney-based event management company Funktionality transformed their Marrickville warehouse headquarters into a pop-up party, celebrating 15 years of successful business.
With 160 special guests, the event brought together not just industry suppliers who helped Funktionality produce 15 years worth of award-winning events, but also friends, family and colleagues.
“Being an event management company, we understand all too well the importance of venue selection and the impact it can have on an event,” says managing director, Tracy Wood.
“To mark our 15 year milestone, I had a preconceived notion of what I wanted to achieve. I wanted my industry friends to be able to let their hair down and celebrate with me until three in the morning, I wanted incredible food and entertainment, but above all I wanted to push the boundaries to create a reality my guests had never experienced before. And with that, the theme ‘Expect the Unexpected’ was born. It suddenly dawned on me that the only way I was going to be able to do this – to have free creative reign to bring my vision to fruition – was to hold the event at my warehouse, where I was not restricted by the rules of a typical venue (midnight finish, limited bump in and bump out times, noise restraints) and so that’s how the idea snowballed,” she adds.
For the event, the warehouse was transformed to reflect an urban edgy laneway feel with flavours of local artists, foods, and breweries, reflecting the tastes of the local Marrickville area.
Production company NW Group illuminated the pathway leading up to the warehouse, replicating the sensibilities of an arty Melbourne laneway. Huge cauldrons of fire from Foti Fireworks provided some much-needed warmth on the cold July night, complementing the aroma of spit-roasted pig in the laneway air. With the mouth watering fragrance drawing in crowds, security guards from iSecure manned the doors, ensuring only those on the door list were admitted.
Inspired by local flavours, Studio Neon’s Vietnamese food station consisted of Banh Mi rolls cleverly inviting guests to ‘Eat Mi’. The feast continued upstairs, with a selection of unique sweet and savoury canapés accompanied by cocktails – Dark & Stormy and Gin Lemon Myrtle – mixed by the professional bar staff at Clifford Wallace Agency, high-end wines and champagnes from Endless Wines and Cider and hand-crafted beer from Batch Brewing Company.
DJ Chester kicked the night off with some background beats as guests mingled and got snap happy with Party Photobooth’s Instaprint – a revolutionary piece of technology that printed all photos posted to Instagram under the hashtag #funk15yr (check it out)! Junkyard Beats, a percussion and dance troupe from Europe who recently landed on the shores of Australia, took to the floor with a high energy performance and kitchen comedy, creating music and rhythms with their bodies and recycled materials. Their attention-grabbing routine paved the way for the formalities of the night which literally ended with a bang, as all of the Funktionality team made their way to the stage carrying bottles of French champagne lit with pyrotechnics.
From there, DJ Rodd Richards – accompanied by vocals from The Voice’s Arrnott Olssen had the dancefloor shaking with crowd-favourites. Guests needing a break from dancing could be seen entering the iSelfie360 room – an innovative and interactive video booth (the first of its kind in Australia) capitalising on the ‘Selfie’ trend and engaging audiences in a subtle, meaningful and social way. The camera, which whirled around the guests capturing short snippets of fun, made for amusing viewing the following day.
As the clock struck midnight, the final surprise was revealed to the crowd – an incredible performance by The Replicants, a troupe of genetically engineered organic robots, wearing ultra-bright illuminated costuming and performing with state of the art Graphic Poi visuals. This act left guests awe-struck and abuzz the remainder of the night as DJs Kate Monroe (Sydney’s first lady of House) and Andrew Wowk (Chinese Laundry) played on till 3AM.
“Being such an incredible milestone – 15 successful years in an industry marked by volatility – the achievement felt like a momentous one and so I wanted to celebrate in a big way,” says Wood.
With 15 years of producing amazing events, she says it’s taught her to always strive to be in the forefront of the industry.
“You need to continue to reinvent your business. We have a strong brand and identity but you can never get lazy,” she adds. “Innovation is key to entertain, communicate with and inspire our clients, and that’s precisely what we did on the night by showcasing revolutionary acts and technology.”
The event served as a way to thank Funktionality’s valued suppliers for their continued support over the years.
“Since the conclusion of the party in the early hours of Sunday morning, Facebook has been abuzz with comments from guests gushing that it was ‘the party of the year!!” – huge praise from this hard-to-please bunch!”
NW Group – technical production
Foti Fireworks – pyrotechnics
Geoff Magee Photography – event photography
iSecure – security
Studio Neon – catering
Batch Brewing Company – beverages
Endless Wines and Cider – beverages
Clifford Wallace Agency – bar staff
DJs Chester, Kate Monroe, Rodd Richards, Andrew Wowk – entertainment
Party Photobooth – entertainment
Junkyard Beats – entertainment
Arrnott Olssen – entertainment
iSelfie360 – entertainment