Starbucks gathered 12,000 partners—store managers and field leaders from the United States and Canada—for the Starbucks Leadership Experience in September 2019 at Chicago’s McCormick Place and United Center.
Chicago Scenic was honored to be tapped by Starbucks’ agency, Seattle-based Touch Worldwide, to help bring this massive three-day event to life.
The Experience space needed to accommodate large crowds and a variety of formats—including keynotes, interactive leadership sessions, presentations, and hands-on demos. There were practical considerations like creating ample space at McCormick Place to provide meal service for thousands of participants. And the Experience space required a performance space—across town at Chicago’s United Center—to host large opening and closing events.
One Chicago Scenic team created the custom stage at United Center that featured inlaid wood veneer and stage stairs with hand-painted faux copper trim. The crew also provided a custom piano wagon and docking platform for John Legend, the closing session’s featured entertainer.
The challenge of transforming two massive halls at McCormick Place—totaling nearly 800,000 sq. ft.—fell to Chicago Scenic Project Manager Holli Eddington and a team of scenic fabricators and artisans, shop leads, a second assisting project manager, and technical drawing professionals. One of the massive halls, the “Mess Hall”, was dedicated to feeding the Starbucks attendees. The majority of work that Chicago Scenic performed—80% of all scenic work delivered—was installed in the second space called Experience Hall.
Telling the Starbucks Story
Experience Hall was organized to direct attendees to several interactive exhibit areas that provided information on the company’s messages, key initiatives, history and future. Guests entered the hall through the “Mission and Values” area, a welcoming space that featured Chicago Scenic-created benches, custom graphic frames and masking walls, and “The Big Picture”—a custom Coffee Bag Sculpture.
Recreating the Innovation Lab
In the middle of the hall attendees entered The Tryer Center, an authentic recreation of Starbucks’ innovation lab in Seattle. New products and techniques designed to improve ergonomics and increase efficiency are tested in this facility. Chicago Scenic created the space’s defining overhead grid and columns, graphics and signage, and the “Innovation Pergola”. The pergola was a prototype of an idea that a Starbucks partner had to help incorporate solar energy into the cafes.09.2019 back to Corporate Branding & Events