We spoke to celebrity party planner Robin Scott-Lawson, founder and creative director of My Beautiful City, a creative event production agency, about the importance of lighting, loving robots and finding photo booths irritating
At the heart of everything Robin Scott-Lawson’s agency My Beautiful City does, is the desire to exceed client expectations. Well, with clients such as Michael Kors, Anna Wintour, Mick Jagger, Dior and Ralph Fiennes to impress, that’s quite a task.
My Beautiful City (MBC) is the company behind high-profile events such as the Serpentine Summer Party
in 2015, Dior’s spectacular show at Blenheim Palace
in 2016 and the Fendi FF Reloaded party earlier this year. On top of that, MBC has been responsible for the execution of some of the most exciting fashion runway shows the capital has seen (being the first ever to hold a fashion show in the Turbine Room of the Tate Modern, for one). Robin is regularly seen partying and socialising with top celebs, but what is the event planner in him all about?
A strong ethos
‘I always try to be as creative as possible,’ Robin tells us over the phone. ‘I’m all about making an event not feeling like an event. This means always delivering something bespoke for every client, something original.’
A big part of this is finding the right venue, but Robin insists they have to be individual and one-of-a-kind. What’s his favourite, then? ‘I might be biased, but our gallery space, The Painting Rooms, is absolutely amazing’ Robin says. The Painting Rooms is where all the props for the old West End plays were made, so there’s paint all over the old walls. ‘It’s so versatile, and its high ceilings and interesting history make it an ideal backdrop to any event.’
‘The Welsh Chapel in Covent Garden is another venue that springs to mind,’ Robin adds. ‘The raw beauty of it is just incredible, and the chapel ceiling is stunning, yet it feels so intimate.’
Having a knock-out venue can even be the saviour of having a limited budget, he says. If the venue has character, top-quality staff, and the best lighting and sound systems available, most of the job is done.
Robin is obsessed with lighting. ‘It’s so important,’ he exclaims. In fact, he believes lighting is massively underrated when it comes to planning events. Lighting sets the mood and you can have so much fun with it, really bringing the event to life. Laser lighting is especially a focus for him.
Sound, Robin thinks, plays an equally important part. ‘It plays with people’s senses and can transport them to an entirely different place than where they are,’ he says. Also, what can beat great music at an event, right? ‘4D sound is really exciting, and helps make sound a more immersive experience.’
Irritating photo booths
Robin actually loves everything tech. Robots and VR in particular, and he tries to incorporate that into his events. Is this him responding to trends in the market then? Immersiveness, experience-based events and technology?
‘It’s all about staying ahead of the game,’ Robin says. ‘It’s an opportunity to push on the creative side.’
Are there any trends or concepts that are overrated? There’s a silence before Robin states his despise of photo booths. ‘They’re all a bit samey, aren’t they?’ he says. ‘It’s just a bit irritating – unless they are really, really good, they’re basically useless.’
What if that’s what the clients wants, though? Robin’s response it that it’s about finding the balance between meeting the client’s brief and MBC expressing their creative calibre and industry knowledge.
Let’s talk about the buzz-word of 2018 then; immersive. ‘It’s about how the party participants feel when taking part in the immersive experience that matters,’ Robin explains. ‘Although I’m a fan of pushing boundaries and putting people out of their comfort zones, it needs to be enjoyable for the people taking part. It’s a bit like with all things, isn’t it – it needs to be done well, or it won’t work.’
The strangeness of event planning
With such high-flying clients, Robin does get some obscure requests from time to time. ‘We’ve recently been asked to create a blood-bath dancefloor,’ he laughs. ‘It’s inspired by the film Blade, where there’s a rave scene where blood comes out of the sprinklers – pretty weird.’
Photo booths are a bit irritating – unless they are really, really good, they’re basically useless.
The most out-there party he’s ever put on? ‘Ah, that must be the ‘Heaven + Hell’ birthday party we threw in a private house one year, where the ground floor was meant to be heaven, and the basement was hell’. Robin tells us that the strangest thing was getting a man to lie on the table with his torso made out to be ripped to pieces. ‘This is where they served the birthday cake.’
So will all of this be enough to exceed client expectations? We think so. Although, Robin has one addition to his making-a-party-successful essentials list that isn’t always up to him. ‘The guest-list is everything,’ he says. ‘Great people are crucial to a great event.’
Want Robin and My Beautiful City to plan your next event? We don’t blame you. Simply email the team here
to get the ball rolling