Make a Scene! X Cosa Design & Decor

Elami was very happy to play a small role in uniting the amazing talents of Make a Scene! and Cosa Design & Decor for a special event.

Cosa creates incredible floral designs primarily for weddings in Bali and Jakarta and their work has been featured in Martha Stewart and Junebug Weddings. Despite not being Bali-centric in terms of design, they gamely agreed to combine with Make a Scene! to realize an incredible range of Bali-inspired table centerpieces and floral arrangements with woven coconut leaf components by Make a Scene!.

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Using local Balinese flowers and the idea of a modern offering, they created three different centerpiece designs.

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Make a Scene! also created a series of photo backdrops for guests to enjoy during the event, including incredibly alive dragons.

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A pair of butterfly wings to embrace a couple.

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And a fan paired with two woven umbrellas. All woven by hand and biodegradable!

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5 years of Elami and Co & 5 things we learned

Celebrating our Elamiversary all April!

We got a shock when we realized this year marked the 5th birthday of Elami and Co. Although, sometimes we think it’s been more than 5 years because of the number of events, designs and experiences that we have worked on with so many amazing people. Our roots can be found in volunteering for TEDxUbud and being aware that we started all of this from a shared love of event and experience creation gives us a strong set of values as a company.

To date we have initiated and curated TEDxUbud, The Creative Refresh, The Dinner Series, brand storytelling for many sustainable and environmentally conscious companies around Bali, and recently welcomed Make a Scene! event decor to the family.

We asked each other what we have learned in the last 5 years and this is what we came up with.

  1. Incorporating our core beliefs in our work.

The most important thing for us is sustainability in all contexts. The core of what Elami and Co. does is event management and design and we believe that we can still create amazing experiences that also have a positive impact. That can mean choosing local artisans to create products, keeping the environment in mind when designing (because there is no need for more waste on this island if we can do that), or choosing local food sources whenever we can. If it’s a Bali event, it has to include, support and honor all the things that make Bali so special, especially the rich culture and heritage of the island.

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2. Storytelling is at the heart of everything

We love hearing and telling stories. Last month, we celebrated International Storytelling Week and sat down with Elami Co-founder Mila to talk about why Elami and Co. loves storytelling: “When you met someone who is passionate tell you about something, they are so in love and so knowledgeable. You fall into their world and that is powerful. You can’t help but get swept along and meanwhile you’re learning so much!” People connect to stories, much more than a product or service.

3. The devil is in the details.

Also known as the ‘have you ever tried to sleep with a mosquito in the bed’ principle. You can have an amazing event, but if the toilet paper has run out in the bathroom that might be the one thing that sticks in the attendee’s mind. A good event manager always keeps an eye on the ‘little stuff’. A flawless and simple event needs a lot of to-do-lists and cross checking to make it flow.

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4. Only as strong as our relationships

For everyone. Working with people from different backgrounds make us appreciate this even more. We are not making events for ourselves but for the people who attend. What we might think is amazing might get thrown out the window when we put ourselves in the shoes of an attendee. In all our events, we also love people to feel like they are personally acknowledged. A handwritten thank you message, or a customized gift goes a long way, we’ve discovered.

We’ve found we’re only as strong as our relationships with people, especially our beloved vendors and volunteers!

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5. Always expect something to go wrong.

Psychological research calls this resilience and we need buckets of that to do events. Nothing is perfect in the world of event management. Even when the communication and planning is amazing, something will go astray. So we learn day by day to be more organized and put more systems in place to soften the blow when something does go haywire.

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Last but not least, is an honorable mention that no matter what we do, it's always

poquito miring!

(translated as 'slightly askew’ in this mashup of Indonesian and Spanish)

We have just expanded our office and can’t get over how this has become our unofficial motto in all things. It’s also a path to acceptance for the perfectionist in us all.

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Behind the design: YSEALI Impact XL Bali workshop

We worked with the East West Center to create the visual identity for the March 2019 edition of the YSEALI (Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative) for eco entrepreneurs here in Bali.

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“Impact eXL is an innovative YSEALI Regional Workshop providing professional development to existing entrepreneurs to improve environmental performance and for environmentalists to incorporate entrepreneurship and modern business practices to their activities. This training will introduce attendees to startup incubators in Bali and incorporate sustainable development, innovation, leadership, strategic philanthropy, and other topics to emphasize how entrepreneurs and businesses can improve their environmental performance.”

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For this event, we created a set of icons closely related to Bali and also symbolic of the places and people the participants would be visiting. We created designs for digital flyers, backdrops, standing banners, tote bags, t-shirts, notebooks, folders, and name tags, keeping in mind a strong sense of place and also the age of the attendees (under 30).

