Winding up the stairs towards a private penthouse is not your typical introduction to a supplier showcase. Nor is private gallery, filled with John Olsen works, bathed in a technicolor disco haze. And that’s because the spring #VenuemobVIP Supplier Event definitely wasn’t your ordinary showcase.
On a cloudy night in September 15 suppliers and one venue came together to create an immersive and unique journey for ‘seen-it-all’, wearied event planners. The setting – The Lake Eyre Penthouse in The Olsen Hotel – one of Melbourne’s most beautiful, boutique Art Series hotels. Being a hotel that celebrates creative genius, with wall after wall adorned with works by renowned Australian artist John Olsen, it made for the perfect setting for a supplier showcase where interaction was paramount. Each supplier and each activation encouraged the audience to participate, rather than merely observe, to ensure total engagement with the experience.
Ascending the first staircase of the Lake Eyre Penthouse, a technicolor installation blanketed the walls in vibrant hues. The light installation, from the AV geniuses at Microhire, wanted the guests’ first experience of the showcase to be brilliant, and all-encompassing. The rainbow of lights across the walls, adorned with John Olsen paintings, created a new perspective for viewing the revered artworks. The nerve centre behind the night, Microhire’s sound and lighting expertise ensured everything ran smoothly (the number one prayer of any event planner).
Passing the last staircase, there were two very beautiful sights. To the left – a glimpse of the expansive and dazzling Melbourne cityscape. To the right, a grazing table and mini donut wall from ECCO Hospitality. ‘Grazing’ is somewhat of an understatement. The table was pretty for sure, but the taste and abundance of food meant guests had their fill. Almost too good to eat, everyone that arrived to the intact table had the good sense to whip out their phones and open Instagram.
The entire showcase had people keeping their phones in hand, at the ready for that perfect shot. Resident photographer for the night, Evan Mery from Evan Mery Design, had no trouble capturing the passion that went into every section, and the delight of the guests diving into their surroundings.
Stepping into the cool air outside, a wraparound balcony offered expansive views of the river and city lights. Inside, the penthouse living area was a sensory delight. A sweet and gentle cloud of fragrance surrounded the centre table, with hand-poured candles from Grace and James drawing in guests. With a suite of scents to choose from, guests could create their own signature candle, to be hand poured and delivered in the coming weeks – the kind of keepsake that, with every ignition, brings back memories of the night.
To complement this relaxing activation, in the corner, some truly talented musicians from Artist Bookings were serenading the room. A crowd favourite was Rada Tolchana – a roving opera singer who knew how to get the party going. She may have been singing classical arias, but she certainly knew how to boogie!
Ready for a drink, the next stop was the bedroom. Or rather, a pop-up cocktail lounge, designed to challenge your nose and tastebuds into deciphering the components of gin. With lounge music playing, and ‘jaffa’ cocktail shots with native botanicals at the ready, people were encouraged to relax, absorb, and learn. This activation included a sample of botanical ingredients that make up gin, with guests encouraged to decipher what they were smelling. Monsieur Cocktail is all about creating a sensory experience. Far from a ‘bartender for hire’, they create an interactive experience. The Bondi to Coogee package, for example, encourages guests to play with the kinetic sand on the table, listen to the sounds of the sea, and taste an original cocktail, with native ingredients featuring heavily.
With the senses engaged, the last stop on the penthouse floor was the Be Challenged station. As its name may suggest, Be Challenged is a service that specialises in creating genuinely exciting, engaging and tailored team building activities and programs. The masters of variety, guests could try their hand at a number of activities, including a balloon animal time-challenge, and a virtual reality challenge. Working in teams of four, each person takes a VR tour of a room and solve challenges. The aim of the game is team work, and relaying what you can see with some cards on the table to your team members.
With the penthouse full to each corner with activations, you’d be forgiven for thinking that was the sum total. But below the penthouse lay another, separate yet equally dazzling space full of suppliers creating event magic.
Entering the gallery floor at The Olsen, you were immediately greeted with an aura of pink and purple joy. The wash of colour was from the AV wizards at Microhire. But the mood came from a section that hosted a beer pong table (Venuemob’s contribution, very on-brand), and two photobooth setups. To one side, a huge interactive mirror, that also doubles as a camera. The ‘Mirror Me Booth’ from One Click Events gives guests the opportunity to really set their photo up. (The end result is hilarious by the way). To the other, a ring-lit camera (it’ll make you look practically flawless) creating your very own GIFs.
And in the internal courtyard was arguably one of the most elaborate supplier showcases. While this activation involved eight suppliers, it all pulled together seamlessly. And what guests saw was a visually stunning, unique, fun and tasty activation.
The team at Carts and Containers were at the helm, serving up bright and fruity frose, or ‘frozen rose’ for those unfamiliar with the lingo. Drink in hand, it was time for a photo in front of the inflated and gorgeous backdrop from Moonshot Balloons and Moonshot Events – a highlight for any Instagram feed. Throughout the space, elegant floral touches from Basia Puchalski Floral Design were intertwined to the activation, adding a touch of romance. This floral motif spilled onto the cocktail tables, with POS Visual Solutions wrapping each cocktail stand with a splash of spring, and the signs that adorned the space.
The sweetest touch of all – custom designed cookies from Sweetcheeks Cookies and Cakes. Each company invited had a specialised cookie with their logo printed. It was the guest’s job to find them…and then eat them promptly. Those after a very, very personalised cookie had the opportunity to print (and then presumably devour) their own face, onto a cookie. And finally, like a conductor of an orchestra, the team at Kinfolk Events made sure that each supplier’s contribution slotted into one another’s in one flowing movement.
The entire supplier showcase was a dream, one that wouldn’t have been possible without the generosity and tireless efforts from all our event suppliers. From all of us at Venuemob, thank you. Special shout out of course to Kate, Alex and the whole team at The Olsen Hotel. It was the perfect backdrop for this unique event.