Taylor Jenkins and I were recently privileged to have the opportunity to go to the Special Event Conference and Trade Show at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee. The purpose of our trip was to represent our fellow Syzygy team, at the International Special Event Awards Ceremony and Gala for our nomination in the category for an event valued over $250,000.00. For us, this was National Geographic’s 125th Anniversary at the National Building Museum. Our competition was tough, but our nerves couldn’t be rattled- we were confident in the spectacular event that we had produced.
On the evening of the Awards Ceremony and Gala, Taylor and I dressed in our finest and even took the time prior to primp, which included getting our nails done and hair perfect. Rested and relaxed, (an absolutely rare moment for an event designer) we headed to the cocktail party and awards ceremony. We didn’t really know anyone as the audience for the gala drew people from all around the world. It was amazing to look around the room at people who had come from as far as Germany, China, Australia, Canada – all across the USA. Taylor and I kept mental notes from other acceptance speeches to make sure we covered everything when and if we were to win. Finally, our award category came up and much to our sadness we did not win. For a moment, I was a little sad and then realized that there was no reason to feel this way.
National Geographic’s 125th Anniversary was 100% a win for us in every single way – A true, over the top spectacle down to the smallest detail. The design team created the most beautiful schemes that encompassed digital mapping across the multiple tall columns of the National Building Museum to an extremely impressive reverse curved kabuki that measured over 80 feet tall and 80 feet wide; setting the precedence as a curve never done in the United States in that size or scale before. A bonus was the capability to use the tremendous film footage provided by National Geographic. Taylor took care of every desire of our clients, fulfilling every wish they could have ever dreamed of, for many months leading up to the event. In the end, they truly surpassed their clients’ expectations. Our manufacturing team created 80 custom tables which included custom etched compass tables and topography tables influenced and driven from actual National Geographic maps. In addition to the 80 custom tables, a custom stage of epic size was erected to hold an entire orchestra and 100 of National Geographic’s top explorers. I was responsible for all of the centerpieces which represented earthscapes varying in character from the oceans, desserts, bogs, icebergs and the jungle floor. Each centerpiece was unique with custom details to discover within each design. And finally, last but not least, our installation managers and warehouse team were spectacular throughout the entire packing, loading, install and removal process.
The moral to this story is simple: “It takes a village,” a famous quote from one of my favorite people alive. It’s quite perfect in this circumstance. No one person can ever create the magic that was achieved that evening, and we will ever more be thankful to our entire team for everything contributed by each and every person’s hands and hearts.