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An Evening in the Garden

In Lighting Design by images310 / September 9, 2014

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This year, the planners of the annual gala at the Huntington Gardens wanted to evoke a sultry Southern evening. Given the unusually warm weather of Los Angeles that week, it seems the weather was in collusion with the theme.

A deck of white-washed planks installed by Town & Country Event Rentals laid the foundation, literally. From that beginning, layer upon layer of design elements were added, ending with the lighting. To create the feeling of a night on the patio, we added string lights across the entire deck space and also horizontally stacked them artfully between the pillars of the facade behind the band. Colorful paper shades added a sense of celebration.

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Teal accents made the iconic architecture pop and mirrored the teal shutters that were added to the cabanas and back bar.

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The guest of honor — the library itself — glowed softly from across the way thanks to our architectural lighting.

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Cabanas outfitted with Adirondack chairs and comfy pillows had been built into the deck design. We added uplighting in white and accented them (four in all) with more paper lanterns.

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Extensive landscape lighting brought the beauty of the Huntington’s lush landscape out and added much to the feeling of dinner in the garden as a full moon kept watch.

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And finally, the details! In addition to geometric gobo break up patterns on the dance floor, another lighting detail we created was putting the Huntington’s new logo in lights. Laissez les bons temps roulez!

 

Lighting Inspired by a “Thread” of an Idea

In Lighting Design by images310 / August 25, 2014

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As designer of the HBO Emmy after party for the past 16 years, Billy Butchkavitz uses rich textiles for his design inspiration. This year was no different, however, the textile inspiration was more specific than ever. It was a jacket designed by the Spanish fashion designer Paco Rabanne in the sixties. Educated as an architect, much of that discipline found its way into Rabanne’s fashion design and the jacket was a colorful study of geometric shapes.

imageButchkavitz took what was a thread (literally) of an idea from Rabanne’s work, and expanded it into a stunning look for this event. And for the first time, he used a lot of white space, rather than layering pattern on pattern, color and color. Dubbing this his “white party,” Butchkavitz designed an event at which the white spaces were an important juxtaposition for the color, shapes and architectural elements.

For us, as the lighting designer, this was key information that would drive all the lighting looks and choices, down to the selection of lighting equipment. For instance, more LEDs than ever were used because of their ability to project a crisp white or color and to sequence colors throughout the evening.

The transformation of the space – a clear-top tent, installed over a fountain at the Pacific Design Center – began from the ground up with a custom carpet of structured geometric boxes of color. The architectural undertone was enhanced by a series of large block-like arches that created “cabanas” for lounge areas as well as framed a central sculpture.
Instead of using layers of patterned fabrics and wallpaper as he had in the past, Butchkavitz turned to Images to create a lighting palette that would do the same without the use of hardscape. He wanted layers of textures created through lighting. In addition to gobo break up patterns of various geometric shapes in carefully selected areas, the arches were top lighted with conventional lights, and uplighted with LEDs.

The central “chandelier sculpture,” created and installed by an artist, featured organic shapes which contrasted with the geometrics of the carpet. As the main feature, the lighting of it was crucial. We worked closely with the designer to add LED lights to the sculpture’s spirals that softly fell from the ceiling to the ground.photo1 cropped

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It was these arches that would carry out the other directive put forth by Butchkavitz — that the lighting on these architectural elements would direct attention to different areas and actions. To accomplish this, the lighting sequence for the evening began with the arches lighted in white. When something was happening on one of the three entertainment stages, the arches throughout the area began to sequence, with color rolling from one column to the next in the direction of the stage. When the entertainment began, the sequencing stopped, and all arches but those in the given area stopped changing color and remained white. Once that happened, all lighting energy shifted to those areas and was designed for maximum energy and color pop.
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For this star-studded event, the guest list included lighting as its star. This was an event design not only made lighting a collaborative effect with the design, but placed it front and center.

Photos: Gabor Eckes

Reveling in a Celebrity Wedding at Vibiana

In Lighting Design by images310 / August 19, 2014

In the wedding and event industry, it is an honor to be featured in the wedding bible, Grace Ormonde, Wedding Style. We were there this month thanks to the team at Revelry Event Design who empowered us to turn up the emotional volume of this event with our lighting. The combined team effort of everyone involved was this jaw-dropping event at Vibiana; a birthday for Robin McGraw, the wife of TV’s Dr. Phil.

