Shhhh.... 2017 Secrets.

Hello Dear Reader,

Have you been keeping up with our time-travelling blog posts of late? Over the last couple of months we've caught up with the best of L&LG's 2016... So, what, you might ask, is in store for L&LG in 2017...?

Well, we can't say too much right now, but what we will say is...

WE HAVE BIG PLANS FOR YOU.

Earlier this year, L&LG were awarded some money from the British Council and Arts Council England to take a very special research trip to Tokyo, and this trip will be the cornerstone of our work this year. It is nail-bitingly exciting, we promise.

More will be coming soon, but for now... Have this.

We love you.

L&LG x

 

 

 

Cowboys and Cactuses.

October 2016 saw us creating perhaps our most fun event of the year, as we worked with *extra special* brides to be Chloe and Sam.

Chloe and Sam came to us because they wanted to create a wedding party with a difference. They wanted something immersive, something wild, something FUN, and they wanted it to be Americana themed. Well... we knew we could do that very well.

We decorated their venue with cactus and horse-shoe based table decorations, neon signs, beautiful projections, poker-table-installation table plans, beautiful autumnal wedding flowers, hand sourced wild west themed props, and much much more. Plus we created a secret saloon bar with a grumpy cowboy inhabitant, a Dolly Parton wannabe walkabout character ('Jolene'), a flash mob bar fight (complete with sugar-glass bottles), a surprise choreographed dance with one of the brides AND.... did we mention that Chloe and Sam were married by Elvis?! Oh yes, the King was in the building that night.

We loved every moment of working with Chloe and Sam, and felt privileged not only to help them bring their dream big day to life, but to be able to celebrate it with them too.

We think the pictures here speak for themselves, and we've included some candid off-duty polaroids for your enjoyment too...

L&LG x

pssst... NEXT UP: A few hints about what to expect next...

Christmas in June.

Next up in our time-travelling extravaganza, we move onto one of our stranger events...

Not long after taking down our surreal slice of small town America, L&LG found ourselves creating another surreal wonderland, this time with a winter and Christmas theme, in a central London in ... JUNE. Yes that's right, in the middle of summer. Ocado had tasked us to create a Christmas themed event for press which would showcase their rather special Christmas line of products. And of course, we had to do it the L&LG way, cue the creation of... The Christmas Flavour Laboratory: the place where the flavours of Christmas future were created. 

For us, this meant sourcing science and laboratory equipment, creating bespoke petir dish trays, creating mind-bending bell jar installations, and sampling a lot of delicious food and drink along the way... Oh and all to the dulcet sounds of distant jingle bells and Christmas pop songs. Obvs.

Here are a few behind the scenes pictures to get you in the mood.

L&LG x

pssst... NEXT UP: we head to the Rhone Valley for a very special London-based collaboration with Cote du Rhones wines.

Oysters and Unplugging Whitstable

After we finally closed the doors to Double Pineview (see our last blog) for the last time, L&LG took a deep breath and a well-deserved rest. Amy headed to Mexico, and Louise headed to South-East Asia and we... stopped. Ahhhhh.

On our return to London we found ourselves talking more and more about the hectic pace of life in our city and the importance of taking time to get out of the big smoke, to take a breath, and to UNPLUG.  We decided we wanted to make a piece of work about turning this essential act, ritualising it in our own L&LG way. We wanted to help L&LG adventurers unplug, and take them on a journey like no other. And so... UNPLUGGED was born.

On one sunny day in June we met a group of lucky strangers at Victoria Station in London (who had no idea where they were going), asked them to leave their phones behind, and took them to the sea-side. Beautiful Whitstable, with its oyster shells and beautiful vistas, was our location of choice, and became the stage where our adventure played out. Guests were treated to a beautiful handmade book full of maps, trails and provocations, surprise one on one encounters with characters along the way, gifts nestled amongst the sand dunes, and a fish supper pit-stop. On the train back, we unveiled ourselves and guests got to meet each other over a glass of fizz. Notes were compared, and the eventual question was asked: 'Would you like your phone back?'. An overwhelming 'No' resounded.

