This marked the second year Shiraz Events has handled the design of the Hearst Magazines/Infiniti lounge tent at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and the design team took lessons learned in 2011 to create an updated space in which guests could relax and engage with the sponsors.
Concours d’Elegance is one of the world’s most important antique car shows, held on the historic Pebble Beach golf course in Northern California. Yet sponsor experiences and environments were housed in tents, leaving designers with the challenge of creating a temporary hospitality/event space that showcased new Infiniti models, and served as a VIP event space for Hearst clients… in something “un-tenty.”
In years past, the environment was very tech-focused, but it never engaged guests to stay for too long.
“The client wanted to change it this year, and make the environment more about the vehicles and a food and wine experience,” says Shiraz Events president Shai Tertner. Shiraz’s Los Angeles office took the reigns on the project, with vp/director of west coast Jason Harder serving point. Together with Hearst, they created a program with wine and food tastings for VIPs, as well as Infiniti vehicle unveilings.
The outdoor setting and tented venue presented challenges, as did time constraints with getting all the vendors aligned and prepared to install within a tight timeframe.
An outdoor deck that was included in last year’s design proved to be a hit and was tripled in size for 2012, giving guests the option of getting a little fresh air as they enjoyed the hospitality.
“It created a little more space for the food and wine, and people could sit in lounge chairs. Inside, the challenge was to understand how the Infiniti brand would translate into a hospitality suite,” Tertner says. Infiniti wanted an environment that reflected its brand, created a backdrop for its new models and paid tribute its partnership with Red Bull.
The resulting design took cues from a modern gallery space, where the vehicles were presented and the environment was energized. The large number of events scheduled in the in the space required the footprint to be flexible.
“It had to be both a hospitality environment and an event space. Because there are scheduled events, that transformation needs to be really quick. You have maybe an hour to transform that space and install bars, so it has to be versatile and easy to transform,”
With an outdoor location, weather always has to be factored into a design. Taking elements such as humidity into the equation, the Shiraz team focused on surfaces that wouldn’t show stains easily. Humidity can also cause guests to slide on slick surfaces, so flooring materials were chosen carefully to make sure guests were on firm footing.
The main vehicle displays showcased new Infiniti models, as well as the Red Bull-sponsored Formula 1 racecar. The main stage featured an embedded LED screen in the back wall running graphics and images that could be switched for each event. Da Vinci Fusion produced the lighting and stage elements and platforms.
“Last year we had multiple screens and we wanted to kick it a notch up. Infiniti wanted one large screen to be a central focal point for the main platform. The other smaller platforms also featured LED display screens,” Tertner says.
As far as décor and furnishing went, the brushed aluminum elements included in the environment took cues from materials Infiniti used in its auto show presentations this year, “We wanted to repeat that detail in the platforms and backdrop walls, and to make sure the furnishings we brought in featured that element or resembled that element,” Tertner says.
A multipurpose shelving unit in the back of the tent was custom-created for the project, and served as a space to store magazines and elements that came out periodically for specific events in the space.
“There was a sense of warmth when you came in and saw it because it also made it a little bit homey. We wanted it to be comfortable and hospitable,” Tertner says.