Designing GoWest 2019: The Story
Collaborating with the Timewise and One West Event Design, FMAV wanted to create an immersive experience that would welcome and accommodate high calibre speakers and keynotes. While also providing a warm welcoming space that encouraged networking and conversation.
The designing of the main room (the Process)
The team (FMAV & Timewise) met in the Edmonton office to align and frame the event towards creating a narrative to explain the value it represents to its various stakeholders.
The first step was a Stakeholder Alignment Exercise (more details can be found here). From the exercise the team identified the high impact stakeholders that would provide a high return on investment, if the design was focused on them.
The team then took those key stakeholders, and performed a Rapid Empathy Exercise. They mapped out a statement each stakeholder would make before the event, as well as a statement for after the event. These statements helped to understand the change in behaviour the event would create. It also contributed to articulating the events value further.
We then dug a little deeper into each stakeholder. The team wanted to understand the level of experience the stakeholders wanted. We asked the question, on a scale of 1-10 where would the stakeholder sit?
1= simple and accessible 10= highly experiential/disruptive.
Then we performed a Presenter Intimacy Matrix, with one axis being up on a “Rockstar” i.e. up on pedestal, inaccessible, star power. Vs “Best Friend” intimate, reach out and touch them, like best friends sharing a coffee, being close to and getting to associate with the presenter.
What’s the Vibe? We listed words that speak to the feeling at the event.
From that activity and information, we identified our event narrative which was:
‘Go West offers event professionals in Western Canada the opportunity to come together to make meaningful connections, educate, elevate, and engage within a community. Presenting the Western Canadian region as brave thought leaders, actively embracing innovation. Leading the industry with smart, effective event design.’
Additionally, the goal for the producers was to grow the events stature, exposé, attendance and educational impact.
Achieving the narrative
To achieve this narrative we applied several design strategies in the main room, firstly we manipulated the shape to break the standard rectangular box. Creating a triangular shape with video screens and impactful draping. The shape served two purposes, firstly to focus attention on the main stage, and secondly, to envelope the audience as if the screens and drape were arms embracing them.
To reinvent the stage experience and to compliment the shape of the room, FMAV designed a diamond shaped stage allowing audience members closer access to the presenters while keeping the stage height above 36” in order to give the presenters an air of rock stardom.
Utilizing FMAV’s GeoMod Stage Set solution, we designed a maple leaf referencing our proud Canadian heritage. OneWest Event Design came to the party with mixed seating arrangements. Strategically placed to encourage attendees to interact with each other and connect with content and conversation outside of the onstage presentations.
To add to the sense of audience intimacy, FMAV designed a rigging plot that had truss lines raking down towards the back of the room creating lower ceiling, bringing an intimate mood to the audience area while keeping the main stage theatrical.
To accentuate the rake of the truss, tiered seating was installed at the back of the room, allowing attendees to get a higher vantage point, creating a unique experience.
Some small subtle technology choices were made to enable and enhance the attendee’s connection to the presenters. For example a robotic camera was positioned at the back corner of the stage near the presenter’s entry point, it allowed for a reverse angle shot capturing the presenters entering and exit from the stage. The shot choice in essence ‘broke the 4th wall’ showing the audience a part of the backstage experience of which most attendees are very familiar. It both humanized and energized the arrival and departure of each presenter.
The IMAG screens were portrait orientated to allow for a full body shot making the presenter 16’ high, enhancing the gravitas and feeding that ‘rock star’ esthetic.
All of this came together to achieve the event narrative with great effect. Allowing Timewise, FMAV, and OneWest Event Design to contribute in our own ways to create community, foster innovation and show our pride of Western Canada.
If you would like to replicate this success at your event and design amazing experiences for your audience, connect with us now!