L23K is the fundraiser of the year for Contemporary Calgary. This year’s soiree, produced by OneWest Events, hosted 1,200 guests for one jam-packed night in Calgary, Alberta.
This year LOOK was a celebration of the beauty and uniqueness of Contemporary Calgary’s gallery. Renee Pittet of One West worked closely with the gallery’s amazing team, CEO David Leinster and L23K Gala chair Kelly Streit to fashion the evening into an ode to the iconic brutalist building in downtown Calgary. The mission was to bring the brutalist architecture of the space-age-inspired building to every detail of the evening so donors and fans of the gallery would get to know Contemporary Calgary in an intimate and exciting new way.
They pulled out all the stops, designing and building tables, centrepieces and even the stage using concrete to pay homage to the space-exploration-inspired architecture that marked the building as a masterpiece in the 1960s.
Guests knew they were in for a one-of-a-kind experience from the moment they walked through the mesmerizing tunnel that welcomed them inside. The space was a vision of minimalism, featuring concrete throughout and clear plexi seating that kept the view uninterrupted.
Stellar lighting was designed by Pierre Marleau with Orange Frog Productions, and he nailed it, maneuvering the light to play up the dramatic shapes throughout the room. There was no shortage of drama as guests moved through the evening; every element mirrored the striking, sharp lines and curved dome the building is known for. Even the dessert came out shaped like the big white dome that once housed the Centennial Planetarium.
Catering rivalled the decor. Courses were fully béton-brut inspired, subverting guests’ expectations of what a dish can become. Concord Catering wowed, presenting the main courses as blocks stacked into architectural structures. Salads became one with the decor in bowls that looked like they could have been shaped from the same concrete as the tables, and colour was kept to a minimum while the flavour was fully present. Dessert invited each guest to play with their food, offering edible paint to design – and eat – their own masterpiece.
The event raised $1,070,000, with all proceeds supporting Contemporary Calgary’s expansive programs and exhibitions. For the first time, everyone who attended LOOK received an annual membership to the gallery—adding 1,194 new members overnight.
L23K was presented by Rogers.
Honorary Chairs included Robert Houle, RCA, Suzanne Rogers, Wendy Tilby & Amanda Forbis, and Hung Vanngo and Guest of Honour Jean Grand-Maître, C.M., LL.D. h.c.
They are still buzzing about how it all came together with their world-class partners, as this was the team’s first time producing this coveted evening, and the challenge had their creativity on full blast.
If you haven’t visited, you can explore Contemporary Calgary’s current exhibitions by clicking here.