This was one of those warm-fuzzy-feeling-inside type adventures, and we hope to re-create it again soon.

L&LG x

psst... UP NEXT: Winter comes to central London.. in June...

Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. (Owls, we salute you.)

So here we are in the first of our time-travelling retrospective blogs of 2017, and this is VERY good place to start.

We are time-travelling back to November 2015 to when we finished our mega-fun-super-surreal-dark-as-midnight-on-a-moonless-night-Lynchian-inspired project and collaboration with Blanch & Shock ... THE OWLS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM.

Here's a picture of us and our collaborators celebrating all things Twin Peaks:

Screen Shot 2017-01-03 at 18.09.08.png
This must be where pies go when they die...

Now, believe us when we say we were sad when this one was over. We had built Double Pineview (our very own Lynchian inspired slice of small-town America) brick by brick, and had lived in it for over 4 months. And to mis-quote Special Agent Dale Cooper we had no idea where it would lead us, but we knew it would be a place both wonderful and strange.

So, to celebrate our biggest and bravest project yet, here's a reminder of what we brought to London over those months, including a very special short film made for us by Graven Images, and some behind the scenes images from us and our guests.

Sit back, preferably with a cup of joe and a slice of cherry pie, and lose yourself in our Twin Peaks dream...

L&LG x

 

 

2017, we're ready for you...

Hello Dear Reader,

 L&LG here, wishing you a very happy NEW YEAR!

There's a chance you're reading this on your first day back at work*, in which case we hope you're ok, we hope you don't have the back to work blues, and believe us, we know... it's hard. The end of the holidays is hard. January is hard and ... 2016 was HARD. Let's all give ourselves a pat on the back, and thank our lucky stars we made it through 2016 in one piece (we just about did... did you?).

Now, we know it was an annus horribilis for most of us, but we thought we should start 2017 on a positive note, shake ourselves off, and roll into 2017 feeling thankful for what we have and excited for all that's ahead. To help us do this, we thought we'd pull a bit of a blinder.. so over the next couple of months we'll be releasing a series of blogs celebrating the best of L&LG's 2016. Because it wasn't all bad, was it?

So keep your eyes peeled. Little taster below of what's to come...

And in the meantime: here's to you, and here's to us, and here's to making 2017 the best year yet.

L&LG xx

*unless you're reading this in the future, in which case we SALUTE YOU, and we hope that 2017 is everything you had hoped it would be thus far.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR WE LOVE YOU

This has been a lion's roar of a year for Lemonade and Laughing Gas. We'd like to end on a bang by listing some things we have been grateful for this year:

- quad bikes (that we get to borrow for outdoor events...)

- the power of David Lynch to unite 18 year olds and 60 years olds bonding over a glorified soap opera

- giant stuffed pumas

- our cast and crew: all the fabulous people we've worked with over the last year, who's never-ending hard work, positive energy and FUN bring us all the joy and without whom we would be nothing

- being freelancers, which although it can mean days off are far and few, we still get to have the odd day sitting around in our pants, scoffing chocolate whilst doing admin

- the guests at our events who never fail to surprise us: we love you!

- The Owl Shrine at The Owls Are Not What They Seem: it just grew and grew and grew and astonished us every day

- getting to work with our hands and hearts and heads every single day

- driving massive fuck off vans around London full of weird props

- that time of year when the leaves crunch under your foot, and the wind is frosty against your nose and you have all the excuses to drink every night if you damn well please

- the cast of The Owls Are Not What They Seem who did two (sometimes three) shows a night for 3 months, and made living that ground hog day totally do-able every day

- being able to sample delicious food and drink as PART OF OUR JOB

- being totally rocking girlbosses and sticking it to THE MAN

                                                          ... and of course ALL OF YOU. xx

Happy New Year.

Love, 

L&LG xx

The Owls Are Definitely Not What They Seem

The Owls Are Not What They Seem was definitely our biggest project of the year, and our biggest project to date. And we are pretty proud.

Collaborating with Blanch & Shock on the food side of things, we built our very own slice of small town America in a small corner of London. Not that the set was in any way small- in fact 'Double Pineview' took a team of 15-20 people a whole month to build. 

