Early in 2017, Genero Productions was approached by Omnicom Media Group and UniCredit to provide event services for a VIP dinner marking the UEFA Champions League Final in Cardiff in June. When we discovered that the event was to be held in a castle, we felt all the more excited to embrace this new challenge.
From the get-go, we knew that guests’ experience was of utmost importance, along with a sleek delivery of brand presence. The stunning Caerphilly Castle is the second-largest castle in the UK and is surrounded by a series of moats and drawbridges, and we were aware that stilettos and wooden-slatted bridges wasn't the most ideal combination for guests. So, upon arrival, guests were greeted by a pedestrian trackway adorned with a VIP red carpet, along with two large custom-made flags displaying the client logo.
On approach to the second drawbridge, guests were greeted by the Champions Walk: a series of custom-made plinths upon which five UEFA trophies were proudly displayed, each individually branded with their respective logos and past winners. These all stood on individual red stages depicting UniCredit branding.
At the end of the Walk was the ‘middle ward’ of the castle, upon which we had erected a 12x12m transparent marquee, along with a 3x3m catering marquee for the preparation of canapes, champagne and other VIP necessities. To disguise this prep marquee, we built a 9m backdrop featuring even more red carpet to provide a real sense of arrival to the reception. From here on out, guests were free to attend castle tours and explore as they wished. Finally, at 7:45pm, guests were taken to dinner in the Great Hall, with red-carpeted bridges and ceremonial flags leading the way.
There’s only one word we can use to describe the Great Hall: stunning. Nine metres up in the air hung 3-metre banners from a series of structural beams. Awash with red lighting, breakup gobos and traditional lute music, it truly was a feast for the senses. A bespoke lighting design for the Great Hall allowed us to create sensational effects without distracting guests from the splendour of this historical environment – something of which we were very conscious throughout the entire design process.
A second set of plinths awaited the arrival of the trophies which were to be brought up from the Champions Walk. Once they were in place, guests realised that one of the plinths was still empty, and a spotlight was focused on this empty space to heighten the sense of anticipation for the arrival of the 2017 trophy.
It wasn’t until 9:45pm that the trophy finally made its grand entrance. Followed by a spotlight, Ambassador Fabrizio Ravanelli paraded the UEFA Champions League Final trophy into the hall accompanied by the Champions League anthem, creating a spinetingling moment for everyone present.
As a depart and delight moment, we shone two custom-made gobos on the castle turrets to enhance the red wash that lit up the castle. Following the guests’ departure, it was a record turnaround for our crew, and everyone was offsite in just over an hour and a half in advance of Caerphilly Castle preparing to welcome a wedding the following day.
For a project of this size and prestige, it was vital that was had the best suppliers involved – and they truly helped us create an unforgettable event.