In the fall of 2011, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp was closed for renovations. It did not open to the public until September 2022, but in 2021 Event Masters already organized the 4th edition of the Night of Luck there for the National Lottery. More than 300 National Lottery partners enjoyed a whirlwind experience touring the impressive building before they filled it back up with historical works of art.
This project was nominated for a BEA Award – Belgian Event Award. In that context, you can read an interview with project managers Nathalie Troch and Jolien Van Luyck below.
What was your plan of action and how were you able to accomplish it?
Jolien: “An empty museum in the final stage of its 10-year renovation; the KMSKA was a huge and, above all, very unique challenge to organize our exclusive event here. We were the only agency, thanks to our connection with the National Lottery, that was allowed to use the entire museum a year before it opened to the public. We had a clear goal in mind: a once-in-a-lifetime experience focused on art in all its forms. We also incorporated the vision of the architects behind the renovation into our concept: the contrast between the historic part and the brand-new added-on part of the museum was our guiding principle.
In addition, literally every experience had a link to our customer, although we built the “National Lottery Museum”, for one night only. Just like a museum visit, our guests walked through the different rooms at their own pace, with a custom-made experience in each room. In one evening, we managed to realize no less than 30 productions at the same time, with a magnificent awards ceremony as the apotheosis.”
From a technical point of view, this production was an absolutely amazing feat. How were you able to translate the creative concept on the ground?
Jolien: “That was certainly not easy. We went looking for carpet that protected the delicate epoxy floors but that also provided optimal sound insulation to get the acoustics right. In consultation with our safety coordinator and the fire department, we increased the maximum capacity of some of the rooms by taking additional measures. There was no kitchen installed in the museum at the time, so we converted museum rooms into hot and cold kitchens. All tailor-made installations, animations and projections were carefully developed for an optimal but also safety-compliant experience.
All aspects of this unique venue were also taken into account at a technical level. Since none of the rooms offered sufficient capacity for a seated main course, we projected fictional windows in the mythical Rubens Room and the three adjacent rooms. That way, every guest was connected to the entire group. The audio and video – in the more than 30 rooms – were completely custom programmed while fully respecting the museum’s restrictions.”
During production, in terms of safety, everything was done according to the rules of the art. How did you manage to imprint the communication on the experience and vice versa?
Nathalie: “Lady Fortuna, with her horn of plenty, is our client’s symbol. So, we made sure to weave this red thread throughout the entire event. On the one hand visually, through her silhouette which appears on every form of communication before/during/after the event, the shape of the awards is inspired by it and she was also integrated into the bumpers during the award ceremony. On the other hand, she was even physically present by appearing here and there during the event, as if by chance. Offering a welcome drink to the guests, handing out coins at random in the museum galleries, presenting the awards during the ceremony.
In order to underline our client’s social role, we literally wove all of the organizations that are subsidized and sponsored by the National Lottery into this production. Images and capsules were embedded in the high-tech projections, and all artistic performances were created in collaboration with these organizations. This resulted in unique collaborations with, for example, Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth, les Statues en Marche and objects from the collection of the National Lottery that were part of the decoration. The creative combination of all these factors made it possible for us to develop a 100% unique experience. An experience that, very literally, can never be reproduced in the same format.”
The client has received glowing feedback from the guests regarding the organization, what exactly did you guys do to achieve our goals?
Nathalie: “A significant portion of the game proceeds goes to fund a wide range of socially relevant projects. The cohesion between all the partners who support these noble goals was of paramount importance. The main objective of the event was therefore to celebrate the partnerships with the organizations and agencies funded and sponsored by the National Lottery. These parties were put in the spotlight, literally and figuratively, during a gala evening with an awards ceremony. It was also a mission that had to be central, visible and tangible.
An additional objective was to make it a memorable once-in-a-lifetime experience so that everyone would be looking forward impatiently to the next edition. In 2018 we passed this with flying colors, so the bar was set extremely high for the 2021 edition. A cross-pollination of content, creativity and art, that was our starting point. In our script, we considered every aspect of an event-based museum visit: rooms where the guests – enjoying an aperitif – could stroll at their own pace, rooms where all the guests could come together to have an appetizer and the main course, a fun way to get together for the award ceremony and, as a closing touch, a cohesion-moment during dessert and the after party. It goes without saying that this was a great challenge, in terms of timing and management alone. In short, we made sure that the guests were plunged into one emotion after another, one room after another. Based on the feedback, we can safely say: mission accomplished!”