Category Archives: Event Producer

Design Director Bonnie Park talks working with the world’s biggest brands

When Bonnie Park was a child in Seoul, South Korea, she was always interested in making things. She would catch herself looking at an object, or a space, visualizing in her head how she might have created it differently. When she was a teen, Park moved to Switzerland and found her love for creation intensified as she immersed herself into such new and enticing architecture. Even the smallest of details became eye-catching works of art, and her simple sketches molded into intricate drawings. This was where Park’s journey in design began.

Now, she is internationally celebrated for her work as a Design Director, collaborating with some of the world’s largest brands. Working with CS Global, a worldwide agency delivering strategic brand consulting and integrated production, design, film and lighting services for live event, print, digital, television and travel retail, Park is well-known for bringing the visions of her clients to life, be that through fashion shows, product launch events, gala dinners, private dinners, social activations, press previews, photo shoots, and more.

Park’s process begins when her clients share the experience that they hope to generate for their guests. From there, she brainstorms with her design team, producers, and lighting designers to exceed her client’s expectations. This requires Park to coordinate many different aspects of design. For instance, she has to communicate her design with the scenic vendors who are responsible for building her drawings and renderings. She also searches for new technologies and materials to use that fit within the client’s budget, as well as keeping on top of trends that will satisfy both her clients and her guests. It is an overwhelmingly challenging role, but Park does it with ease.

“As stressful as my job can be, it is extremely satisfying when you see your work come to life. Looking at your finished product makes all of the troubles and obstacles along the way disappear. In my opinion, an effective leader knows not only how to bring people together, but how to help them work together harmoniously. In my line of work, I’m exposed to so many different professionals and as a result of that, I get to learn about areas within the industry that I’m not always as familiar with. I think that is the best part of my job – despite all of my experience, I am continuously learning and there are always new challenges for me to solve,” said Park.

The truly remarkable part about Park’s career, however, is the rate at which it has grown. When CS Global was exposed to her talents, they offered her a position in the company as a design intern immediately. From there, in just five short years, she has become their Design Director. In this position, she is responsible for managing teams and is given full creative freedom to execute her ideas.

During her time working with CS Global, Park has been involved in several major projects with world renowned brands. In fact, a highlight of her career was working on an event for Tiffany & Co., when they celebrated the 175th anniversary of their Blue Book Collection. Working with her team, they built their iconic Tiffany jewelry box on top of the New York’s Rockefeller ice rink. The surrounding building was lit in Tiffany blue, and the result was extremely impressive. Inside, all of the furniture was custom made, as the evening was inspired by 1920s architecture and style. There were cigarette girls, and the band The Rockettes performed with an aerialist in the air. Park had to largely consider the technical side for the project, and learn how to have an event in a public space, something that attendees don’t typically have to consider at such an event.

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Daniel Gabriel and Bonnie Park at the La Perla event, photo by Dimitrios Kambouris

Such consideration was also required when Park designed an entire life-size, two-story doll house with six different rooms for a La Perla event. She had weeks of limited sleep in her determination to execute the perfect design. Each room had its own theme, such as the study and the foyer with the grand faux marble staircase, the bedroom that was covered in moss and baby’s breath, the dining room with custom flower chandelier and swings, the living room with oversized paper flower art work, and the terrace wrapped in ivy and bougainvillea. Despite the fact that her team encountered several obstacles, Park managed to pull the project together with a high degree of efficiency and professionalism.

“Initially, this event was more daunting than doing your taxes alone. Bonnie’s intellectual focus, educated background on interior design, professional background of event design, leadership skills and general modest, human and strong disposition turned a nightmare event into a project to be proud of,” said Kevin Bova, Production Director at SBI. “My main objective in this industry is to only work with people that I respect on both a professional and emotional level. Work is work, but if I have the opportunity to make work a little more enjoyable, I will take it. Bonnie seems to structure her professional persona with a foundation of strength and respect. She treats those who work with/under her as her equals, while controlling each situation with incredible ease. Her disposition creates an environment where people are eager to collaborate, which in turn yields the best possible result without the ‘blood, sweat and tears’ that others in her position use to create what she does effortlessly.”

