Ikonix lighting and special effects

Post-Games success for major event suppliers

Kathy Kruger | February 2019

Business continues to bloom after the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018), with Gold Coast major event suppliers leveraging Games expertise to boost national and international contracts and new event opportunities on the horizon.

The athletes may have been the stars of GC2018, but businesses shone bright behind the scenes to deliver a highly successful event – the largest on the Australian calendar this decade.

From providing key infrastructure, logistics and management, to adding creative flair to special events and ceremonies, local expertise helped deliver the memories that live on.

With Games organisers preferencing local companies, 85 per cent of contracts (valued at almost $1.4 billion) were awarded to Queensland businesses, 61 per cent of which have a Gold Coast presence (figures as at September 2017).

This approach proved a sound investment in building long-term event industry capacity, which has only grown since, given the success of the Games.

Marquees making a mark

For Moreton Hire, a leading Australian events company for 50 years, such a major event in their own backyard provided a unique opportunity to modernise and expand product stock, upscale the size of events they can cater to, form strategic supplier alliances and build their overall national capacity.

As official marquee suppliers to GC2018, the commercial partnership earned them exposure only a major multi-sport event can deliver, along with additional business during the Games and since.

And the statistics are impressive – a whopping 520 marquees supplied to 42 locations, plus there were the not-insubstantial fit-out extras – 43,000SqM flooring, 120+ air conditioning units, 250+ ramps, platforms and stairs, 250+ doors, 2,500+ lights and 3,000 tonne of concrete weights to secure it all down!

According to Global Marketing Manager Karen Cooke, the Games positioned Moreton Hire to not only cater for the very biggest global events, but to manage multiple major events at the same time.

In an Australian-first they also debuted their Kubo premium structure to create a sumptuous beachfront lounge for GC2018 sponsor and global luxury marquee Longines, while the sheer scale of their Games contract saw them forge fresh expertise in air-conditioning through a strategic partnership with Actron Air.

Transferrable expertise

With the Australian headquarters of global events hire company EPS based on the Gold Coast, staff were able to step up to the GC2018 challenge, having already assisted with event security and crowd control for Brisbane’s G20 Summit in 2014, and being a preferred supplier for Adele’s Australian and New Zealand tour in 2017.

Again, preparation was key to meeting the scale of Games requirements – moving ground protection and barrier equipment into place at various venues took 30 semi-trailers, while 150 separate freight movements had to be planned and coordinated.

Australian Managing Director Andrew Stone says GC2018 provided the opportunity to really ramp up their expertise, which they now provide as a knowledge transfer to company offices overseas.

“Many people take for granted how venues are set up, but there’s a lot of project management and logistics involved and this is what we specialise in,” Mr Stone said.

“We sourced additional flooring materials from our American and Italian operations, but the expertise was all local. We’ve learned a lot and the biggest thing we now export is knowledge.

“These types of events (Commonwealth Games) are out of the box in size, and the fact that they’re only held once every four years, means we’re already talking to our UK colleagues about the opportunities in Birmingham in 2022.”

Helping events shine bright

When it comes to creative credentials, Ikonix is a small company adding a big impact beyond its size.

The owners bring in other creatives, drawn from local freelance staff and small businesses that regularly lend their expertise to the Gold Coast’s burgeoning film industry, to put the ‘spectacular’ into professional productions and events.

Special effects are their specialty, using Australian-first Hologauze technology to conjure amazing 3D holograms, combined with high-tech lighting and AV to tell dazzling stories and create memorable experiences.

For GC2018 they provided the wow-factor for the launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay and then were asked to bring their magic in an even bigger way for the reveal of Games medals.

Ikonix founder Richard Saunders is used to the stress of ‘getting it right on the night’ and the Games events added additional pressure.

“We technically produced the whole medal reveal event and it was big deal in terms of profile,” Mr Saunders said.

“We were also asked to do a special Hologause effect for the Australian War Memorial last year; have recently supported the Australian festivals tour of an American rapper, and we’ve also been contracted by Beijing event companies to do shows in China, so we’re really gaining traction.”

Unique designs to make memories

If the medal reveal was a big deal, then designing and creating 1,600 commemorative boxes to house the precious medals won by athletes was a real honour for product and design solutions agency Potato Press, who were approached with the unique commission on the back of their design reputation and significant manufacturing experience.

According to Creative Director Toren Vansleve, the medal boxes had to be functional and beautiful, as well as reflective of the Gold Coast, Queensland and Australia. The company’s custom design and laser etching capabilities were just what Games organisers were looking for.

“Participating in the event has created a platform for Potato Press to prove our capabilities as a company. We already work with a large range of government departments and councils nationally and internationally but it has allowed further exposure and has been a great showcase,” said Ms Vansleve.

“Every product we create is uniquely designed to our client’s brand, so having a portfolio of heavily weighted clients, such as the Commonwealth Games, always helps future clients to have faith in our design proposals.”

Demonstrating the diversity of their capabilities, Potato Press also took on the challenge of a rapid turnaround of public transport signage, which moved from business-as-usual to Games mode overnight.

“We ran several teams before, during and after the games, which would install and de-install timetable changes, bus/tram stop closures and electronic beacons which were part of the GC2018 phone app. We developed software internally to track the GPS locations for efficient installation and quality assurance,” Ms Vansleve said.

The company, which has offices on the Gold Coast and in California, is going from strength to strength, including current projects with the likes of Disney and Westpac.

The future is looking bright

As the Gold Coast prepares to host the global SportAccord in May – the key annual event for major sporting event organisers – local companies are poised for even greater opportunities as international delegates will for the first time be invited to discover the host city beyond the confines of the conference venue through Creating Value in Sport – an Extension Programme to SportAccord 2019.

And with City of Gold Coast actively touting the expertise of local major event suppliers for events over the next decade from World Expo 2020 in Dubai and Birmingham 2022, to summer and winter Olympics, the world that came to the Gold Coast for GC2018 is at the city’s feet.

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