Friday, November 19, 2010

Design Lesson:
Make It Like You Mean It

My friend Scott and I were having a conversation yesterday about Darren Aronofsky and how he made Pi. The aesthetic of Pi was a consequence of its low budget, but because the film was so successful1, the style that might never have happened, had Aronofsky had "enough money", has since been recognised as a unique style worthy of merit and attention.

I thought of that conversation when I saw this video on The Year In Pictures blog.

I'm pretty sure that pyramid of white buckets is in fact a pyramid of Fniss waste baskets...followed by Lack coffee tables, Lack bookshelves on casters, Skruvsta swivel chairs in Idhult white, Henriksdal chairs, another Lack coffee table, a Lack side table, and more swivel chairs.

Remember this video?

A little ingenuity goes a long way. A lot of ingenuity, even more so.

So why am I bringing all this up? In anything—be it your life, work, a party, a house, whatever—where to focus your limited resources (and by limited, I mean not-infinite) is always a consideration. Our lives are bound by limitations of time, money, food, and a myriad other justifications. Preston Bailey, an internationally recognized event designer who has produced events for the Royal Family of Qatar, even says he has yet to have a client who lets him do whatever he wants and spend whatever he wants.

Last Friday, I met with a lovely lady named Tracy, who won the draw at Bridal Expo for a 2-hour consulation and two customised Moroccan lanterns from yours truly. Together, we looked through her ideas and I offered my suggestions, encouragement and answers to her questions. The last questions she asked were if I had any suggestions for hard-and-fast rules, how to make a wedding more fun and successful, and common mistakes to try and avoid, and this is what I said (more-or-less) to her:
The first thing to remember is that this event, your wedding, is for you and your fiancé (Hi Jerry!). More than anything, you want your event to be an expression of you, your future husband, your life together, and the love you have for each other. Your guests are coming to celebrate with you, and when they walk into your wedding, it should feel like they are walking around inside your life (rather than simply an impressively decorated room). It should feel like somehow they know you better for having come to be with you.

Beautifully coordinated colours are important, yes, but your wedding will ultimately be most successful and fun if you are having fun and enjoying yourself, which in turn, comes from being honest about yourself and sharing your life with your friends, family and colleagues. Feel free to pull ideas and details from your life, your fiancé's life, and your life together. If you like watching movies, maybe pull quotes from your favourite films and use them around the room. If you like to travel, maybe you can use your favourite travel destinations as table numbers. Do you like going out on a Saturday night or staying in? What do you do for fun? How can you incorporate that into your wedding?

Probably the most common mistake I've seen, and that I've made myself, is to try to do too much. It's better to have one spectacular display (think "room centerpiece") and simple, yet elegant, tables than to have all your tables look like you didn't have enough money to finish them the way you really wanted. If you have a really inventive and artistic escort card display at the entrance to your reception, people will remember it, talk about it, and admire it. If all your tables and decor are so-so, then few people will notice anything, if at all. In other words, however you decorate, simply or lavishly, make it look intentional.
Make it like you mean it.

1 Made with $60,000, it grossed $3,221,152 in the U.S. alone, and continues to sell well on DVD.

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