This was our most intricate theatrical experience to date too- with original writing, sound design, lighting design and a cast of 12 performers. With 40 guests in each sitting, we like to think of the experience as having the best performer - guest ratio of any other immersive experiences you can find today.

You'll be able to find more information, images and video on our main website, but we thought we might use this space to round up some of the lovely press mentions we got. PLUS- some backstage candids for you delectation.

The Extraordinary Mr H Nichols

Towards the end of the summer, we found ourselves working a project with seriously stylish department store Harvey Nichols. 

They were on the brink of launching their new Birmingham store, and came to us after something a little out of the ordinary for the VIP launch event. We designed a Willy Wonka-esque tour for the guests of this event, transforming the store for one night only into the Gatsby-esqye playground and estate of the curious Mr H Nichols. 

Guests received hand-written invitations from Mr H Nichols asking them to turn up for this super VIP event, but once they were there it was announced that Mr H had mysteriously disappeared... Over the next couple of hours guests met various colourful characters along the way who dripfed them clues about the store and Mr H, all the while sampling Harvey Nic's samples, beauty treatments and backstage secrets. 

This was definitely a fun one for our performers who were decked out by the Harvey Nichols stylists in designer labels galore. Our favourite was the Stella McCartney leopard print two piece darling.


A London Summer Wedding

One of our absolute faves of this year, was working with absolutely delightful couple, Hannah and Chris.

The couple came to us after having been to one of our very first events. The said they were after something personal to them, something that was inclusive for all their mates, and a kind of 'festival' vibe. We worked closely with them for a few months to ensure all these elements came together: an amazing location, an intricately planned ceremony, a champagne and canape reception, sumptuous wedding breakfast, not one but three bands, circus performers, photobooth, installations, DJ, evening BBQ... It was one of the best 36 hour periods we'd spent in a long time. And there wasnt a dry eye in the house when the couple said their vows. A proper highlight of our year. Hannah and Chris, here's to you x


A Joint 30th and A Jaunt in the Country

June seemed to be all about Birmingham (for some reason!)- but the first of our escapades to Birmingham took L&LG to possibly the least Birmingham-esque destination. We found ourselves at Packington Hall- a beautiful manor house, which became the setting for a very exciting joint 30th birthday.

James and Georgie came to us earlier in the year looking for something different and super-fun for their birthday do. After a couple of meetings, they settled on a fun treasure hunt-style team challenge day. Packington Hall, with its extensive grounds, and lake, became the most excellent of backdrops for this kind of activity.

L&LG created a 90s themed day of challenges and hunt-style games. Along the way, teams stumbled upon hidden performers, collected clues, took part in very silly Shooting Stars-inspired team games, swam the length of the lake, and wrestled each other for a life-sized stuffed puma in a meadow.

This was all punctuated by a hearty lunch, afternoon tea, and a very serious evening BBQ- prepared for the guests by L&LG foodie collaborator Drew Snaith.



A Film Premiere and An Immersive Experience

Heading up the first of our retrospective collection is an event we put on back in May. Guide Dogs (the charity) and ITV came to us to organise a very special screening and premiere event for their new documentary. They asked us to create an event with a twist, and tasked us with creating an immersive experience which would give able-sighted guests the experience of being blind. 

For a few weeks in the run up to the project we worked closely with Guide Dogs to create an experience which would feel as real as possible. It was quite a humbling exercise for all those involved- learning about how the partially sighted and blind get around on a day to day basis.

In the end we created a binaural soundscape, and a physical experience carefully stage-managed by a cast of 20 performers, which would feel like a typical London journey: walking down a crowded street, getting caught in a thunder storm, finding your way to the tube station, heading down into the tube, and finally, getting on a train.

On the night, this experience ran simultaneously during the rest of the event. The reactions we had to it were pretty powerful and illuminating. 

Here are a few images of the feedback we got, and some videos of the experience.

Oh- and did we mention there were puppies there?!


2015: An Early Retrospective

Wow, what a year 2015 has been for L&LG. 

