Belinda Aucott discusses the flexible art of event design with Lisa Taylor, Creative Director of Imagination Australia.
December 16th, 2013
Imagination works on clients’ briefs ranging from corporate shindigs and glittering car reveals, to large-scale public parties and dazzling fireworks displays. What Imagination has gained a name for however, is jaw-dropping events that capture highly emotive moments.
Behind the scenes, it’s business as usual when I meet the Creative Director Lisa Taylor on a Monday morning. With a background in Interior Design, Lisa explains that dreaming up 3D environments has similarities to industrial or architectural design, with just a few key exceptions.
“The design fundamentals are the same as with other types of design, especially in creative process stage. It’s the fast pace of the live event space and the environmental factors that really differs.
“We also work on a large number of projects simultaneously,” Taylor says.
To get events perfectly turned out and brilliantly choreographed, she says she draws on the full complement of in-house talent.
“Our creative team is a cross section of disciplines from creative directors, strategists, copywriters, industrial designers, interior architects, graphic designers, digital designers, finished artists and content directors. The size of the team fluctuates depending on the scale and type of work. At any given time we may have up to 30 people in the studio to coordinate,” she says.
Increasingly her events also intersect with technology. A Ford event might require a live stream to YouTube, which impacts on the set design. Other times responsive screens might be built into an immersive environment to educate or entertain.
“We like to build spaces that surprise people, those that encourage creative play or product discovery.”
Understanding how people use space, how people mill about at a cocktail event or how they get comfortable in a room comes back to core skills learned as an interior designer. So how strict is the process? Do briefs really allow for the type of creativity Imagination prides itself on?
“We wouldn’t be doing our duty as a creative agency if we didn’t regularly challenge the brief in order to encourage a different way of thinking in our clients. People talk to us because they want something that hasn’t been done before and they want to be commercially aligned.
“Process can be the elephant in the room when it comes to creativity. The reality is that we need an efficient process with millimetre precision when designing large-scale events. We need exacting process to achieve the extraordinary.
“I love the quote by the late Steve Jobs, who says, ‘Ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.’”
“When working on the recent NYE tender, of which we were the successful creative agency, it required a fresh vision and roadmap for the next 5 years. We presented something quite challenging but they loved our vision. I can’t talk about it yet but it is an exciting future ahead for Australia’s largest public party!”
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