You’ve heard the question – what gift do you get for the person who has everything? When designing events, we occasionally encounter another version of that – what do you plan for the client who has seen everything?

This is the question that drove us when we designed, planned and executed the 20th Anniversary & Disruptivator Summit for Usher’s New Look. Held during three days at Emory University Student Life Center in Atlanta, this fun event with a serious purpose included a homecoming celebration, a VIP event, the two-day Camp New Look Summit, and the Disruptivators’ Ball: Sneaker Edition. Throughout the varied offerings, we maintained a level of consistency in the look, even when transitioning from an outdoor carnival to an indoor reception. We developed signage for the full schedule of events, which also helped maintain the overall aesthetic.


Homecoming Celebration
The Disruptivator Summit kicked off with a daytime outdoor, festival-style celebration. We marked the entrance with a suspended banner and colorful balloon clusters. Inside a 30-by-30-ft. VIP tent, seating included rounds with black linens, highboys with spandex linens, and a combination of chairs and benches. We added large fans to beat the summer Atlanta heat.

Six carnival games, cornhole, giant Jenga, and an inflatable obstacle course kept young guests active and engaged. Throughout the day, live entertainment included performers, hosts, and DJs, who took to the stage, which we decorated with teepee facades and a branded DJ booth. The festivities culminated in a giant water balloon fight – a perfect finish on a hot day. 


VIP Event
That evening, it was time for the VIP event, which was held at The Gathering Spot. We took things up a notch for this adult celebration and added ambiance to the restaurant reception with colorful linens for the venue’s highboys and fresh yellow and white centerpieces surrounded by votives. We created a photo gallery wall that served as the ideal setting to snap a selfie – or a photo op with Usher himself. In the main room, 200 blue chairs were set up theatre style and 10 metal tables with rope & stanchion indicated the VIP nature of the event. Nearby, a bright blue carpet runner and perimeter décor of 6-ft. 3D “UNL” letters led to the stage. In keeping with the clean but luxe aesthetic, the stage set featured a simple side table and two chairs – all with gold metal legs.


Camp New Look Summit
After the various opening festivities, it was time for the two-day summit. Outside the ballroom, we created a registration area with styled shelves of Usher’s New Look photos. The entrance included an overhanging “memory lane” featuring pennant flags and photos. Inside the large ballroom, we decorated the stage and perimeter to welcome the teens to “Camp New Look.”

The stage repeated the teepee façade from the day before and featured a pallet wood backdrop draped with lights and greenery. On stage, a chocolate sofa and highback chairs provided seating for speakers and panelists. Branded accent pillow were added, and two side tables flanked the sofa. Along the perimeter, a 10-by-8-ft. cardboard box wall asked, “What’s Your Story?” Composed of printed and stacked cardboard boxes, the wall included sticky notes and Sharpies so that the participants could add their personal stories to the wall. An on-theme market cart held waters. Before going into a day of speakers and panels, students started one morning learning about health and mindfulness with meditation and a sound bath! We also provided linens and signage for the onsite Career Fair.


Disruptivators’ Ball: Sneaker Edition
Considering the teenage audience, when it was time for the Disruptivators’ Ball, there was one clear possibility – sneakers. We set up a combination of communal highboy farm tables and large round tables with industrial Tolix stools. Then we turned sneakers into tablescapes and centerpieces and added a couple of styled lounge groupings with sofas, chairs, and a coffee table. Sneakers were also the focus of a massive chandelier we constructed, so that they hung from the ceiling and offered a great social media background. On the stage, we kept the same “Camp New Look” design from earlier events. Then, we brought in lots of fun activities and interactive features like an oversized Connect Four game, a limbo set, and a “Most UNL Memory” video booth. Entertainment included a surprise DJ set from Jermaine Dupri and performance from Domani Harris. Everyone enjoyed getting creative on the large-scale coloring canvas – a keepsake that will let Usher’s New Look remember the fab 20th anniversary for years to come.


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