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Revelry’s goal with the design was to create an experience that allowed guests to transition from intimate boutiques and replicas of famous storefronts to a grand space via the main hall of Vibiana, the stunning event venue. With more than 10,000 square feet of open space and vaulted ceilings, this required build-outs of the storefront walls and heavy drapery. Several bars were placed through Vibiana including a secluded wine tasting lounge. Guests were invited to shop until they dropped (on the house) in Christian Louboutin, Victoria’s Secret and Chanel. An exquisite pattisserie resplendent with delicate desserts was set up in its own area as well.

The client’s vision called for a comfortable setting in an elegant ambiance. Chef Neal Fraser of Vibiana complemented their detailed lounge vignettes and mirrored furnishings with a dramatic buffet including approachable cuisine from the client’s home-state of Texas.

As for lighting, we worked with BARTKRESA designs to create a digital projection at the far end of Vibiana as guests walked in. We then repeated that pattern in soft gobos on the domed ceiling. Uplights around the perimeter where the walls had been draped added beauty and color. We did the same in the stores and in the wine tasting room, yet we provided a different set of stronger, more defined gobos for the floor to create a “tiled” entrance. At the end of the evening, none other than Katy Perry performed. We were thrilled to provide her live performance lighting. The show was incredible!

In all, this was one of those once in a lifetime events! No doubt the birthday girl had a fabulous time, but the icing on our cake was working with Revelry and being in Grace Ormonde. Ooo la la!

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Photography: Yoshi Morimoto Photography | Event Design: Revelry Event Design |Floral Design: Celios Design | Venue: Vibiana | Catering: Neal Fraser at Vibiana | Invitations: Lehr and Black | Desserts: A Wish and a Whisk | Tabletop: Casade Perrin | Party Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Sound for Katy Perry: No Static AV | Lighting Design: Images | Digital Video Mapping: BARTKRESA Design | Celebrity Host: Dr. Phil | Celebrity Guest: Robin McGraw | Entertainment: Katy Perry

A Lighting Design Liberace Would Love

In Lighting Design by images310 / July 24, 2014

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Every year, HBO hosts a Golden Globes after-party event (held early in the year) that is centered around a theme, usually one of its nominated television series or feature films. This year’s theme  was the HBO film Behind the Candelabra, a film about Liberace starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. It was was up for four Golden Globe Awards and took home one for Best Miniseries / Movie. All the more reason for Billy Butchkavitz to help HBO pop the champagne.

Along with projections of champagne bubbles, Billy brought in other elements as homage to Liberace’s over-the-top style. He played off of many of his signatures — chandeliers, textures, rhinestones, oversized props, and lots of glitz and glam. For our lighting design, we picked up on the vintage baroque angle and created a lighting color palette of champagne and red with gold accents.

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It all began with scaffolding the pool of the Beverly Hills Hilton. In the past, this pool has been incorporated into the event design, but this year Billy’s design required the extra space for his vision of large-scale extravagance. Walls were built that were as tall as the hotel, hiding the pool deck walls, and turning them into décor elements. These walls were then draped with a luxurious, red and gold print fabric. We placed lighting at the top and aimed it down for dramatic effect. Gold chandeliers were hung from the walls, and to make them really stand out, we built custom Plexiglass boxes with gold frames for effect.

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In lieu of extensive video mapping, we created the big wall visual using conventional lighting; several gobo rotators created a solid projection of overlapping moving damask texture. It was certainly unusual, in this day and age of high-tech, to actually go old school and recreate a look by using old technology, but of course it worked beautifully!

The same  approach was taken with the HBO logo. We used automated fixtures to project the logo, overlapping it with MAC III projectors that have branding capabilities. We spent time ensuring they were lined up exactly so that it looked like a single image. This created a more intense image, and served as a great backup if needed.

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Leopard print lounges were placed around the event perimeter, with candelabra-shaped gold dividers between them. Uplighting was used on these dividers to bring attention to the décor. Circular lounges were also placed throughout the space, offering contrast to the red and gold printed dining tables where we had placed soft candle lighting. A gobo of champagne bubbles was used to light the entire space for one last textured element. Together, the various patterns and colors worked together to create a uniquely textured space that was as extravagant and lavish as Liberace was.

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The inspiration!

