Where Creativity Trumps Cash

When I attended the C2MTL (Creativity + Commerce) business conference in Montreal last May, as a guest of Tourisme Montreal, I kept thinking back to my interview with  New York City-based designer David Stark.

Stark designs parties and corporate events that, like C2MTL, are not inexpensive undertakings.  But budgets are not, and should not be, the defining factor in determining what kind of an experience attendees have,  Stark said. Making the effort to think deepening about the meaning of an event to attendees, and the willingness to delight and surprise them are even more important. “Money can’t buy love,” Stark said, “and it can’t buy fun.”

And all of those elements were present at C2MTL, Imagination, a wealth of color and texture, and humor, not traditional luxury, created a lusciously electric environment. Some highlights:

Glamour on the Cheap Event designers created a defined space by filling in some of the area over participants’ heads with strips of white paper of varying lengths. The result was an intimate, arty feel.

All That Glitters is ... Tape In a similar vein, designers created sculptural shapes by wrapping metallic tape around poles. Stark also is a proponent of using everyday materials like paper, string, and tape  in unexpected ways.

DIY Chairs C2MTL designers created fun, lightweight and flexible seating by stacking colorful fabric cushions and securing them with webbed belts.

Photo by Sebastien Roy

Photo by Sebastien Roy

The Garage, an auxiliary space that really once was a garage,  was furnished with mismatched kitchen tables and chairs and murals painted on its cement block walls.

Don't Be Afraid to Be Dramatic   The lighting was fabulous at C2MTL. No surprise there — Cirque du Soleil is among its producer partners. But creating emotional impact by daring to be dramatic is something that everyone could emulate.

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