We have a long-term relationship with LUSH and were absolutely thrilled when they came to us to design and build their Creative Showcase. As usual, their ideas were off the scale, but we could not wait to get working on such an iconic event.
The Lush Creative Showcase took place within the iconic Manchester Central building. Covering a footprint of 17,317m2 it attracted more than 3,000 visitors each day. Not only was the event the biggest in Lush’s history, it was by far the biggest single event that we had ever produced. It took a combined effort of 177 crew, 34 trucks and weeks of design and pre-production to pull off the extravaganza that was the Creative Showcase.
From a technical point of view, we assigned department heads and designers across all disciplines; lighting, audio, video and rigging. Designers worked closely with both the Lush team and our in-house event designers, to make sure all disciplines worked together seamlessly throughout the whole process. Due to the scale of the event, we pulled in the expertise of a few close friends. These included Knight Rigging Services to provide all overhead rigging, Anna Valley to provide LED video walls and control systems, Isophase Audio to provide additional audio requirements, DLM Event Services to provide the rigging automation and IPS to provide the Layher structures.
Slides with beanbag landing pit
Guest at the bubble brush station
Birdseye view of the Haircare & Skincare area
A double storey Fun House was the immediate focal point when entering the space; a playground for adults and children alike. We created an interactive journey for guests to experience. Entering through a long oobleck trough where visitors were invited to walk barefoot and experience the strange sensation of a seemingly liquid product that turns solid underfoot.
The journey then took you to our custom wobble floor which was constructed to showcase just how wobbly the Lush jelly products really are. Next, up the soft play cushion stairwell to the top floor where we had created a mirrored walk through to a bubble brush station. Here you could use a special brush which would shoot bubbles out the end allowing you to create ‘bubble art’. The experience ended by visitors whizzing down one of our slides with an automated light show and landing into a pile of bean bags. Sounds pretty fun huh!?
UP UP AND AWAY
When Lush came to us with the concept of bath bomb hot air balloons, we in true PDS style embraced the idea and thought yes of course we can achieve this. If you can dream it, we can make it happen. Our first port of call was to talk to our friends at DLM Event Services, who specialise in automated rigging solutions. With their help we came up with the design for three 6m hot air balloons that would fly out to a height of 15m inside the venue. Each basket was custom designed and built and underwent strict load testing to ensure they could carry members of the public safely.
To achieve the giant inflatable balloons, we employed some help from an inflatable specialist, Imagine Inflatables. Each balloon landed on a custom raised platform, with one being fully DDA compliant for wheelchair users. The balloons were a huge hit over the two-day event, causing a constant queue of customers excited to go up and take in the view.
MULTI -SENSORY DREAMSCAPES
Guests were welcomed into a multi-sensory dreamscape to launch Lush’s newest products #Lushmood. The mood products are designed to evoke a sense of transformation within the customer’s state of mind. The concept for this space was for customers to take some time out and become fully immersed within the environment. Guests could get a first look at innovative and new products from a series of demo stations that were positioned around a raised platform featuring falling rain within the centre. We designed a bespoke sound and lighting scape where the colour and mood of the space changed dramatically every 30 mins. Blended projection also played a key part in the audio-visual concept with the use of 10 x Panasonic RZ21K projectors, projecting onto elegant white lycra sails.
DANCING IN THE RAIN
Lush’s ‘Under the umbrella tree’ bath bomb was the inspiration behind our ingeniously inventive rain frame. The brief required rain to be falling in the middle of the space and for guests to be able to walk under it with an umbrella. The first significant issue for us was that rain, in its natural form, falls at a very random rate and in order to mimic rainfall we needed to make something that would randomly disperse the water.
We designed a solution using a grid of perforated pipes with the jets pointing upwards. Water then hit aluminium deflectors that produced droplets that fell in a more random manner than if the jets had just been pointing down. Each valve was individually controlled to ensure an even spread of rain across the area. We installed a 10m diameter. circular stage in the centre of the room with a 6m x 6m x 0.5m water tank which recycled its own water rather than making a pond. To allow guests to walk across the space, we built a galvanised steel grid structure over the top of the tank letting people to dance in the rain!
THE MAIN STAGE
A platform for talks from a whole array of inspirational guest speakers to discuss topics spanning human rights, animal rights and the environment. The design brief was to create an ‘inside/outside’ structure that people would ‘want to go inside’ and ‘felt inviting’ but also felt like it was outdoors. The wooden structure was built in sustainable softwood and recycled plastic with real grass turf flooring. We complemented the in-house setup with our operators and technical equipment.
WHAT AN ACHIEVEMENT
The Lush showcase was viewed in 32 languages across the globe, it had a full week of mentions via the hashtag and the highlights video produced over 30,474 views. To give you a sense of the scale of event the Hair and Skincare section alone was the width of the Arc de Triomphe! Lots of miles walked by all members of our team that week and unbelievably this event was accomplished from design to install in just four weeks!