Photos by Gabor Ekecs

There Will Be Blood: Lighting the True Blood Premieres

In Lighting Design by images310 / July 17, 2014

 

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Blood, vampires, and a dash of playfulness – all perfect ingredients for the annual HBO True Blood premiere parties. As far as lighting a premiere event goes, this was one time that the phrase, There Will be Blood, was true!

Each year since the first premiere event, Images has had the pleasure of working with designer Billy Butchkavitz. Through many of the events there is a common – ahem – vein – that runs through them. The color red, naturally, a gobo projection of the logo often repeated several times, often a central tree and cemetery scene, some fun interactive element with the guests and of course, given that the designer is Billy B, each one has a wicked sense of style. While many elements stay the same, Billy works closely with HBO to ensure the event design always captures the essence of the upcoming season.

And while vampires live forever, not so for cable shows. We show our last respects with this photo essay of all the True Blood premiere events. We may be saying goodbye and fangs for the memories, but we’ve learned that there really is no keeping a good vampire down.

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We begin our retrospective at a unique venue — the rooftop of ArcLight Hollywood’s parking lot. Nothing like starting out with a challenge! Billy designed a central tree, surrounded by a small graveyard. With no rigging points from which to hang our gear, we got creative by rigging the hardware to light trees and pipe and base. Gobos in monochromatic tones added interest to the lighting design, beginning a trend that would continue through each year’s premiere event.

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2010

This year Billy added an intricate and very realistic backdrop to the party at Boulevard 3. To light it as realistically as possible, and ensure that no seams would be seen, we used uplights which filled in any creases and helped create dimension. Gobos added texture to the ballroom surfaces and patio area while smaller areas were detailed out with candles and projections from the show.

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Overall, Billy gravitated towards a monochromatic color scheme with the True Blood premieres. Being emerged in one color for too long presents a challenge as the color becomes a neutral and actually the eye and mind no longer recognize it. To avoid this and keep the party vibrant we used accent colors. The venue, the Hollywood Athletic Club (formerly Social Hollywood Athletic Club) was lighted in mainly red in the foyer with an added touch of candlelight for accent. In the main room, Billy did the opposite with a wall of candles and just a touch of red in the design elements. Centerpieces were a nod to the Southern locale of the show, and its town, Bon Temps.

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2012

The year we did this event at the Lure Hollywood Nightclub was one of the darkest parties we have ever created, both literally and figuratively! The affect of blood dripping from the walls was achieved through video mapping.

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2013
Back again at the Hollywood Athletic Club, red was the prevailing color all the way around. An addition of ethereal creatures in hanging “coffins” created a chilling effect.

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2014

Billy’s designs always begin and end with texture which we play off of with lighting and gobos. Back at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the event once again featured a central custom-built tree. To create texture in the space around it, we layered gobo light patterns that covered nearly every surface. This, coupled with the texture used in the upholstery, furniture, and pillows, created an elegant space. Once again Billy used a scenic backdrop alluding to the show’s Louisiana locale to which we added uplights for a daytime effect. And the addition of Astroturf for grass was one of his brilliant touches that truly transformed the space into a Southern landscape.

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True Blood 2008 – 2014 RIP. We will miss lighting these inspired premiere events. However, we rest easy knowing that nothing lasts forever … except perhaps every episode of True Blood which no doubt will remain in syndication for decades to come!

All photos by Gabor Ekecs

 

A Fantasy Lighting Design

In Lighting Design by images310 / June 9, 2014

Shining Light on an Underground Annual Nightclub

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For an event that is known for its striking combination of music, artistry, and performance, it was only fitting that the lighting for the third annual Myth Masque Ball be as masterful and playful as the evening itself.

Held at the venerable Los Angeles Theatre in the city’s newly revitalized downtown, our Images team worked with Jack Strauss from No Static Pro Audio to create an ambiance that was both sensual and mysterious, true to the fantasy nature of Myth.

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The event attracted masked and costumed attendees who had found their way to the somewhat secret entrance via an alleyway where a lighted gobo over the door read “Myth.”

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Slow and ghostly music greeted guests as they entered the venue. To enhance the eerie vibe, lights were low with the exception of blue uplighting on fixtures alongside the corridor. At the end of the corridor, guests were taken to the next level thanks to a combination of radiant color and electronic music.

During the 48 hours before the first guest arrived, the space had been transformed from an undecorated space to a fairy tale ball. According to Lonnie Thompson, lighting designer, “Being in a theater had its pluses. The team there is used to housing large stage productions, so we were able to tie into existing power to run everything. This eliminated the use of a generator…or rather, three.”

