This event took so much determination. Bright Ideas was contracted by a local Audi dealership to produce a high-end VIP Grand Opening event that also needed to highlight the company’s 50th Anniversary. They invited their top clientele and wanted them and the Audi representatives to feel valued by hosting an evening of Most Outstanding quality.
First and foremost, we wanted this event to be innovative to respect Audi’s heritage of sleek German automobile engineering. Considering the precedent, no one in Vancouver was planning Grand Openings for car dealerships with full-blown event design and supportive A/V installations. By doing both, we have raised the bar, innovating what customarily was a 3 hour cocktail party to an outstanding event worth attending and remembering!
For the design, we started with gold because it clearly announced both ‘50’ and ‘luxury’ while offering plenty of room for creativity and uniqueness. The Gold Bar Gala was born!
Then, we added two more design materials that together became our three event design pillars: Gold, Ice and White Orchids. Together, these elements represented everything we needed: sleek, luxury, modern, and show-stopping. We designed giant ice bars, one 20 feet long and one 50 feet long, etched with the client’s anniversary wordmark, embedded orchids, and shone red light to represent the Audi Sport brand.
Then we planned lots of arrangements of orchids to be set everywhere at sizes that said “statement!” and also included them in thoughtful ways like a single blooms frozen into cool solid ice globe centerpieces. Then we put gold everywhere we could: Gold Angels with giant gold wings at the entrance offering a champagne welcome; gold flecks on desserts; servers, wearing gold satin ties bearing canapes on gold Martha Sturdy platters, and models dressed in gold sequin evening gowns offering guided tours.
But planning all of this throughout 100,000 square feet of construction zone (spread across 3 floors) that changed design on a weekly basis and having only opened 3 days before the event, presented its challenges and took a lot of determination. The building was so brand new that power hadn’t been wired to all rooms, including one where a show-stopping up-lit Ice Sculpture had been planned. Just hours before doors, electricians were installing wiring so our design would be realized as planned. When three floors can only be accessed by a single loading bay and freight elevator, logistical planning was not just a challenge, but key to the success of the event.
Nearly 25 suppliers all needed to load in, so delivery windows for each one were established based on the logical progression of installation. For example, all of the crystal chandeliers and truss lighting needed to be installed before the stage and rotating platform, before the custom white sintra stage veneer would be mounted, before the food stations and giant ice bars could be installed under the flown lighting. And ice melts! All of this had to be timed so the ice installations were in place for no longer than 2 hours prior to doors. Considering the dealership was open for business the entire time, this was surely a challenging set-up for a corporate event.
To ensure that all guests could enjoy the speeches, a key element of the agenda, we installed LED screens, plasma monitors, and stage screens on all three floors in locations we previously identified as without direct sightlines to the stage. And, to increase exposure, we also sent the live feed to all of the in-house wall-mounted monitors, which had a dual effect of highlighting these as features of the new building.
The Gold Bar Gala was no ordinary 3 hour cocktail party. The speeches took only twenty minutes, but they incorporated existing video outlining the vision for the new building, and another video highlighting the 50 year journey of the business. Video material was also submitted by Audi Canada, as the President, Daniel Weissland, would make a special keynote address. All of this meant toggling between live speeches and video embedded with audio. Combine this with the reel of rotating client logos, Audi branding, and various promotional videos that fed to all of the LED monitors, and we had an auto dealership Grand Opening with a huge technical aspect!
Even a World Class, innovative Grand Opening needs to have the staples, but we strived to elevate these elements whenever possible. Customized valet signs outside the Red Carpet experience, which was updated by including LED floor panels rotating the evening’s brands, and a photographer-attended Step & Repeat wall stated right off the bat that guests should expect all the basics but with modern twists.
Canapes were passed by sixty servers all wearing black tops, gold ties and white gloves. Several food stations using Lucite countertops emanating a red glow topped with dozens of orchids ensured that no guest had an empty hand at any point throughout the evening. Stilt walkers served guests appetizers as they took the escalator to tour floors. This was a novel idea.
Contortionists folded themselves through cubes located on permanent features the client wanted to highlight, such as the foyer café.
And the World’s Longest Dessert Bar (102’ long) on the third floor (Guinness World Record pending) with customized phone charging stations offered dessert squares with edible logos beside a Bubble Tea café that ensured that guests finished the evening with traditional features (desserts and coffee). Elevated and reinvented to reflect the stature of both this World Class auto icon and the experience, this is exactly what the select clientele wanted.
The social media feed was alight for days with posts, retweets, and likes showing us that guests enjoyed everything right down to the smallest details.
And, remarking on his favorite moments such as the replica Audi R8 Ice Car that rotated and changed colours, and using the same scissors that cut the ribbon for the original opening 50 years ago, our minds are still ringing by the way the special guest, Daniel Weissland, summarized the Gold Bar Gala’s outstanding caliber by stating, “This event ranks among the top five Audi openings I’ve ever attended globally”!
The success of this event depended on never losing sight of our event goals. With all of the changes and difficult load in challenges, it took a ton of Determination to pull off this event!
Event Photos: Gold Bar Gala Photos
Case Study: Determination