Designing moments of extraordinary impact
As momenstcaping artists, it is our mission to design moments of extraordinary impact. We do this to make people feel, share and become obsessed with a brand, space or place.
Aka ‘we make you cool.’
Prospective clients often ask us exactly how. Do we come in and redesign their logo? Renovate their space? Create an edgy art installation that will get talked about on social media?
As if there is a recipe for this type of innovation, or a one-size-fits all answer. But that kind of thinking goes against the very definition of extraordinary: to be dramatically different, incredibly memorable, extra special…
It starts with dreaming out loud, daring to be different, and intuitively coloring outside the lines. There is not always a simple answer. But in many ways, it’s simpler than you might think.
To elaborate on how our team designs and creates impact, we spoke with our founder, creative revolutionary and experience innovator Lukas Cabalka, who has spent the last two decades delivering high impact moments that have spanned genres and globes.
What are the deliverables that make a brand extraordinary?
Lukas, you have conceived and produced everything from theatrical spectacles and interactive exhibits to immersive entertainment and unforgettable events. Now, as the leader of our new creative studio, you’re applying this same craft and artistry to branded physical spaces. How do you design unforgettable experiences? Is it all about aesthetics, lighting, scenography? That which the eye can see? Or is it more about the stories you’re telling? Or how you make the guest or customer feel?
Lukas Cabalka: As everyone on my team knows, it is an alchemy of all of the above. We are aesthetic innovators and multisensory experience designers, that is what we do, but we are also storytellers, artists and brand sculptors – that is how we do it. Collaborating with a company’s own brand and innovation team to see where we can elevate the look, the feel, and their very essence – the place they hold in the consumer’s heart and mind.
We deliver extraordinary impact to a brand in two very distinct yet equally essential ways:
The first is intangible, the ‘it’ factor.
This is where we look for ways to highlight or cultivate a brand’s unique reason for being. Making them cool or sexy, infusing character and charisma. We consider the brand’s identity and image, develop their style and personality. And we deliver storytelling concepts, innovation strategy, creative direction and myriad inspiration and opportunities to differentiate.
The second deliverable is tangible, what you might call the ‘instagrammable.’
It’s all the ways we connect the intangible to a brand’s patrons or customers through what we design. Appealing to all of a person’s senses, stirring their sensibility. This can be an interior or exterior transformation, product redesign, experience creation, or a complete and total renaissance of every touchpoint. Here, we are delivering unexpected experiences, art installations, retail destinations, brand monuments, new landmarks, really any physical manifestation that can add impact and better tell a brand’s story.
What makes a brand extraordinary is complex, it’s a magical symbiosis of elements and touches, the tangible and intangible. You need both. It’s not enough to say you want to innovate, then just change your logo. If your brand’s heart and soul is lacking that certain something, the coolest logo in the world is not going to move the masses. It’s just not.
Experiences that don’t evolve from your essence are just window dressing.
How do you even define extraordinary?
Lukas: At its core, that which is extraordinary is always unique. It’s an expression of individuality. But there is a misconception that everything has already been done, and so to innovate, one must try harder, take drastic steps, go against their nature just to be different. Not true. Many of the most extraordinary moments are quite simple. Oscar Wilde said, “You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”
It’s creativity through curiosity. With a blue sky mind, playful discovery and tremendous passion, that which seemed mundane can be elevated to something worth celebrating and remembering. My personal vision of extraordinary impact is to make people feel with all senses. And don’t forget, in addition to sight, sound, touch, taste and smell, there is a 6th sense, intuition, which is deeply linked to beauty.
My job as an artist is to realize what others don’t see. To look at your box from the outside and view it from a different angle. To find what’s unique, beautiful, moving, and to express it through unexpected design. All through history, when things needed to be done differently, artists were called on site to consult, because we have a different sense and sensibility for seeing and feeling things, we see the world differently. During the Renaissance, Michelangelo was on site with the engineer and the builder and that’s why we still admire this architecture hundreds of years later. Not because it was different for the sake of being different. But because it is intuitively unique, and simply beautiful.
What is your approach to designing for impact?
Lukas: We always kickoff with our First Rendezvous, where we discover a brand in all its layers. Learning about its stakeholders, vision, history, evolution and offerings, as well as its various audiences, competition and marketplace. Then we use our craft and artistry to shape and communicate their stories through what I call the Four Elements of Extraordinary Impact:
Earth – This is our terra firma, our lay of the land. Here, we map out the placement of the objects and elements within a physical space. We are touching the interior design, scenography, lights, audio, adding technology from screens to 3D sound to augmented reality, all the tangible expressions of the brand’s essence.
Water – Where we design how everything flows. This is our experience road map – we program, curate, think about the dramaturgy of moments and feelings, the peaks, planning out when people smile and clap. We also plan the brand’s continuity, looking out across seasons and regions, as well as planning ahead for future objectives and goals.
Air – This is the overall energy and mood. That intangible uniqueness, like the scent, aura, charisma and attractiveness of the brand, product, or service. It’s inspired by anthropology, ethnology, psychology and sociology, as well as the principles of body language and non-verbal communications. Nothing is left to accident; we fine tune every aspect of the brand expression and guest interaction so it all comes together for a cohesive feel.
Fire – Here is the spark that creates the fireworks! How we contrast, kontrapunkt, juxtapose. The part of our process where we incite revolution, doing what has yet to be done in a way only that brand can do. We think, create and design the unexpected such as the new Stonehenge, vertical theatres, air fountains, hotel playgrounds for adults, upside down retail space, deconstructed restaurants, new landmarks and more!
In the world of commerce, extraordinary impact is the magic of attraction, and it requires a unique mix of the above elements to create this impact.
In our daily life, I think Federico Fellini defines it best: “Life is a combination of pasta and magic.”
Brands bring us their signature pasta dish, we toss it with these magic ingredients and serve something unforgettable!
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