Bova and Park have worked together on many projects during her time at CS Global, and Bova knows that no matter what the Design Director works on, it is formidable. When Park worked on the 10th Year Anniversary of the Black Orchid Event with Tom Ford Beauty, she transformed the gallery space at the Christie’s. It was a regular gallery space, with white walls and a wooden floor which she turned into an elevated, high end pop up for guests to immerse into Tom Ford’s vision of Black Orchid. Park and her team created three different rooms. In the first room, the walls were covered by screens projecting videos and created an infinity box, whereby guests had an immersive experience learning about the birth of the Black Orchid. Park’s aim was to transport the guests to the world of Black Orchid. The second room introduced the campaign model for the first time, for which Park created a peekaboo wall which invited the guests to peak through a gap and watch the campaign video. In addition, it prohibited the editors from sharing the content on social media, as it was yet to be revealed to the public. In the last room, a touch screen table revealed the Black Orchid’s ten-year evolution, creating an interactive experience. It was an instant success.

Internationally, Park has had the same effect. She travelled to Shanghai for a private internal event for Estée Lauder. As the Design Lead, she created the overall layout and the flow of the evening, the printed graphic collateral, as well as custom designed furniture.

“It was exhilarating studying the existing architectural details that I applied to designing the custom furniture. It was my first time designing furniture and the experience was unlike anything I had ever done in the past,” said Park.

Park also has skills in merchandising, showcasing the jewelry line for Jennifer Meyer, the first time this happened at New York’s Fashion Week. Park explored different and unique ways to showcase the jewelry, and the feedback from both the press and the client were overwhelmingly positive.

Her skills are becoming legendary in New York City and the rest of the world, and Park has no plans on slowing down. Her designs carry her character, and she constantly exposes herself to different art forms in order to keep growing, and to keep bringing her clients something different every time. She encourages others to follow in her footsteps, and knows the power that creation can have.

“Travel and expose yourself as much as possible to any form of art, whether you choose to cook, to dance, to perform, to write, or whatever else you enjoy. Always allow yourself to be curious and inspired. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail or change. Search for your strengths and weaknesses because once you know what they are, you’ll know exactly what you need to work on. You cannot be good at everything, but you can absolutely be good at something,” advised Park.

“Also, confidence is key. Don’t doubt your abilities. If things don’t work out, find a work-around and run with it. Don’t dwell on things that don’t go as you planned. You may think you have failed, but you haven’t. It simply wasn’t meant to be, and that is all part of the learning process,” she concluded.

Featured Image by Rosanna Bach

BRAZIL’S RODRIGO BRANCO BECOMES A STAR BY SUPPORTING THE FAME OF OTHERS

For all of those who proclaim television to be a detriment to one’s life, please kindly consider Rodrigo Branco. This Executive Producer/Communications Director/Social Media expert has built a life out of his work in TV. His roots in TV can be traced back to his youth, a situation that his own children are experiencing. Branco has become one of the most successful executives in his field in all of Brazil. His status is earned with years of working his way up the ladder in TV production. Having become internationally recognized for his work on multiple domestic and international productions, he most recently has turned his attention to the TV community in the US and the opportunities it affords. It’s quite a story, a young boy in Brazil who follows his dream and effects millions around the world. It proves that hard work is rewarded and there is a chance for everyone to pursue their goals no matter how unbelievable they might seem.

As a young boy in Sao Paulo, Rodrigo used to live with his grandmother while his mother (a ballet dancer) was often out on tour, working to pursue her own artistic endeavors. This situation created two prominent factors in Rodrigo’s future. First, the understanding that following a creative dream is valid and secondly, TV was a fixture of life. Branco’s grandmother was a TV fanatic to say the least. When his mother took Rodrigo with her to a TV station for a taping, the two worlds collided. As a 10-year-old, he was amazed by the environment as well as the fact that they would tape three episodes in one day. The sudden realization that every production was not live, yet seemed to be so when viewed on TV, was like discovering the secret to a magic trick. Years later, Branco would begin his own TV career on the Marcia show. This show is one of the most popular talk shows ever on Brazilian TV. Rodrigo was with the show for more than a decade and explains, “The Márcia show was my high school, college and university! I started as a trainee and eventually became the executive producer. It was the hardest, and at the same time, the most positive show I have done in my career. According to VOGUE BRASIL, Márcia is the Brazilian Oprah. I’m proud that our ratings proved that we were number 1 every day. There is no secret to achieving this; I used to work 16 hours a day from my start as a trainee and all the way up to being EP.”

