3 inspiration themes for memorable events

The second in a four-part series, we highlight takeaways from creative themed events by the French Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, AIA Hong Kong and more

In this second of four part series, we spotlight unique themes to dress up your event experience. This week, we highlight creative ideas from the French Chamber of Commerce in Singapore's dazzling gala dinner, AIA Hong Kong's colossal team building project and a dinner fit for royalty at this Balinese UNESCO World Heritage.

In case you missed it, here's the part one of the series; subsequent parts can be found here and here.

A French enchanted forest

Planner: Michel Huguenin, co-founder, Planitswiss Asia
Contact: michel.huguenin@planitswiss.com 
Venue: Shangri-La Hotel Singapore

An enchanted forest theme that included elaborately-costumed dancers and a Michelin-starred chef. (Planitswiss Asia)

What was the aim of the event?
It was an annual gala dinner event for the French Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (FCCS), and it was attended by 560 guests from different French companies. They came up with the theme of 'The Enchanted Forest', and it was our job to execute it.

How did you execute it?
Planning started in September 2018. Everything from the decoration and visual elements to the costumes, music and dancers followed the theme of the event. We got Phillipe Mille, a Michelin- starred chef from France, to come down, and the menu was adapted to fit the theme. Speaking of entertainment, the most impressive part was the two stilt dancers who dressed up as trees.

What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?
We used videos and 3D models to show them how we would execute the concept, and everything they saw in the video was translated to the venue itself. The fact that we manage our own A/V, artists and decorations allows us to offer a holistic experience. Also, it's a big audience, and timing was limited. We needed to think of all the shows, speeches, entertainment and F&B, as well as make sure that the flow was managed in a frictionless manner.

Lastly, the chef flew in only for two or three days, and it was an entirely new kitchen team. So it was a big challenge to make sure that the food was in order. What is important for us is to build a trusting relationship with our guests, allowing both parties to work efficiently and to know what expectations and deliverables are. So we have a good working relationship with FCCS. They trust us. They know what to expect.

AIA Hong Kong makes team building innovative

Planner: Team Building Asia
Contact: enquiries@teambuildingasia.com
Venue: The Hong Kong Jockey Club, Happy Valley

Hands-on activities are a great way to instill team spirit. (Team Building Asia)

What was the aim of the event?
AIA has a plan to deconstruct their Hong Kong office building, to be replaced by a world-class new office building in a few years' time. To encourage employees to engage positively in the possible change, we developed a programme to capitalise on the excitement in the new building, encouraging co-creation and creativity in imagining the new workspace's design. Teams worked together to highlight the importance of collaboration and innovation.

How did you execute it?
After brainstorming with the AIA Design Team from Group Finance, we decided to create the interactive Future Building programme, which set 200 employees to build a 20-storey miniature replica of the new building and their ideal workplace. Employees discussed aesthetics and the use of each space before creating their interior designs for each floor, based on their own creative ideas. Teams were given packs with basic blueprints and office materials like chairs and desks, while vitality-related exercises such as yoga and HIIT challenges, earned them items like plants, computers, musical instruments and even a rooftop Ferris wheel.

What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?
We had to test materials for stacking stability and though the sheer size of the final project was a challenge, it was a huge hit with employees, who were reluctant to leave until many photos were snapped with the mini AIA Future Building; currently displayed at their office to continue dialogue and enthusiasm for the actual building.

A touch of Balinese royalty

Planner: Sumadi, meeting and incentive manager Indonesia, Pacific World
Contact: sumadi@pacificworld.com
Venue: Taman Ayun Temple, Mengwi, Bali

With the right planning and expertise, events at UNESCO World Heritage Sites - especially sacred spots - can be impressive stunners.

What was the aim of the event?
In April 2018, we organised a dinner event for a US-based client, and we thought it would be special to take the 250 guests to Bali's Taman Ayun Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How did you execute it?
More than 500 villagers dressed in traditional costumes welcomed guests, plus a full-on procession where guests moved from the cocktail area to dinner, and it was performed as an offering to the deities. And because the temple used to be part of the royal palace, we organised a special rajalaya service: each guest was served by one staff throughout dinner like royalty. On top of that, we invited local villagers to set up a night market outside the temple. There, the guests got involved in activities like painting and woodcutting.

What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?
Weather is unpredictable in Bali, and the temple being a UNESCO World Heritage Site meant we couldn't build shelters for wet weather. Second, as a very important and sacred site for locals, only Balinese entertainment was allowed within the temple compounds. Everything, from the performances and costumes to the rituals and dinner programme, had to be treated with utmost respect, reverence and authenticity.

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