Energy plays such a significant role in a happening. Feng Shui is a Chinese belief that aligns material elements with natural elements in order to create balance and harmony. I have a process that was inspired through Feng Shui that I apply to all of my happening Designs. Below are the three key elements:
Happenings are a story that unfolds in real time it must have a beginning a middle and an end. Evolution plays a huge role in building intrigue. The flow of your happening plays a significant role in successful story telling. I like to think of it like a river that has wide-open calm spaces and narrower rushing and sometimes rapid waters. For example your entryway, you want this to be something that is rather tight and constricting, there will be a bottleneck but this creates a level of anticipation and when the guests arrive into the next phase they are instantly energized as they made it through the narrow passage and successfully navigated the rapids. It is this ebb and flow concept that I like to carry throughout the happening. Every time we transition, pulling the group together through a narrow passage and then offering a more calm and spacious environment to follow. Often this consists of a pre-function area like a cocktail space in the main function area. I also recommend that is it OK to add some transition time or distance between the spaces as this allows for the experience to truly be a journey and heightens the element of surprise. Good flow leads to a pleasurable experience.
Start to create a space working from the center out as the center of the room garners the most energy. Place one of the most important elements of that particular happening space in the center and work your way out. For example, if it were a cocktail space you might consider putting a large element of decor surrounded by either food or beverage and build the room out from there allowing space for people to gather. socialize and work the seating environments on the outer perimeter. The goal of a cocktail environment is to engage social interaction.That key element often can be utilized as an icebreaker/conversation piece for your guests. Follow the same process in the other spaces, if you have a performance ,putting it in the center of the room can be a great idea but logistically it can be challenging and you can look at the space in a semi circle still having the performance in the center of the semi circle and your audience Fanning 180° around it. Try and make the proximity between the performance and the guests as equal as possible. If the stage is at the far end of the long room you might want to consider building a new stage that is on the long wall, allowing for more even dispersion. Although it is not always possible you want to make every effort to make all guests feel that they had a good position and were not stuck at the back of the room unable to enjoy the experience. Centering the key elements will center the energy.
Building A happening that has the element of progression will continue to heighten the overall energy. I like to start off in spaces that are somewhat comfortable and expected and then transform them into something out of this world. People today are very saturated and exposed to a lot of experiences, therefore I always try to bring in that element of new and unknown. It is important to start slow and build your way up. Introducing the theme begins with the invitation and it should follow through to check in and cocktails and so on. I recommend taking key elements of that theme and multiplying it as the time goes on,for example if you had a particular color, let’s use red as a theme, in your invitation carry that into the linens at check in, the flowers in cocktails and as the happening progresses there will be a time that through lighting,,food ,drink, and entertainment everything becomes red. This total saturation of theme is very powerful! As the energy builds so does the environment.
The thing I love most about working on happenings is the ability to get a group of people present. When present we conjure up an energy that is truly magical and unique to only the people participating and it is an energy that we carry with us from that day forth.
Whether you’re happening is for two or 2000, I find these principles apply to all.
Experience Life Present