How a chance encounter sent our minds spinning with inspiration.  

There is something timelessly whimsical about a Ferris wheel. Walking down to the Long Beach Pier while in California recently, we came upon the beautiful Pike Ferris Wheel. Smiles immediately lit-up the faces of our group as we spotted the wheel turning against the blue sky. Unexpected moments like these are such great sources of inspiration, and by the time the ride had made a full rotation, we had pulled three design lessons out of our chance encounter with this childhood favourite.

  1. Nostalgia, Emotional Connections, and Symbolism

Nearly every passerby had a visceral reaction to seeing the Ferris wheel, reminding us of the power of nostalgia, and the huge role it can play in our event design. If you are trying to communicate a key message or incite a specific emotion in your guests, think about objects and experiences that may naturally draw these feelings to the surface. Whether your budget allows for a fully functional Ferris wheel, or you incorporate one on a printed backdrop, your strategic use of that image may very likely draw a subconscious, child-like smile out of your guests.

  1. Shadowplay

When the bright SoCal sun hit the spinning attraction, stunning shadows were sent dancing across the large wall behind the wheel. Suddenly, we were seeing not just the gently turning wheel, but the many angles and triangles brought to life behind it, and changing as the wheel moved. Shadowplay turned a completely bland wall into something visually arresting, creating another layer of interest, and adding to the mood of the moment. The effect reminded us to consider how décor and lighting can collaborate at events.

  1. Textures

The rigid metal of the Ferris wheel juxtaposed beautifully with the soft tufts of palm trees and a sponge-painted sky. Mother Nature nailed this one, but we know that finding that perfect contrast of patterns, textures, and colours in event design takes a clever eye to make the final effect feel as effortless as this one.

Sometimes we search so hard for inspiration, when all we need to do is open our eyes to what’s right in front of us! Next time you walk past something that makes you smile, take a moment to soak it in – you might be surprised what it ends up inspiring.