Being that the ball was held on multiple levels of the theater and featured several alternating themes, our team team incorporated the use of both intelligent and conventional lighting fixtures. Conventional fixtures were used to complement the already impressive architecture of the historic building. The intelligent lighting fixtures were used on the lower level of the theater, to breathe life into the dance floor by creating a high-energy nightclub look.

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Set between the grand ballroom and the dance floor was the theater itself, where live performances occurred throughout the evening. Here, as in the grand ballroom, we illuminated the stage with the use of conventional lighting fixtures. During individual acts on stage, spotlights from the balcony highlighted the artists.

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Myth Masque was the quintessential lighting designer’s dream — it allowed us to truly influence the crowd with diverse lighting techniques and color variances. “The overall vibe of Myth Masque was an ‘Eyes Wide Shut’-meets-underground-urban Los Angeles,” Thompson says referencing the cult classic film by director Stanley Kubrick. Images took to this vibe and designed an evening of lighting and color, playing with emotion and beauty, to create an event that was mythic in its theatricality but totally real in conveying the world the event producers wanted to create.

Lighting a Rustic Wedding in Ojai

In Lighting Design by images310 / May 30, 2014

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For this simple yet utterly charming wedding held at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa, we were honored to work alongside wedding planner Sonia Hopkins of XOXO Bride | Weddings and Events.

Sonia’s concept is best summed up in the piece that appeared this week in Style My Pretty: “There is something to be said about using your surroundings and playing into the tone of the venue rather than over-designing a space just because you can.” We agree! And so for our lighting design, we followed her lead with a clean and simple look just right for the venue.

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Photos: Braedon Photography.

To see the entire wedding, click here …

 

 

Lighting Pompeii

In Lighting Design by images310 / May 27, 2014

 

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It’s not every lighting designer who can say they worked in the Coliseum, but after this weekend, Images can now add this to our resume. Yet, this Coliseum was not that of Rome but of Los Angeles, located directly next to the California Science Center.

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The center’s 16th Annual Discovery Ball gala transported guests to Pompeii during this kick-off event for the West Coast premiere of the traveling exhibition. Following a cocktail reception at which the guests enjoyed a preview of the artifacts on display, everyone was moved via chariots (golf carts) to the entrance to the Coliseum which had been transformed into the garden area of a Pompeiian villa.

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Working with the center’s Vice President of Event Services, Chris Scion, Images’ lighting designer Lonnie Thompson created a lighting palette in tones of amber, red and blue to light the main arch and side arches of the impressive Los Angeles Coliseum entrance.

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Pieces of art, similar to those that might be found at a Roman villa, were uplit for drama and dining tables were hit with pinspots in warm, amber hues.

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The main stage was lighted in shades of pink and blue and the inner archway directly behind it glowed softly in reds and blues as guests arrived.

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As the sun began to set, the lighting inside the arches intensified, creating a dramatic view, one that perfectly recalled this ancient time in which beauty and art were held in high regard.

 

From Par Cans to Can Cans

In Lighting Design by images310 / May 15, 2014

For Images, it was fitting that the theme of Pacific Pride’s Royal Ball this year was Paris, the city of lights. Image’s event lighting began where all things Parisian do – at the Eiffel Tower. Only this one was a 30-foot-tall replica installed by event designer, Rrivre Davies of Rrivre Works.

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We fully lit the tower which welcomed the crowd of more than 600 people. A series of stringer lights radiated out from it creating a canopy of sorts. “For outdoor spaces, doing something overhead like these stringer lights is simple, yet gives the area a focal point as well as a sense of enclosure,” says  Ray Thompson, lighting designer.

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This was the third year that Images did designed and installed the lighting for the Royal Ball, the largest fund-raising event for Pacific Pride Foundation, an organization that provides services to the LGBT community of Santa Barbara. The event, which this year raised $250,000, was started three years ago by event producer Merryl Brown of Merryl Brown Events in Santa Barbara, and has been held at the Bacara Resort and Spa for the past two years.

“The presence of Images at this event is non-negotiable,” says Brown of her short list of trusted creative partners. “Everyone at Images is an artist; a top-notch professional. I give them ideas and they always interpret them perfectly.”

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Inside the ballroom foyer, Images brought the house lighting down and added amber uplighting to create a different color palette and a sexy vibe.

