AIA Thailand Gala
Christmas arrived early at our venue this year. In mid-October we had the pleasure to host the Gala dinner of the annual convention of AIA Thailand.
Photo: Ismo Henttonen
A One-of-a-Kind Christmas Gala in Messukeskus Helsinki
Christmas arrived early at our venue this year. In mid-October we had the pleasure to host the Gala dinner of the annual convention of AIA Thailand. In that joyful dinner party, every single detail, designed by the professionals of Messukeskus Helsinki, highlighted the most wonderful time of the year and circularity.
The event was something of a surprise; this group of 1,100 talented employees of AIA Thailand had planned to meet in South Africa in 2020 but was derailed by COVID restrictions. At some point, the incentive trip was changed from south to north, more precisely to Helsinki. Perhaps because Finland was one of the countries that suffered least from Covid-19, we could be part of the party of the decade!
What happened next? Let our Congress Manager, Paula Blomster tell us in her own words:
”I got involved in this project only at the beginning of February 2022. I was contacted by the Studiosus, a German Destination Management Company, which represents a Thai Agency in Europe. Site inspection was organised in April 2022. Three months later, after various tender rounds, the DMC, the venue and the event agency for the gala dinner were selected.”
Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale
Video: Ismo Henttonen
From Finnish Archipelago to Northern Lights – a Memorable Gala Concept
Planitswiss won the tender for the organization of the gala dinner. Or we could say that Tomy Quevauvilliers won the bid. He had poured his heart and creative mind to a proposal which dove deep into Finnish Christmas traditions. Amazingly, he even correctly spelled all the Finnish words in his presentation. Respect for local cultures and knowing his client well were Tomy’s ticket to win.
His plan included a Finnish Christmas market upon arrival at our entrance hall. The Northern Lights, Santa Claus’s living room and the Finnish archipelago were the main design elements in the dining hall. Three stages were built around these themes to ease the event production stress, giving more eye candy and backdrops for numerous selfies.
Our in-house team turned Tomy’s ideas into reality. After a meeting in person, in the beginning of August, our designers Natalia Baczynska Kimberley and Marita Korhonen, light designer Juan P. Gimenez and Niko Kurola, an AV production expert, made their interpretation of Tomy’s ideas. Sustainability was the focus of our skilled designers. A glittering, magical Christmas spirit was created with existing materials of our venue. Wooden house constructions, light installations of Northern lights, tile carpets… – besides the normal equipment you find in any venue of our size – were used to send a clear message against the single-use culture of events, without compromising the festivity.
Our in-house carpenters even had in stock a lighthouse, which Tomy had dreamed of. Built by their hands at their studio at the venue, only a new painting was needed to match Tomy’s vision. No transportation emissions were involved in this process, even the painting was as environmentally friendly as possible.
Photos: Kerttu Penttilä
Seamless Tamwork Made the Perfect Implementation Possible
Natalia and Marita, our designers, went the extra mile. They found and convinced a local theater to lend their Christmas-green, old glamorous car, which was used for the entry of the President of the Convention. Snowfall was made with light projection. Real Christmas trees were from a regenerative forest. To keep a forest healthy, one needs to thin some trees time to time. The thinned spruces, before they were turned into chips for industrial use, decorated our hall and entrances bringing along the scent of Christmas.
All participants in this project enjoyed working together. At our venue, the project team, project manager Riikka Heiskala, and catering manager Henrik Eriksson met regularly with Natalia, Marita, Juan and Niko. Communication, planning and solving issues back and forth within the venue and with Planitswiss, were continuous, engaging, and respectful. Discussions with Tomy were coordinated by one person, Natalia, to avoid hassle and possible miscommunication. Everybody involved says that they were learning from each other.
A large project run in a matter of 10 weeks, along with many other projects, would not have been possible without this committed and talented team. We have many assets at our venue, but the best of all is our people.