Many people sacrifice their personal life to be a part of TV production, especially those who are highly successful. Branco did the opposite and made his life and career intertwined. He met his wife when he was a trainee on Marcia and has become a father while working on the show. As the EP of the show, he worked most closely with the show’s star and namesake. He notes, “Working 16 hours a day, 6 days a week; Marcia became my second mother. We spent Christmas, New Year’s Eve…all the good times and bad times together. She has the most brilliant career in Brazil and she decided to share it with me. I think this interaction is what made our work so successful!” Rodrigo’s work in particular was recognized early in his career. In 2002, he was awarded the Premio Jovem Brasileiro [Young Brazilian Award] for his work with the Marcia show (he received this award again in 2011 for his work on the Miss Universe Pageant) …at the early age of twenty years old. Branco also received the Communication Merit Award, granted by Academia Brasileira de Ciencias, Artes, Historia e Literatura (Science, Art, History and Literature Brazilian Academy) which he refers to as the greatest honor of his professional career. Marcia is known for her show being about people, their families, and struggle. She wanted an individual steering that show who was doing it for more than the money; a person who was truly passionate about the work. Marcia recognized these traits in her early interactions with Branco. She declares, ““I met Rodrigo in his first day as a trainee in TV Bandeirantes. I immediately knew he was special. A few months later, I told him he would be the executive producer of my show and in only 3 years it became true. We had a great and fruitful partnership. He is incredibly talented!”

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Besides giving Branco a literal family as well as a professional family, TV has also given him the ability to travel the world. Experiencing locations such as; Israel, Paris, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, and all the states of Brazil, have helped Rodrigo to understand how different and yet how incredibly similar the people of the world can be. In particular, his US visits have motivated him. Branco communicates, “The TV Industry in the United States is the most professional and competitive in the entire world. There is no space for amateurs there. I have hopes of working there because it would challenge me to be the best in the US. The resources and the technology in the US are the example to the world. If a professional wants to learn how to do their job better, they need to stay close to the best! Marcia was discovered by an American Director who taught her how to do TV. Nobody does TV and Entertainment better than Americans. I could see this with my own eyes at the Latin Grammys, Miss Universe, and from studying American Shows and formats. I’ve had an extraordinary career but I am only 33 years old and I want to be better and bigger.  The only way to do that is to learn from the best. My passion is t work with talent and communication not only in TV, but with social media and other formats as well.” When contemplating Rodrigo Branco’s life, it is impossible to septate his story from the inclusion of television. When discussing it, Rodrigo himself comments, “My life was built inside a TV. My childhood was spending time with my grandmother, bonding over shows and their topics. I saw my mother performing on TV and she took me ‘inside’ television for a perspective that not many people witness. I have made many of my closest friends through my work in TV, as well as meeting the woman who became my wife. Now my children understand TV because they see their father using it to provide for them as well as understanding, as my mother showed me, that you can be creative, challenged, and rewarded with that pursuit. They realize, as I do, that I am able to make the magic that we see on the screen.”

Brazilian Event Producer Makes a Name for Himself in the U.S.

Today producer Sylvio Fagundes is known as the mastermind behind a long list of events. He’s not shy about his ambitions, admitting, “You have to take chances and risks in life if you want to make it to a place where you really want to be.”

A motto to live by that has clearly served him well, the Brazilian native has strategically used each and every one of the various roles that he’s taken on over the years in the event and media industries to build a dynamic foundation for his career as an event producer.