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For the name tag design, we were very inspired by the focus on eco-entrepeneurship and environmental values held by the event. We decided to produce the name tag with Green School’s iHub, a green prototyping facility, and one of the host venues for the workshop. We chose bamboo for its sustainable and strong features as we needed to create a tag that would still look after 4 days of wear but was plastic-free.

We hung the tag on natural indigo-dyed organic cotton cloth sourced at Threads of Life. Threads of Life commits to full transparency for planting, harvesting and production, and their cloth was a perfect fit for the lanyards. The lanyards were produced by a local tailor in Ubud to support small local businesses.

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Get to know: Chloe Rose Quinn on traditional Balinese decorations and creativity

We spent an afternoon last week in conversation with Chloe Rose Quinn, the co-founder of Make a Scene!. We talked about her team of super weavers, her thoughts on creative events, and her recently joining the Elami and Co family.

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What is the meaning of Make a Scene! and what led you to join the team?

Make A Scene! is a play on words. I come from a theatrical background where I was trained to make scenes from plays come alive. Here in Bali I want to make scenarios that bring Balinese craft to life.

The most important thing to me about Make A Scene! is that it is a celebration of two very different cultures joining together through creativity.

At Make A Scene!, it’s all about the shared intention of elevating craft. We transform spaces with Art. We don’t want to take anything away from the space, instead we want to engage with it. When we create new designs we want to bring a sense of theatre to a place. When you are around our ‘woven scenes’ you are inescapably in Bali- It’s a celebration of nature, skill and culture.

The team just happened organically. It really was because of the friendliness and openness of Gus Ari and his partner Ciknang. 3 years ago these two friends were the first two craftsmen who re-introduced coconut leaf weaving into Balinese Wedding decorations. They were the pioneers {of the re-green movement} in decoration. Their first experiment was for their friend’s wedding and I recall Gus telling me that they sat and wove for 4 days and nights straight! Everything was made from coconut leaves and it blew the minds of everyone who saw it. The installation received so much attention and luckily for me,I saw a photo on Facebook and that is how I discovered them!

It’s a total partnership between Gus Ari and myself. We have trusted each other from the beginning. I have an initial concept and share it with Gus. If he’s excited by it, then it goes to the rest of the team. Our team is up for any challenge. They are amazing. They never turn away from something unless the restrictions of the leaf deem it truly impossible. I am just so lucky to be a part of such an ambitious group of artists.

Make A Scene! specialises in weaving with one specific leaf- Slepan. We try not to get sidetracked by ‘glossier additions’, westernised luxuries. We recognize that our weaving is beautiful as it is and that we do not need to go in search of ways to elevate what we already have. As long as we stay innovative with our material and keep our very high standards we can continue to be so proud of the Art we offer.

Why do you think collaboration is important?

Collaboration allows you to learn, to be introduced to new ideas and share knowledge. I think sharing makes everybody stronger. In the western world people are very protective and scared of being copied and that is a shame. I prefer to be more open, welcoming a dialogue and feedback. There is a strong sense of being an artist and representing Bali, so why not help each other to bring out the best of Bali together.

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However, sharing and openness can sometimes be a bit tricky and teams can unashamedly copy. At the end of the day we must be happy that people look up to our team as the leaders in this green movement. It pushes us to be at the top of our game. Other teams across Bali are becoming really skilled weavers now and so we cannot ever become complacent, we’ve got to keep moving forward and excite -Innovate.

According to you, what is a creative event?

An event that inspires people, opens their eyes to different areas of creativity, and makes them want to tell others about their experiences. For example TEDx - it’s people sharing a space, that gives them new information, there is art, different foods – they leave needing to process what they have experienced. The effect might not be obvious straight away but I think the right creative event can inspire the soul.

Why do you think joining Elami will bring good things to Make a Scene?

Elami are all about ‘The Best of Bali’. Everything is so carefully sourced, hand-selected and really carefully curated-. Their events are delivered sensitively and in a conscious way. Elami will enable us to continue proudly representing Bali to a wider audience . Elami is ‘from Bali’ and ‘for Bali’. They are fully engaged in the Balinese culture, landscape and sense of place- as non-western as possible! We at MAS! want to be part of that.

Tell us 3 words that spark creativity

Joy : You have to have joy in what you’re doing.

Commitment: You have to commit because sometimes you have to fight for something you create, and argue for it, and push it. Good things don’t come easily.

And possibility! ‘A child would say. ‘I want to be a princess in the day time and hairdresser in the night time and a vet on Sundays. ‘Anything is possible!’

I guess I haven’t let go of my inner child as I wanted to be a creative and to live in Bali one day and look where I am now- actually living my dream!

The most important word for me is the commitment. I think you can have possibilities and be joyful but if you don’t have the drive or the correct tools to get the job done, your ideas will just remain in your head.