We know its not over yet, but as we start to crawl towards the finish line, we are starting to feel a little bit nostalgic for what has undoubtedly been our greatest year yet. We launched our biggest project ever, pulled off our very own wedding (food, venue, entertainment, ceremony, the lot!), travelled around the country sprinkling L&LG fairy dust here and there, sparked a good deal of media attention nationally and internationally (VOGUE US, say whaaaat!), and generally worked our little bottoms off.

PHEW.

So, as the year draws to a close we'll be posting weekly retrospectives of some of our favourite projects this year.

Enjoy!

L&A xx


Love is in the Air.

So here's where we get all soppy and tell you what we did for Valentine's day.

Well, we got a massive group of us together and had it off in a caravan.

Which is nearly true.

Portable Joy becomes the Caravan of Love

This Feb 14th, we decided we couldn't think of anywhere better to invite people to spend their V-day (or Anti-V-Day in some cases) than our pride and joy, Portable Joy.

Teaming up with chef extraordinaire Drew Snaith, we created London's smallest pop-up restaurant and invited couples and groups of up to 8 to come and dine.

We didn't get many pictures unfortunately as it all felt very intimate and lovely, but we're pretty sure a good time was had by all. Our last sitting definitely got our little van rocking on its axis (there were 8 of them, and not in a dodgy way, more a drinking and dancing way).

We're pretty sure the Caravan of Love will be coming back- and in a very exciting new locations!- keep an eye out for our announcements soon.

We'll leave you with the only picture we got of Portable Joy filled to the brim, and a few snippets from our visitors book that day.

Up next... We're Moving!

A Birthday Wonder and a little bit of blushing...

So we're nearly all caught up. Our last timetravelling escapade takes us back to deepest darkest January- the month where everyone is broke, partied out and generally trying to give up last year's vices. Well.... Not us. And not 70 guests who partied with us for a very special 30th birthday do.

A Birthday Wonder

Something very special happened this year on the 11th of January: not only did we revive the Surrealist Dinner Party for one night only in honour of someone's 30th birthday, not only did the Rothschild manor and its residents get to come to life once more, not only did 70 people drink and dance the night away when most others were at home trying to do dry-January (yeah, we don't get it either), BUT Lemonade and Laughing Gas rolled out their very first collaboration with food designers extraordinaire Blanch and Shock.

We are two companies that have a lot of synergy, and after admiring each other from afar we took the plunge in January to test out an early working relationship. Let's just say it went well, and all being good and well and right in the world, you should be hearing more on this front very soon...

Anyway, back to the birthday.

So, this happened:

And then this happened:

Plus this:

Followed by this, and this, and this:

A little bit of this:

Followed by a lot of this:

And then, this happened:

Let's just say a good time was had by all.

Plus, somewhere in the midst of it all Amy and I were toasted by the birthday boy and there was extreme blushing all round.

If you'd like to find out a bit more about the Surrealist Dinner Party have a looky here.

Up next... Love is in the air...

IT'S CHRISTMAAAAAAASSSSSS......

Well, actually its not. 

By the time you read this we will be nearing the end of March 2015. But as we promised, we're doing a little time travelling together at the moment as we catch you up on some of our latest adventures. So (bear with me with this strange analogy)- let's go back to December 2014....

Apres-Ski and Other Adventures

December 2014 saw L&LG build their very own ski-resort. In an abandoned office building. In Farringdon. It. was. epic.

We took over a whole floor and completely renovated it to build our very own: resort reception, sauna, ski school, italo-disco-playing resort disco (complete with classic 80s cocktails- Dune Bug anyone?), ski shop, post office, restaurant and club space. Aaaand we staged an avalanche. Aaaand after the avalanche a very 80s-inspired Santa Claus might have skidaddled down the chimney to dance with everyone. Cue some very very 80s dancing. Food-wise we collaborated with excellent Scandinavian pop-up Scandilicious, and filled people's tummies with swedish meatballs galores. Oh and because it was the 80s, there were Ferrero Mountains. In a nutshell, it was a blast and we drank Blue Lagoons allllll nigghhhhht lonnnnggggg.

There's more about the event here (including a snazzy video), but we thought we'd give you a few behind the scenes shots from our end too.

 

Coming up next... A birthday wonder and a little bit of loving...