Fagundes began his journey as a journalist and photographer, covering events for the popular radio station Jovem Pan FM. Jovem Pan was something of a launch pad for him as it was there that he discovered his passion for music, but the call of event life was too great to ignore so when he was asked to go on tour with singer-songwriter Alex Band, best known for his work as lead singer of The Calling, Fagundes jumped on board.

The nine-city tour across Brazil was an unforgettable experience, and only further solidified Fagundes’s fascination with producing large-scale musical events.

“It motivated me to pursue a career as an event producer in the music industry”, he recalls.

After the tour, Fagundes was hired by Yahoo! as a staff photographer where he had the opportunity to photograph an extensive list of high profile concerts including Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Gloria Gaynor, Diana Krall, Chris Brown, The Prodigy and Moby.

As his reputation as a sought after photographer in the industry grew, Fagundes continually found himself in the right place at the right time, allowing him to develop connections with prominent figures in the live event and public relations industries. Thanks to these connections, as well as his background in communications, media and journalism helped him build a strong foundation as an event producer, and in relatively no time at all Fagundes was working on monumental events like the 2011 Miss Universe beauty pageant, which was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and commemorated the event’s 60th anniversary.

Since then Sylvio Fagundes has also amassed an astonishing collection of producing credits for music festivals including Brazil’s first Lollapalooza edition, the 2012 Sao Paulo Live Music Rocks Festival featuring Maroon 5 and Keane, and the 2012 Pop Music Festival featuring Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Lopez. He even had the opportunity to work on the production of rock and roll legend Sir Paul McCartney’s 2010 Up and Coming World tour.

After producing some of the largest and most notable events in Brazil, Fagundes moved to the U.S. to further his education in the music business at UCLA; but naturally, his proven track record of success caught the attention of those in the event industry in LA, which led him to assist in securing the talent the 2013 Los Angeles American Trend Vision Awards on behalf of leading cosmetics company Wella. The event, which featured music icon Blondie, was a rather synchronic development for the young event producer who by that time had barely been in the U.S. for a year.

A diehard concert lover even when he’s not at work, the first show he attended stateside as an audience member was Blondie.

“It felt like a full circle. I would have never imagined that the first concert I would help assist in the USA would also feature this artist,” admitted Fagundes.

In addition to music-based events, Fagundes’s skillset as an event producer has come to include producing film festivals and award shows like the 2013 Hollywood Brazilian Film Fest in Los Angeles and the Sao Paulo International Film Festival. But his list of production credits does not end there; in fact, it doesn’t seem like they end at all.

In addition to concerts, massive music festivals, film festivals and award shows Sylvio Fagundes has also produced street fairs, motorcycle rides and parades.

Fagundes currently works for Nuell Entertainment, where some of his recent production accomplishments include securing music from The Allman Brothers, ZZ Top, and The Wallflowers for GEICO national television campaigns as well as a nationwide celebrity image licensing campaign with Sebastian Professional and pop superstar Kesha to serve as the face of the “Rock Your Shaper” advertising campaign.

With his expertise in photography, journalism and public relations all blending together to give him an edge that sets him apart from other event producers, Fagundes’s diverse resume demonstrates that when a person is passionate about their work there is literally nothing they can’t accomplish.

(Pictured from left to right at MILK Studios : Sebastien Professional Prestige Brand Manager Becky Godlove (Sebastian/Wella/Nioxin Brands), Sebastian Professional Brand Manager Bailey Dyer, Education Director for Sebastian Professional Christina McCarver, singer-songwriter Kesha, P&G Salon Professional Education Director Carole Protat, Nuell Entertainment VP Global Partnerships Fred Sherman, Nuell Entertainment President Gary Nuell, Sylvio Fagundes.
(Pictured from left to right at MILK Studios : Sebastien Professional Prestige Brand Manager Becky Godlove (Sebastian/Wella/Nioxin Brands), Sebastian Professional Brand Manager Bailey Dyer, Education Director for Sebastian Professional Christina McCarver, singer-songwriter Kesha, P&G Salon Professional Education Director Carole Protat, Nuell Entertainment VP Global Partnerships Fred Sherman, Nuell Entertainment President Gary Nuell, Sylvio Fagundes.