This year’s star-studded HBO Emmy Awards after party and its inspired design proves that event designers and their work improve over time. Clearly, there is no slowing down for designer Billy Butchkavitz who along with his HBO collaborator Cindy Tenner, HBO’s vice president of special events, and a loyal team of creative partners, have designed the event for the past 19 consecutive years. While the first event were held at various venues, for the past 15 of those years the event has been held in a custom tent installed over the fountains at the Pacific Design Center.
Once again, Butchkavitz challenged himself and his team with another unique and exciting theme; this time inspired by the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England. The palace, a seaside “resort” built for King George IV, was started in 1787 and was added onto through 1822, is an exotic addition to the English seaside town. Its interior is an homage to chinoiserie – a blend of Asian and Europe decorative arts – while its exterior is a beautiful collage of domes and minarets. It’s effect on Butchkavitz has been great.
“I’ve been going to the Royal Pavilion in Brighton for almost 30 years,” Butchkavitz said. “I’ve been waiting for the right time to do an event based on the interior design of this magnificent palace.” This was his moment to do so.
In true Butchkavitz style, a multitude of custom textiles, furniture, tabletop decor, and carpeting were artfully combined to match the pavilion’s chinoiserie interiors. A series of 12-foot Chinese guardian lions stood in the main dining pavilion, and a 30-foot tiered pagoda surrounded by giant jade trees served as the entertainment hub. In front of the pagoda, guests could cross a garden pond over a 16-foot-long chinoiserie bridges.
But it was when guests looked up that they glimpsed the true magnificence of the palace and its design style. Butchkavitz had created a 20-foot-long replica of a show-stopping dragon chandelier that hangs in the Royal Pavilion’s banquet room.
Just as the Royal Pavilion was produced by a longtime team, Butchkavitz called upon his team of creative partners, many of whom have been working with him on all 19 years of HBO Emmy parties. Agile Eye Solutions constructed the large-scale decor pieces, pagoda, custom tent skin embellishments, and the step-and-repeat. Our lighting designer Curt Stahl provided dramatic lighting while Bart Kresa Design projected artistic designs. Special Event Contractors installed the elevated subfloors, perimeter walls, elevated walkways, and decorative railings. And Town & County Event Rentals provided the custom tent, carpeting and rentals.
The history of the actual Royal Pavilion over the years includes parties, hospitals and flower shows, contains influences from China, India and France, and includes characters as diverse as fishermen, monarchs and soldiers. Given this, and its intricate design, Butchkavitz could not have chosen a more perfect theme for an HBO event — a media outlet that brings us stories from many exotic locales, and celebrates characters from humble to holy!
We’re honored to be part of this team, lighting HBO Emmy events for the past 19 years alongside Billy and his longtime team of creative partners:
Town and Country Event Rentals | Bart Kresa Design | Agile Eye Solutions | Special Event Contractors | Wolfgang Puck Catering | Brian and Peggy Butchkavitz
Photos: Gabor Ekecs