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When the Entertainment is the Experience

Editor's note: The ILEA Live Esprit Awards 2018 are now past, but Catersource is thrilled to be able to present an inside look at David Merrell’s AOO Events nomination (and subsequent win—congrats, Dave!—for Best Event Production over $75000). This is a look at the fabulous Grand Opening event of the Intercontinental Downtown Los Angeles.

Today's post, the first of a three-part series by David Merrell, is all about entertainment. Read on to learn how AOO created a one-of-a-kind immersive and multi-sensory experience for the event guests.


It isn't every day that the skyline of downtown Los Angeles is redefined by the addition of a brand new high-rise. Thus, it was fitting that when it opened, the Intercontinental Hotel Group, together with Korean Air, would treat 800 VIP international guests to a progressive experience; a journey through the 5-star luxury hotel and all it has to offer. 

The objectives of the event included highlighting the new building, showcasing the luxury hotel service and cuisine, and entertaining guests with a one-of-a-kind immersive experience.  

To achieve that last directive, we worked with the hotel to oversee the production of acts by Quixotic, an innovative performance art collective that fuses imagination with technology, dance, projection mapping and live music to create fully-immersive, multi-sensory experiences. 

Guests gasped as the female acrobat flew through the air and performed amazing stunts, all while being suspended only by a male acrobat. 

These performers told beautiful and passionate stories through movement with background imagery on screens to add texture to their motion. 

The troupe's Cane Contortionist, finalist of America's Got Talent, Andrey Moraru, performed an intricate dance that defied the laws of physics. He mesmerized guests with a performance that combined ballet, art, contortion, emotion, and lasers! 

Smoky haze filled the air to visually emphasize lasers that were used architecturally to create shapes around the dancer as he performed. This was a very carefully choreographed piece because the lasers could not hit his skin. 

The lasers would freeze when he held a position and then they would take a new shape while the dancer would take another pose, essentially dancing with lasers.

The performance piece titled "Pulse" was a beat-driven, exhilarating performance that explored the unifying powers of rhythm. 

Using inventive lighting techniques mixed with highly-skilled performers, the Quixotic circus troupe pushed the boundaries of performance art in an inspiring rhythmic cirque experience.  

The performers were staged throughout the hotel, including the pool deck.

Stay tuned! Next week, David will be giving you a look into how he made sure that guests always knew when something new was happening.   

All photos: Maya Myers Photography 

David Merrell will be at Catersource! Click HERE for the most updated information on our 2019 show!

David Merrell


Since founding AOO Events in 1989, the name David E. Merrell has become synonymous with cutting-edge event design for live and staged productions. David is a sought-after producer with a growing list of Fortune 500 and international corporations for product launches, corporate events, celebrity-attended fundraisers as well as intimate weddings.

Throughout the years, AOO has taken home more than 25 awards in a multitude of categories including Best Event Décor, Best Entertainment Concept and Execution, Best Corporate Event, Best Logistics, Best Social Event, Best Wedding, Best Association Event, and Best Non-profit Event. Personally, David has been named “Designer of the Year” and “Marketer of the