On Tuesday 29 August 2023, SugarFactory in Amsterdam welcomed 270 event professionals for the second edition of Project Playground: ’23 Choices’. Together with our partners Boozed, Hete Peper, Plugged Live Shows, The Fireflies and Bazelmans we created a unique and inspiring experience.
Project Playground was founded in 2020 – at the height of the corona pandemic – to inspire the event industry and encourage thinking in creative solutions.
This year, the focus was on awareness and making choices. Visitors, all working in the event industry, were challenged to think about contemporary topics such as diversity & inclusiveness, sustainability and technology & innovation. ‘How can these issues contribute to an event and how can you take this into account while organising an event?’ These questions were explored during ’23 Choices’.
Maze of choices
It was clear from the start that visitors had to get out of their ‘comfort zone’. Everyone was given a different starting time and neither did everyone enter through the same entrance. Having reached your entrance, everyone was given a stylised face mask before entering ‘The Maze’. Here, everyone made their own journey through the maze of choices and experiences, resulting in individual experiences for everyone depending on the choices made. Almost all the spaces in our former sugar factory were used for this maze of choices. Bazelmans AV ensured with lighting, sound and technology, that all spaces were shown to their best advantage.
Robotics & inspirational sessions
Following the individual experience in ‘The Maze’, everyone met for a short while at the ‘Gathering’, a networking reception on the first floor of the Middle Factory. Robotisation of service was a notable feature here, an innovative solution in a world where finding catering staff is sometimes quite difficult.
After the ‘Gathering’, the group was divided into three, each heading to their own three inspirational sessions. In ‘The ABC of Futureland’, Jan Trendman took visitors through the latest design and consumer trends. Food designer Katja Gruijters took her audience through today’s culinary trends. Ma’Ma Queen talked about her journey to becoming the non-binary trans-femme she is today. As a concluding inspirational session, Plugged combined a speech by Koen Colmbijn on Experience Design and Transformative Experience with an impressive show by The Fireflies, at a table decorated with waste from single-use plastic.
The spectacular decoration of the rooms and experiences were provided by Boozed. Wonder and creativity dominated, including a colourful ‘cuddle room’ full of cuddly plush where oxytocin levels skyrocketed.
Food for thought
Nothing was what it seemed. Delicious sushi, without a single piece of real fish in it, or the beautiful ‘Fruits de Terre’ stand, made up as seafood but fresh from the land. Then there was the Vegetable Butcher, Watermelon steak, sweet pepper filet Americain and shaslicks that looked meaty real, weighed along by the pound on the old-fashioned scales. Even eating an ashtray turned out to be not so crazy, although in reality it was a very arty dessert!