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Professional event producers use greenery to craft effective visuals that set the right tone.
Consider this palm rental for the 125th Anniversary of Grand Central Station.
(Above: Metro North Celebrates 125 years of Service.)
To remind people of it's legacy at Grand Central Station, Metro North rented the same palm trees that used to call GCS home more than 125 years ago. By celebrating with stately palms, the Metro North is selling positive reinforcement, a mix of tradition and pride.
For this event, the choice was easy. To replicate what they used all those years ago, we rented them the same type of palm.
But it's what's behind the idea that helps with other events. For example, at this event, the message is "we've been here and will continue to be here." The idea is to influence the opinion of the commuters using the service.
But if these palms are what were traditionally used in the past, then we can consider them, from a narrative element standpoint, as a type of "heritage plant". Meaning, they should be considered for any vintage, old school vibe that would incorporate tropical material.
But let's step back, and begin with an increasingly popular natural element: Tree Rentals.
Type of Event: Boardroom Meetings, Investor Conferences, Birthdays, Weddings
Foliage Used: Oak, Maple, Ficus, Dogwood, Cherry;
Vibe Sought: Confidence, Heritage, Strength, Nostalgia
What are the vibes of a tree? I know, it sounds too new-age or hippyish, but think about it: there's definitely a feeling someone gets when they look at a nature. With a tree in a venue, if it's in an area that's well laid out, an easy visual narrative appears.
I'll offer my opinion. When I see a tree, the vibes I get are kind of, but not limited to, the following: "last forever", "strength", "beautiful", "childhood", "health". Perhaps a little clunky, but these impulse thoughts form critical first impressions. It's important to get it right!
Pro Tip: Visuals help induce faith in a brand, company or union.
(Above: Tree decor for a wedding. Internally, the brain might think "structure" ,"roots" and or "tradition". Overall, vibes of strength and beauty.)
Tradition is subscribed faith in an institution. For event planners, "traditional" is a big tent, but the foliage elements are similar, and work for diverse engagements: conferences, weddings, any reason to inspire confidence in an institution. Trees are uniquely suited to fulfill this role.
(Above: 30' Tree for Tented Party.)
Here is a tree that is placed comfortably in the middle of a serving station. The focus of this event was "farewell". Using impressive sized trees fills out an otherwise cavernous space. A sense of "foreverness", "beauty" and "legacy" fills the air.
(Above: 2 -12' Trees for Stage, Financial Conference @ Plaza Hotel)
Here we see two oak trees behind a podium at an investors conference. At first glance, pretty, elegant decor that doesn't attract too much attention. On a deeper level, I argue, it's a little bit more. Again, we see trees, we think health, roots, test of time, perhaps. This is a subtle decor trick that allows the client to emphasize the point of the conference, namely "trust us to handle your money well". The trees are just one piece of that sale.
(Above: Birch Tree Rental at Pier 63)
Here birch trees are used in wine barrel planters for a rustic homage to summer camp.
(Above: Close-up of Birch tree element)
Because trees have this "forever" vibe, they can also inspire nostalgia. It doesn't matter if you've been to summer camp or not. More likely than not, there's a childhood memory of being close to nature somehow. Using trees for an event can rekindle that .
Event: Galas, Pool Parties, Showroom Display, Liquor Launch, VIP Space
Foliage: Areca, Adonidia, Arborea Palm; Flowering Bushes / Trees, Monstera
Vibe Sought: Relaxed, festive, laid-back, elegant
(Above: Areca palm with day bed.)
Areca palms (Pronounced "ah-ree-kah") have lush foliage. Their palm fronds don't look heavy and burdened, right? They have a almost breezy look to them. It's easy to anchor this visual with a relaxed vibe. Because it's so easy to plop one down, and it's able to provide a lot of foliage for the money, event planners use Areca palms year-round.
(Above: Areca palms in stylized space)
Here, the palm isn't the feature of the space; it's sharing the palette with the teal couch, the colorful floor rugs, and the rest of the funky furniture.
When the space is a little more crowded to the eye, the palms can do two things.
1. With all the different pieces, the lush green of the fronds anchor the space.
2. Visually, the palms act as a "grounded fun" element: Breezy, laid back, but elegant.
Bottom line: Palms by themselves can be sexy, light and fun. Palms in a busy environment, like the picture above, can tie the room together with contrasting color and elegance.
(Above: Foxtail palms flank the entrance of a rooftop lounge)
Here's an example of using plants to set the tone. This was a resort collection media event at The Jimmy, a rooftop cocktail lounge. The vibe was Caribbean cool. We used Foxtail palms because they a little different. The difference in the visual leads the guest, ideally, to believe the collection has inherently novel qualities, but still fun and functional. Some people will just look at this and say "oh that's cool, use that". What I'm trying to do is explain why they said that.
Finally, the framing of the palms formalizes the look. Important note for corporate events.
Event: Tech-Focus, Retail, Product Launch, Marketing Conference
Foliage: Echeveria, Sempervivum, Sedum, Crassula, Opuntia
Vibe Sought: "Foward Thinking" "Funky" "Cool" "Future"
(Above: A 6" Opuntia microdasys cactus in an 8" glass dome. Cacti are considered succulents because of their capacity to store moisture.)
Succulents are everywhere, so why would you use them for an event? The answer is, it depends on how you do it, and where it's going. Because if you pull it off right, they can transform a space.
(Above: Succulents used for Internal Meeting. Succulents can stimulate creativity.)
Succulents are often used in in-house meetings because they have a wild look, but it's in the structure of a planter box or vase. The combination works really well with tech, fashion and other forward thinking, creative companies.
(Above: Succulent Concept for Rent the Runway)
(Above: Large Terrarium for Showroom Event)
(Above: Succulent Decor Concept for Highboy Tables)
When you incorporate succulent decor, it's a statement of relevance. Not only are you in the loop, but you appreciate out of the box thinking. Pair them with an appropriate planter. If it's an industrial vibe, iron or stainless steel planters. For tech, white is a safe bet.
You might notice that some of these vibes can blend with one another. You'd be right. The plant design world blends and evolves just like the worlds of music, food and art.
(Above: Contemporary Succulent Element. Haven't used this yet.)
Bottom line: Think about the message, think about the vibe.
If the message is "feel better", the vibe is probably relaxed and care-free. For something like that, a couple of palms scattered throughout the space will be just enough.
If the message is "have faith in our investments", the vibe is "steady hand" and "confidence". In that case, having a couple of large trees would help get the point across.
(Areca Palms: The Original Party Plant.)
These concepts work no matter what the budget is. While we normally operate with higher end budgets, we've helped out kids doing movie shoots and small churches with holiday decor. The important part is knowing what you want, and knowing the feeling you want people to have. The rest is relatively easy. And if it's not for you, we're happy to help.