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A gathering in honor of the Creative Economy

Bali recently hosted the first World Conference on Creative Economy, where policy makers, industry leaders and creatives came together to share experiences and ideas from around the globe. At Elami we tend to be immersed in the world of practitioners, so it was an eye-opener to listen to discussions of our industry by high level government and private sector superstars like Grab and Bukalapak.

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The theme was one of the best we’ve seen in ages- Inclusively Creative. A perfect description of the event in terms of bringing together different sectors and an inspiring call to action. Standout speakers included architect turned West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil (who left us wishing we could clone him to develop Bali’s creative scene), filmmaker Lisa Russell, and Mileva Stupar of the Audiovisual Institute of France.

The conference also created an exhibition area where we spotted Make a Scene!’s gorgeous hand-woven life sized tree draped in beautiful indigo creations by local fashion designers.

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The Danish Embassy came armed with the power of Lego and we spent time creating some (interpretative) Lego ducks before heading off to see the Grab installation of painted helmets, a collaboration between the transport company and local artists.

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Looking forward to attending more events like this and watching Indonesia’s creative economy grow and develop in the years to come.

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Introducing: The Creative Refresh

After four years of planning and dreaming, we are ready to launch our newest creation: The Creative Refresh!

What is it? 

Bespoke experiences for creatives, inspired by Bali.

We design tailored programs for companies and individuals in the creative fields. We focus on two different experiences:

1. Customized whole experiences curated just for you and your team (anything from 5 to 10 days).
Request a group proposal here.

OR

2. Three-day workshops for individuals (four times a year).

The whole experience is curated for you — all you need to do is turn up.

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We're calling all creators – from the writers to the designers, makers, entrepreneurs and everyone in between. If you make a living from your creativity, or the creativity of your team, it’s time to press pause, hit refresh and replenish your innovative drive. 

The Creative Refresh program offers your team an opportunity to relax, connect and grow. We house you in boutique accommodation, introduce you to local creative stars, feed you well (and often), and curate off-the-beaten-track activities based on your wants and needs.

Your itinerary might include anything from intimate studio visits to immersive discussions, hands-on workshops, unique culinary experiences and plenty of opportunities to put your feet up. In short, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at Bali’s fascinating creative ecosystem, with the goal of bringing your team some fresh inspirational juice.

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Why Bali? 

Bali is like a magnet for creativity. The local culture is known around the world for its rich artistry, striking performances and craftsmanship.

You’ll notice subtle beauty almost everywhere — from the way an offering sits in a doorway to the gentle hum of giant kites in the windy season — which is why free-thinkers from all corners of the globe flock here for inspiration.

The expatriate community also contributes to the island’s creative bravado. Together with local inventors, they’ve helped spread Bali’s ingenuity all over the world, through products and businesses such as Green School, Gaya Ceramics, and Threads of Life. We’ll take you into the workspaces of these companies, and many more, to show you how the creative process flows, island-style.

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Inspiration: Pop up dance performances in Ubud market

In late April, we caught a glimpse of an upcoming Ubud dance event across our Instagram feed, not necessarily an unusual occurrence for Ubud. But in this case, how the organizers described the event caught our eye and we headed to the market on a Sunday to see what was happening. With seven 'stages' in total, in various parts of the market that would never be considered as suitable for a dance performance, the dances were progressive.

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As one finished, the next began without any warning or fanfare, dancers often just appearing from within the crowd and melting back into it when they finished. Some dances were performed entirely in silence.  Eight dance groups participated in the event, organized by Karang Taruna Sadha Jaya of Ubud. 

The market sellers and tourists paused their activities, often looking slightly perplexed. Motorbikes navigated to avoid collecting dancers. 

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Jasmine Okubo brought her beautiful contemporary dance to the stairs of the market, followed by her little noodle bowl attendees and the bakso seller. To see more of Jasmine, watch her gorgeous 2017 TEDxUbud performance

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We all moved into Puri Saren, led by the dancers. After a few minutes wait and wondering if the event had ended as suddenly and quietly as it began, all the groups came together to perform the last piece, dancing on every surface of the Puri. 

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On the main stage, a completely conventional legong performance with a full gamelan took place, holding every tourist's eye.

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But as you looked around, you realized the legong dance was being performed in three other places, by dancers dressed in old-fashioned costumes.  Often the dancers were dancing without an audience as only the performers on center stage captured the tourists' attention. 

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Simple Ways to Make Your Event More Green

Living in Bali, every day we come face to face with the consequences of bad waste management. We've always made a huge effort to make our events as ‘trash free’ as possible. One of those ways is to make sure our attendees don't need to bring or buy the dreaded one-use plastic Aqua bottle. 

We do this by providing each guest something to drink from, like these glasses below from Bali Recycling, and free refills of water using Kopernik's Nazava water filters throughout the venue. 

