'Stylish, glamorous and beautiful' set the tone for the 2010 Women's Aid ACT Gala Dinner and fundraiser, which was produced by west London, UK, based creative practice, DesignScene.
The star studded event for 260 top patrons and supporters of the high profile domestic violence charity was staged in the ornate Ballroom of The Dorchester, one of London's most prestigious hotels, and presented by Neil Fox.
It included live performances by Will Young and the ubiquitously popular 4 Poofs And A Piano who entertained guests in the reception area. Other highlights were special addresses by Sarah Brown and Duncan Bannatyne, who drew attention to the goals and principals of Women's Aid's 'Real Man' campaign, bringing a new and additional dimension to the evening.
There was also an IML silent auction running throughout the dinner (canapé starters and bowl food in reception area followed by a 2 course sit-down dinner) plus a live auction which together raised over £190,000.
DesignScene was asked to produce the event for the second year running, after bringing a fresh and innovative visual approach to last year's much acclaimed gala dinner held at Claridges.
Central to this year's design concept was 11 larger-than-life graphic cut-outs of various celebrity 'Real Men' and endorsees the campaign, which were installed around the main room and in the periphery rooms used as pre-dinner reception areas. They were carefully lit to be always visible but never obtrusive.
In addition to making the room and presentation area into a visually pleasant environment for guests to relax and enjoy the evening, DesignScene's brief also included a lighting and technical production design for the space, and the specification and supply of sound, lighting and AV equipment
DesignScene's Ben Turner explains that early on in the process they met with top florist Rob Van Helden to discuss the colour scheme for the flowers which were very prominent along with the table settings and other details. This set a tone, and thereafter, they were left to their own imaginative devices.
This year's sophisticated colour scheme of royal blues, pinks, dark greys and silvers was a classy blend of classic and contemporary.
DesignScene had the 24 x 18 ft stage built and a black Perspex dancefloor installed in front of it. The stage had a grey pleated cloth backdrop edged with a black and silver frame.
In the Orangery at one end of the ballroom, they built a 6 metre black light bar which was illuminated from above and below in purple - this was supplied from DesignScene's own stock of scenic elements and furnishings.
A circular truss was installed above the front central zone of the dining area and a semi circular one above the stage, both rigged with Vari*Lite moving lights and a selection of ETC Source Four profiles and some pin spots. These illuminated the stage, the tables and around the room. There were additional Vari*Lites on the stage deck, and colour changing lighting around the room walls was provided by using PixelPAR 90s.
The 6 x 12ft high Real Men graphics in the main room were lit with Source Fours hung off the central circular truss and another straight truss flown half way down one side of the room. They were highly effective and visible and received lots of comments. There were another 5 x 8ft high Real man graphics, 3 in the Gold Room, 1 in the Silver Room and one in the Crush Foyer.
Lighting was operated by DesignScene's technical director Attila Keskin and supplied by Essential Lighting.
A d&b sound system was installed for the main room music performances and presentations, supplied by DesignScene's regular audio supplier, CHAPS Productions, together with a smaller d&b system in the Gold Room for the 4 Poofs and their piano - all presented on a circular riser in the centre of the room.
Sixty-five inch plasma screens sourced from CT were dotted around the room so all the guests could comfortably see the various VT inserts as they keep an eye on the progress of the silent auction.
The event was another great success for Women's Aid, with the presentation and aesthetic receiving lots of positive feedback from guests. DesignScene's Ben Turner sums up, "It was a real pleasure to be asked back again to work on an event of this profile and relevance. We all really enjoyed making it a memorable and special evening"
For more press info on DesignScene please contact Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679 or +44 (0)7831 329888 or Email â€˜[email protected]'. To contact DesignScene direct, call +44 208 752 8290 or check www.designscene.co.uk