F E A S T F O R T H E S E N S E S
With Event Imagineer Tony Marklew
How often have you thought about truly engaging all the senses when preparing to entertain family or friends? From floral arrangements to scented candles, event designer Tony Marklew is an expert at immersing guests in the magic and wonder of a special event.
Taking time from his busy schedule designing for Mayfair clubs and luxury hotels, Tony divulged to us some of his secrets behind creating the full sensory experience when entertaining.
"It’s all of the things that appeal to the senses that make an event so special and enable it to be memorable. The smell of flowers is great of course, but if you can secretly have a candle burning in the background as well it adds to the atmosphere. And then you might perhaps give that candle as a gift the next year, and it brings back all of those memories. Sensory triggers are amazing when you use them like that."
Although Tony specialises in using sumptuous flower arrangements, his work ranges from luxury tablescapes to full immersion room designs for events.
So why is the full sensory experience such an important element of his approach?
"When they first walk into the room, it’s not just about what they see, but what they smell. And If I’ve got free reign on the event, it can also be about what they’re tasting."
"Memory plays a massive part in my work. For me, when someone walks into a room gobsmacked or they start to cry, you know you’ve done the right thing. It’s really important for me to go 150% further than what people expect."
Transforming the event space and making a profound sensory impact on guests is a crucial aspect of Tony's ethos.
For Tony, it's all in the details. He's been known to research a loved one's personal style in order to create the ideal surprise birthday party, specially designed for them.
M A K I N G A N I M P A C T
"Events are normally 4 hours long. That’s not a long time in a room, so it’s all about that initial impact. If you’re afforded complete immersion, it’s that feeling of being transported somewhere else. Also, because it’s an event, you know it will live in people’s memory. You can never take that memory away from someone."
Creating an instant impression on guests that will last for years to come is a core incentive for Tony throughout his design process.
"I have a closet full of fragrances! I’m not talking something small, it’s a closet! I like all types of fragrances at different times. Sometimes you want to be fresh and other times you want to feel sexy or moody, or you want to change your mood. And fragrances are a really good way of doing that. Sometimes, you don’t want to listen to the same song! Sometimes you do, but not over and over again.
I particularly love burning candles at home. The perfume society featured me two or three years ago. But it’s like collecting songs. I used to collect CDs, but now you don’t need to because you have a playlist and have access to music and you can have every possible song you want. And with fragrance, it’s as important to me as getting dressed."
Creating a full sensory experience for guests is a key part of Tony's approach, but we discovered just how deep his love runs for having a variety of scents close to hand.
T H E P O W E R O F S C E N T
T O N Y M A R K L E W
I N T E R V I E W S E R I E S
This is just one of our stories in a short series of talks we had with Event Imagineer Tony Marklew.
You can find @tonymarklew on Instagram or at www.tonymarklew.com.
Keep swiping to see more stories in this series or to catch Tony's video made exclusively for Annabel’s during lockdown, featuring Klimchi glassware.