Event Decor | Art of Technology

April 29, 2014 Joe Luft

Event Decor | Art of Technology



Kehoe Designs is forever drawn to new innovations that push forward the artistry and craftsmanship of event decor. Based in Chicago, the third largest metropolis in the USA, the event design team caters to trade shows and conferences that draw people from the greatest cities of the world. It drives our craftsmen and creatives to push the limits of event decor in order to produce one-of-a-kind event environments that leave an unforgettable impression whether you’re from Schaumburg or Shanghai. In this article, we’ll explore how we harness the power of technology and fuse it with the artistry of event decor to produce world class events.

Event Lighting

As event designers, we can not stress enough the importance of lighting in a space. The way a room is lit carries just as much energy in affecting overall mood as music. “As technology progresses, so does the sophistication of lighting systems in event decor,” explains Technology Manager, Adam McCarthy. “Bigger lenses offer the drama and fantastical effect of large scale projections. Intelligent lighting allows for syncing light movement to sound. LED technology provides much more powerful illumination and the possibility for programmed color change,” says Adam. Our team of  lighting designers and technicians work closely with our event producers and the venue to create lighting schemes that serve to enhance both the specificities of an event space and the overall vision and inspiration behind the decor.

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Image 1: “Dinner at the United Center,” photo by Kehoe Designs, Image 2: “2013 Costume Ball – 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair at the Chicago History Museum, photo by Kehoe Designs, Image 3: “Wedding Under a Million Stars at the Art Institute,” photo by Bob & Dawn Davis Photography, planning by BCR Events.

Video Technology

As the world becomes ever more digitized, video content and graphic imagery is increasingly incorporated into event design. “As decor providers who also produce video content for our clients, we ensure strong visuals and messaging that fit thematically with the overall event environment,” explains Adam. Used for color, texture and mood, moving images offer yet another layer of experiential stimulation. Gone are the days of viewing digital content on a standard LED monitor or presentation screen. LED panels that display video are now used as structural decor elements such as a DJ surround or massive stage focal. Custom crafted surfaces, like our Chicago city skyline, act as a large screen to take on bitmapped video or graphic light projections.

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Image 1: “2014 Travel Association WPI Client Event,” photo by: KingenSmith, Image 2: “WPI Closing Party at the Museum of Science and Industry,” photo by Artisan Events, Image 3: “EMB Mitzvah at the Standard Club,” photo by Kehoe Designs, planning by: Joyce Pollakoff


Precision Fabrication

One of the most exciting advancements in our studios is the ability to digitize a model of a 2-D or 3-D design and have it perfectly cut to specification out of virtually any material. “While this technology is relatively new to Kehoe Designs, we’ve hit the ground running with impressive large scale sculptural pieces,” says Production Engineer, Nathan Paoletta. For a Mariano’s grand opening event, intricate cut-out patterns repeat on beautifully crafted chandelier shades and illuminated table risers. A custom crafted “M” adds an additional element of stylish branding. At an Ecolab party, panels are custom cut to bring interest to a bar’s bottle service. “We even use the ‘off cuts’ from our projects,” says Nathan, “smartly repurposing them into eye-catching designs such as the decorative archways produced for last year’s annual Biotech convention.” Whether its used for artistic embellishments or detailed custom branding, the combination of creative design and precision cutting gives us endless possibilities in adding depth and intrigue to our event designs.

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Image 1: “Mariano’s Zurich Grand Opening Event,” photo by Kehoe Designs, Image 2: “Ecolab Annual Conference,” photo by Kehoe Designs Image 3: “Biotech Annual Conference at the Chicago Field Museum,” photo by Kehoe Designs


The Event Technology team is made-up of lighting designers, audio visual specialists, production engineers and expert technicians.  Embracing the potential of event innovation, the team pools their talent, creativity and expertise to produce environments at the forefront of event design. Coming from backgrounds as diverse as theatrical set design, art production, videography and graphic design, our young, savvy team of in-house artisans bring their fresh perspective and an exciting dose of drama to each project they touch.