A couple of Sunday’s ago, the fruits of several months of planning came into fruition: a glamorous evening celebrating the 125th year anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera as well as the veteran tenor Placido Domingo’s 40th year of performing with the company. It was a very chic evening, filled with celebrities, fashion moguls, and style-makers, and the air was buzzing with excitement despite the gloomy cloud of a bad economy that continues to pervade the news and psyche.
This project was an interesting assignment for our times. How does one design an event on this scale, for such a momentous occasion and make it appropriate for today’s realities? Lavish is out, of course, but SPECIAL IS ALWAYS IN! We found our “special” within the MET archives and used a glorious history of 125 years of graphics to create an appropriately celebratory environment within the cavernous tent in Damrosch Park. Instead of over-the-top flowers and dripping crystals, fonts were our muse. Exploded, cropped, varied in type and color, the array of graphics not only provided a wonderful walk through the Opera’s historic identities in print but it transformed the tent into a three dimensional collage. Elegant banners gently fluttered above vases and luminaries wrapped with glowing prints from every time period. It didn’t really matter if you could read all of the text. We often cropped at such extreme angles to simply celebrate the sheer form of the lettering and push it into the realm of pattern.
Guests at a fundraising event should NEVER walk in and question how much was spent on the evening. Rather, the guests should walk in and say, “WOW! That is COOL!” Price should never enter their heads. These are not expensive materials that we used, it was inventive concepts that carried the weight of the evening. And you know what? That’s the way it SHOULD be – regardless of the economy.