Fifty shades of event – how lighting can affect the mood at your corporate event

By Kelly McGibney, events executive (corporate) at Sadler’s Wells.

The scene is set. Chairs are laid out, the screen is ready for the PowerPoint presentation and the welcome desk prepped with badges and a delegate list for your conference. Yet, something seems to be missing, it’s not quite the right ‘mood’ you had in mind. But, hey, it’s just a conference, right? Do we really need to be bothered about the mood?

How people feel at an event, whether it’s a performance at the theatre or a candle-lit dinner, is often significantly affected by the light in the event space. It has been well established that the amount of light we are exposed to can cause strong emotional reactions, both positive and negative. Given that most events are aiming to get a reaction and interaction from delegates, surely something that sparks emotional response has to be a major consideration?

Event organisers are certainly aware of the importance of lighting at their events and it is often a significant part of the brief for events at Sadler’s Wells. It is interesting that clients often refer to their lighting requests in emotional descriptions, asking for ‘warm’, ‘friendly’ or ‘edgy’ tones for example. What they are, perhaps, less familiar with is the extent of possibilities on offer when using a performance venue equipped with sophisticated lighting options.

We develop a lighting plan for each event as a standard part of our offering. Lighting can be one of the most cost effective ways to make a big impact at your event, even down to using simple options like gobos, stencils of just about anything (usually logos for corporate events) that can be set in front of lights to project an impressive image and help to brand the space quickly and cost effectively. Our lighting experts also help to create the perfect lighting ensemble for different speakers to look their best – if your CEO has a very pale complexion, the last thing you want is to project violet light that will further wash out any colour and drain him or her!

Events professionals know that often it’s the small things, the details that make all the difference to an event experience from a delegate perspective. Thinking carefully about the lighting and the ambiance you want to create is certainly one of those subtle things that can have a big, almost subliminal impact. So, take a moment to think about the mood and feeling you would like to create at your next event, maybe shedding a little light on the matter could make all the difference.

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.


Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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