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For past events, we've also given each guest a metal water bottle...

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...or provided them with a bamboo cup—freshly cut bamboo gently sanded so it was ‘lip friendly’. 

Bamboo Cups at TEDxUbud

We've also teamed up with Jenggala Ceramics to do a limited-edition mug for each guest to use at the event and then take home. 

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We recommend looking into the Avani line of products, including compostable paper cups for hot drinks and wooden spoons and forks. They go perfectly with the traditional Balinese ingke we use as plates, which are lined with fresh banana leaves. 

Balinese Ingke Plate at TEDxUbud

If you'd like to work with us to go even more ‘radically green’ for your next event and help save this beautiful island we call home, get in touch!

8 Favorite Tools to Coordinate Event Communications

It all boils down to good communication, whether externally with attendees or internally with the team and our partners. We have a few apps and tools we swear by to minimize the chaos and crossed wires of event life. And of course, they're all mobile-friendly because our phones are our lifelines. 

Team communications for events

1. WhatsApp

Such an amazing tool for both pre-production and event day. You can send files and photos, locations, voice notes and more. We create different groups based on tasks and needs. It's a brilliant and fast way to get volunteers onto a problem quickly on the day and to share pictures from different areas of the venue. And you'll never have the 'missing email' problem with this app. 

2. Wunderlist

For assigning tasks and checking them off. Great for core team duties and keeping track of what's left to do. 

3. HelloSign

This one is a must for contracts and making sure both parties have copies and details of their obligations. 

4. Zello Walkie Talkie

Zello is a free push-to-talk application for smartphones and tablets. It's lightweight, easy to use and extremely fast. Just push the button to talk. You most likely won't have to configure anything to start using it.

5. Airtime

Airtime is another great way to communicate within teams. It’s like Apple’s FaceTime but with the added bonus that you can have up to six participants on one video call.

The screen is split so you can see everybody who’s on the call and you can set up named groups with pre-defined members. When you need to consult your team, simply hit the Signal button to bring everyone together. (via Eventbrite)

6. Dropbox

An obvious one, but we couldn't leave it out. Great for sharing assets like logos, promo pictures, site plan, sponsor package, speaker package, and rundowns. Everything lives in our team folder and gets accessed within seconds across devices. 

7. Ummo

Coaching speakers is a big part of job of a TEDx Curator. This app helps our speakers to hone their presentation skills.

It acts like a virtual speech coach, analyzing the speech as you talk for pace, word power, clarity, and filler words like “ums”, “ahs”, “like” and “kind of”.

Speakers can press the record button, deliver their speech and then see how many words per minute you were talking at on average. Then drill down and see how the speed altered throughout – kept a steady pace or started rushing? Ummo also gives a percentage score for clarity and lets the speakers set their own filler words and phrases for tracking.

8. Thumbly Keyboard

A phone keyboard that can be used one-handed! The app uses fast, gesture-based, controls to help you navigate the keyboard and autocorrect with one hand, and it’s really efficient.

Event: Threads of Life x Biku

What: Tea and Textile Tales

Where: Biku

Client: Threads of Life

Press: Ubud Now and Then

A perfect collaboration between famous Seminyak institution and tea house, and an Ubud establishment. The event included a one day pop-up exhibition & store and afternoon lecture on Indonesian textiles accompanied by an incredible high tea.

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Once the high tea had been delivered (the menu included salak poached in cinnamon and star anise, Vietnamese spring rolls, curried egg sandwiches, Middle Eastern orange cake, pineapple and mint agar-agar and more, all on tiered silver trays), William embarked on his talk. Draping various textiles along his rather substantial wingspan, he took us on a journey that spanned 2000 years of textile production. He explained key cultural and social influences on the motifs and uses of the textiles along the way, displaying wares from Toraja, Timor, Central Flores, East Java, Jogjakarta, Sumba, and Bali. - Catriona Mitchell, Ubud Now and Then

A pop-up store event combined with a afternoon teatime lecture on textiles in Indonesia presented by Threads of Life. 

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Designing a Soundtrack for Events

We were commissioned to design a fundraising event—part of a collaboration between a wildlife conservation organization and one of their main private sector partners. Held in an all-bamboo structure, we knew we had to find a sound that would work with the space and keep people engaged without taking over the whole event. We also wanted people to end up dancing by the end of the night. Mission accomplished!

krishna and friends bringing their reggae/folk music to the audience

krishna and friends bringing their reggae/folk music to the audience

Music has always been a huge part of any event we are part of designing and we love to work with young, local musicians. Krisna and Friends played two amazing sets of their reggae and folk inspired music; their mix of covers and original songs really kept the audience's attention. Attendees ended up listening to an impromptu jam session from musicians in the audience and finally dancing until well past the time they were supposed to go home.