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hat makes for a truly memorable event? A space that feels personalized, immersive – and anything but run-of-the-mill. Custom-built decor is a big part of that equation, and DCi knows how to dream up thoughtfully designed, wow-worthy installations that help elevate events into unforgettable experiences. Here, we sit down with Erin Lipman, National Sales Director at DCi, for a glimpse into the team’s creative process – and what it takes to create standout, one-of-a-kind installations.

Creativity and Design

Every custom project starts at the same place: an idea and a design that brings the clients’ vision to life. For Visit California, one of DCi’s clients, this meant finding a way to represent 15 different California cities in a single space and design a condensed state-wide road trip that guests could accomplish on foot. Research for this phase involved tapping into each city’s unique personality traits, and figuring out the logistics of recreating miniature versions of iconic landmarks – all in one area, all just a stone’s throw away from each other. “Balancing form and function is crucial – coupled with ensuring your builder can deliver on your vision,” Lipman says.

Delivering the Details

“Installation considerations must be given to load-in and any final tweaks you feel are necessary to deliver on your promise,” Lipman says. As built-to-order elements and personalized touches are transported, installed and prepped for the big day, the end result should feel true to the brand’s aesthetics and vision. To make this happen for another client, the team at DCi pulled together an event chock-full of whimsical details. Think: A canopy of bougainvillea floating like clouds above tablescapes, and custom-built wooden structure that dripped with greenery and an assortment of botanicals. 

The secret to this sort of success has a lot to do with each one of the steps, but there’s also another factor to consider – collaboration. Whether it’s building an art gallery where none exists or a fairytale-esque garden affair, every custom experience is a result of a fruitful collaboration between designers, planners and of course, clients.

Selling the Visuals

Once DCi’s team of planners and designers settle on a vision, next comes a crucial step: getting the client’s seal of approval. Communicating larger-than-life ideas and built-to-order elements that don’t yet exist requires more than just a verbal conversation. Sometimes, clients need a little extra help envisioning the transformation, and this is where visuals come in handy. “A client never wants to buy an idea you can’t illustrate,” Lipman says. Being able to visualize what the end result will look like is essential to establishing a guiding vision for a custom-built project and making sure it ultimately meets the client’s needs.

Facing the Challenges

“Once you get the green light, it’s about staying true to that vision, as challenges will inevitably arise and force you to compromise,” Lipman says. The safety, functionality and size of the piece are all top considerations when working on a custom-built project – and some will prove to be more challenging than others. When planning a technology-based conference, for example, DCi’s Account Director, Jenny Bradshaw, was presented with a tricky assignment: marrying art and cybersecurity. For such an endeavor, it only seemed apropos to transform a hotel space into a tech-themed art gallery. One of the biggest technical challenges the team faced? Building dramatically curved, freestanding walls to display said art.


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