Autumn 2014: Hens, Flowers, Treasure Hunts and Polaroids

Autumn 2014 was a time of squirreling and scheming for L&LG- storing up all our energy for the mad Christmas season ahead, but still making time for some more intimate dos here and there. We like these small events just as much as the big ones- often it gives us a chance to work much more closely with clients, and they feel more intimate and personal.

Beanie's Hen Do

In September we created a very small, personal 'pop up' experience for a tight-knit group of friends in celebration of one of them getting married and leaving the UK. They wanted something small, in honour of her, and something very 'British' to get the soon-to-be-ex-pat feeling very patriotic. And so, 'Beanie's Best of British Pop Up' was born.

We created a very intimate and entirely personal pop up restaurant for 10 in the Portable Joy caravan, hidden away in a secret location, and replete with dress up, games, and a very special food and drink offering, created by our friend and foodie collaborator Flo Hiller (Moro, Bonneville).

Mash 10th Birthday

Staffing specialists, Mash, came to us to help them pimp out their 10th birthday party. Originally we had one hell of an exciting event planned, but due to venue problems the event was slimmed down to something altogether more swish and streamlined but just as fun at Shoreditch House. We helped them decorate the venue with beautiful bouquets of red flowers (arranged by our very own Amy- who enjoyed getting up with the birds to head to the flower market) plus an exciting save the date video designed by Louise.

Private Company Parties

We also found the time to put together two stonking events for companies UsTwo and Shackleton Property. For the former this involved a very silly pop-up polaroid photobooth, and for the latter we took them on a tour of the area surrounding Brick Lane like no other.

Guests were sent a treasure hunt map the day before the event which took them on a weird and wonderful tour of the Brick Lane area, including a ride on a golden bus, a stint with a dodgy tour guide, stopping for a macaroon with a passerby, taking a selfie in a beigel shop and much much more. The night culminated in dinner, drinks and revelry in Disappearing Dining Club's tiny basement supper club Back in 5 Minutes. It was a lot of fun all round!

Coming next... It's Christmaaaassss.....

Surrealism and Treasure Hunting & A Much Needed Update

Dear L&LG Blog Readers (we know there are a few of you out there),

It is time for us to apologise. We left you out in the cold. We turned the blog reading light off for an indiscriminate amount of time. We turned our backs on you, and you weren't sure when we were coming back. Well, we're sorry. We didn't mean to. And we have one heck of a good excuse.

WE'VE BEEN HELLA BUSY.

In an attempt to make up for it, over the next week or so we will be releasing a few much needed blog updates on what we've been up to for the last 6(ish) months.

So let's start where we left off, with L&LG holding THE* event of 2014: 

The Surrealist Dinner Party

As you probably know, last August we devised a plan to bring a magical one-off ball held by the Rothschild family in 1972 back into being. This was after coming across a few articles like this where we obsessed over images of Dali and Audrey Hepburn rubbing shoulders with the glitterati of jetset Europe in the 70s. And also becoming an bit obsessed with Illuminati conspiracy theories. 

Finding the perfect (secret) location for the event, we set about recreating the event. Once tickets were on sale we started to see that others were as into the idea of reconstructing this fabled event as we were, and tickets sold like hotcakes. For 4 days we lived in 70s, Rothschild heaven. Due to the popularity of this event, there are whispers of a comeback, so we won't spill the beans on everything that happened. But just for youhere are some juicy offcuts:

Pssst... We might have recreated this event in Jan 2015 for a very special private do- have a look at the most recent pictures here, we think they are pretty amazing!

Also, if you haven't yet watched our Surrealist Dinner Party video you really really should. So, here it is:

(*someone else said it, not us!)

Shortly after this L&LG had their very first commission from Hackney Council, which leads us to:

The Hackney Living Archive Treasure Hunt

Held on a gloriously sunny bank holiday in late August, Lemonade and Laughing Gas set up shop in the Portable Joy caravan on the Narrow Way in Hackney to put on a free treasure hunt for passersby.

