Margot Fonteyn once said that you should “Take your work seriously, but never yourself”. Whenever we have to tackle a big task that seems insurmountable, we remind ourselves of this.

The 60th Global Summit for the Consumer Goods Forum was held in Cape Town in June 2016. Open exclusively to members of the Consumer Goods Forum it offers attendees a unique opportunity to learn, network and expand their influence globally. Our client, a leading USA multinational manufacturer of household cleaning supplies, wanted to maximise their attendance by hosting a unique, unforgettable event for their clients. The Reserve at Taj Cape Town was to be the venue for this lavish affair, and although the space offered glamour and sophistication, our client wanted to create something completely out of the ordinary for 85 guests.

In January 2016, we presented them with three mock-ups for the event. The CAD drawings we presented them with indicated the entrance where guests would receive their welcome cocktails and then showed how guests would be led through to the middle area where a replication of a contemporary African marketplace. would be set up.

Actual traders within quaint, realistic stalls offered guests proudly South African-made products such as wines, spices, fabrics, Koisan salt, olive oil, spirits, coffee and African artisanal products. Incredible attention to detail meant that clients felt as if they had been truly transported into another world. Once guests had tasted, and tested and “purchased” all the gifts their hearts desired, they were ushered through to the dining area where a feast awaited them.

A five course meal with wine paring, served on South African made crockery, kept guests smiling, satiated and full-bellied.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of the job relates to the eight hour time delay in communication. Time was also an issue in that we had only eight weeks to measure up and create the fittings for all the décor. Design elements like covering the entire existing carpet with wooden flooring in order to authentically re-create a market scene, required accurate planning and execution. Each space was measured up for cladding and for placement of stalls and furniture. Time was also not on our side when, due to logistical issues, we had only 48 hours instead of 3 days to set up the entire production. High-demand clients bring out high-end results that push boundaries and push limits. We laughed, we cried, we had fun, we were tired, but would we do it all again? You bet we would.