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The event design by Davies included a healthy dose of French Morocco and a rich palette of burgundy, gold, brown and oranges. Images designed LED fixtures around the perimeter of the ballroom which were programmed to transform the room’s environment with color and light as the entertainment and evening’s vibe shifted.

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Light fixtures (lamps, pinspots, spotlights) for the room and the 11 lounge areas were installed on a truss super system. The truss was then sleeved in a fabric the same cream color as the 25-foot-high ceiling thereby hiding any mechanics to allow the room to be fully transformed into a completely different environment.

“This was the Royal Ball,” Thompson says. “It had to be very regal. No one wants to see pipe and base or trussing. Everything had to be clean.”

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And although the lighting was clean, huge mirrored disco balls over the dance floor suggested that the evening was also meant to be a little racy as well. During the evening, Images projected a scrolling leaf pattern gobo on the dance floor, designed to pick up patterns with the brocade fabrics Davies had selected for the draping. And at one point, Images hit the mirrors with a new toy. “They are called Sharpies,” Thompson explains. “They send out a tight beam of light enabling us to bounce off just a section of the mirrored balls. The effect is quite extraordinary.”

As was the lighting to which Davies can attest. “I walk the clients through for a final sign-off during the day, when all the lights are on in the ballroom. They panic a little until the lights go down, the lighting by Images comes up and everything looks incredible.”

Lighting 2013 Primetime Emmy After-Parties

In Lighting Design by images310 / May 13, 2014

A Look Back at Enchanted Forests + Fine Feathers

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Lighting designers are always looking for ways to innovate and move their ideas forward. Yet just as often, they revisit projects that worked, using them as launching pads for new inspiration. At our weekly meeting we did just that with these Emmy after-parties and found plenty to re-inspire us from the work we did with these two seasoned teams of event professionals.

Just as energy in motion remains in motion, the ideas, technology and creativity that were put into motion with past events, continues on as we build upon it anew.

The 65th Primetime Emmy Governors Ball
The concept for the 65th Primetime Emmy Governors Ball began simply enough with the idea to have dinner in the garden. But there is nothing simple about the largest annual formal sit-down dinner in the country. The 4,000-person event (that’s 400 tables), was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and was produced and designed by Sequoia Productions, led by Cheryl Cecchetto.

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The garden had grown in design and size into an enchanted forest comprised of three 40-foot-tall stylized trees surrounding a main stage. An expansive canopy of futuristic “foliage” hung overhead. Irma Hardjakusumah designed the trees for Sequoia Productions which were then fabricated by Bill Ferrell Company and Sosa Sisters. Other elements of the event included pieces by Classic Party Rentals, Lux Lounge Event Furniture Rentals, and linens from Resource One.

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Lighting by our team began with those canopies which were stretched across the entire 20,000-square-foot ceiling. We illuminated the faux-liage – the leaves Hardjakusumah designed from different lengths of Plexiglass – with LED lighting to create a weeping willow effect.

This modern take on a classic tree became even more futuristic as throughout the evening the trees and the room softly shifted color palette, giving the forest its enchanted mood and turning this environment into something that went far beyond the garden walls and into the realm of fantasy.

Photos by Nadine Froger

The HBO After-Party

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Down the street (or rather, freeway), from the Governors Ball, our lighting team had also been working all week setting up lighting at the HBO tent. This bash, overseen by HBO’s vice president of special events Cindy Tenner with designer-collaborator Billy Butchkavitz, took place in the Pacific Design Center’s fountain plaza.

Much like the designers of the Governors Ball, Butchkavitz drew his inspiration from nature. The message was clear — HBO was proud of its year and awards, with a design inspired by peacock feathers with a color palette of blue and green accented with silver.

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Green and blue lighted lanterns were another thematic element used by Butchkavitz. The central focus of the tent was a multi-story structure that dazzled with lanterns.

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More lanterns – pieces that Butchkavitz had found in his many travels — were stacked on the two main walls of the event, and installed and powered by our team. We were also responsible for the installation and operation of the large-format video projectors for the content provided by Bart Kresa Design.

Our team also worked with Butchkavitz to select an overall break-up pattern of lighting with a texture that complemented the event linens, custom carpet and video imagery. (see top photo)

As lighting designers, Images finds inspiration and innovation in new technology and equipment. And yet, as these two events demonstrate, our best inspiration will always come from the talented event designers with whom we are honored to work.

Photos: Gabor Ekecs