We spent the weeks leading up to the event researching the area and it history and then with our historical treasure we devised a treasure hunt trail that led back to the caravan, complete with tea and cake. The idea was that participants could go treasure hunting and bring back the snippets of Hackney historical treasure they found to the caravan, which as the number of participants grew, became a living archive of sorts, filled and curated by locals and passersby. We also let participants leave their own pieces of Hackney history in the caravan, with polaroid selfies and memories/thoughts written down on luggage labels.

It was a great day, and one of our enduring memories of it is having a lovely long cuppa with a local Hackney resident who was in his nineties and regaled us with stories of his youth. Sometimes its easy to forget that this is really why we do what we do: to bring people together, to share food and drink (and often dancing) and stories, to feel like an ever-shifting, temporary community of likeminded people, to feel like you are part of something just for a short moment.

Next up: this coming Monday's blogpost will take us into Autumn 2014... 

Tea Dances and Samba Drums

Hello lovely followers, 

You may have noticed we have a little (BIG) old (NEW) exciting (the MOST exciting) event coming up in August...(pssst!) But before that happens we thought we'd get you up to speed to our latest shenanigans. 

July has been VERY busy for us. We have been working on not one, but two huge projects, and boy did they go off with a bang. One had us researching the cultural heritage of Lambeth, interviewing primary school children about birthdays and making props with a group of year 9's in the lead up to a huge outdoor event, and the other had us delve into the spirit of Carioca for a one-off private event that featured drag queens, mask-making and a live Samba band.

Want to hear more? Read on...

L&LG presents.... Carioca!

When we were asked earlier in the year whether we could design and produce a private Brazilian themed event for up to 200 people, including food and drink, we got pretty excited...

Steering clear of all things football we settled on a 'Carioca' theme. 'Carioca' is an interchangeable word, used not only to describe the people of Rio, but also the spirit of the city. Used as a noun and an adjective it can mean: strength, warrior, passion, life-force, cheeky/sexy, power, fun loving. We thought it was the perfect central idea for the design of our night. 

Working with our chef and drinks expert, we came up with a riotous carnival experience of a night which included authentic, delicious Brazilian food and drink, a show-stopping surprise element mid-way through. Installing ourselves in the legendary old BBC recording studios in Marylebone we built an experience which included entering through an audio visual installation of beach sounds and vintage aerial shots of Rio; a Rio drag queen's dressing room where guests could interact with 'Eloise' our drag queen and lipsynch to 'The Girl from Ipanema'; being challenged to a game of wits by the Mayor of Rio in his office; stumble upon a secret Carmen Miranda space filled with bananas and samba dancing; or make your own carnival mask in our carnival styling area, and wander through a beautifully tropical designed main space. Midway through the night guests were drawn to the sound of Samba drums to a central staircase which had previously been obscured but we revealed in spectacular style and were led downstairs by Samba dancers to an entriely different space for drinking and dancing. It was quite a night. And we're secretly hoping we might get to do it again...

L&LG in the Secret Zone at Lambeth Country Show

Despite multiple zig-zagging lightning bolts on weather maps, we managed to get a weekend of glorious weather and sunshine at the annual Lambeth Country Show. Hurrah.

We were invited by the council's event organisers to conceive and run a 'secret' area at this year's show for their 40th birthday - something family-friendly and all inclusive. This was a good challenge for us as we've always felt children are a great audience for the type of imagination-led interactive work we make, but more often than not we veer towards the 18+ rating.

We wanted to really get a feel for the cultural heritage of Lambeth, up to and including its present day community so we took to local schools to include them in our process. This included making larger than life country show vegetable props for the show with one year group, and interviewing another primary school year group to create material for one of the sound installations we installed in the secret zone.

We filled the walled garden (already an amazingly inspiring space) with various characters (some taken directly from show programmes from the 70's) including Lambeth Larry, a boy trapped inside a lifesize cake (or cake purgatory as it became known amongst the performers), magical continuous tea party, a sound installation of children talking about birthdays (cute!), a dancing ghost of the garden and a very eccentric local artist teaching punters about the art of blind sketching on canvases to take home.

All the characters came together, on the hour, for a choreographed movement spectacle, complete with animal heads and parasols. Have a gander at the pictures to get more of an idea...