Design Competition: ISES Portland’s Art of the Party

Photo by Paul Rich. L to R: Emee Pumarega, EJP Events; Cindy Thompson, Cindy Thompson Event Productions; Gene Dent, SCi3.2

Last week I had the pleasure of serving as a judge and participating on a panel discussion for the International Special Events Society – Portland Chapter‘s annual tabletop design competition, called “The Art of the Party”. Inspired by the likes of DIFFA‘s Dining By Design events, the event brings together florists, designers, and planners from all over the area to compete for three awards: Best Use of Theme, Best Use of Alternative Materials, and People’s Choice. Many thanks to the ISES Portland board for including me, and to Food in Bloom / Montgomery Park for hosting the event.

As a judge, alongside event planner Cindy Thompson of Cindy Thompson Event Productions and Gene Dent, of SCi3.2 (the company responsible for most of the floats in the Portland Grand Floral Parade during the Rose Festival), we were tasked with evaluating each of the ten entries according to the criteria given. In addition, we had to sit in the hot seat and answer questions about our own approaches to special event design. It was a great event and I learned so much from my co-panelists as well as the attendees who asked the hard questions!

I will be blogging more thoughts about event design over the coming weeks, as there were many questions we prepared for that we didn’t get to, due to time constraints.

Highlights of the panel: Unconferences and Un-Themes, Che Guevara as a touchstone for a “Fifties” event, what “modern” means when it comes to event themes, which themes are overused. If you missed the event, you missed some great discussions and you should participate next year!

More about ISES Portland and its upcoming educational events here at their website.

The winners:
Best Use of Theme: (a tie) Bird Dog Creative & Peter Corvallis Productions

Bird Dog Creative‘s “glamping”-themed table.
Peter Corvallis Productions‘s “superhero” themed table.


Best Use of Alternative Materials: “Time Machine” by East West Floral Arts/Barclay Event Rentals; was also the People’s Choice Award: East West Floral Arts/Barclay Event Rentals.


“Time Machine” steampunk-inspired table by East West Floral Arts and Barclay Event Rentals.

Full photo documentation of the event and all competition entries by Paul Rich available at his blog.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.