Behind the Scenes at the Toyota Networking Event at SugarCity Events
This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
Towards the end of 2019, Toyota organized the large two-day event Logiconomi at SugarCity Events in Halfweg (near Amsterdam). The international conference about logistics with dozens of speakers, demonstrations and networking opportunities attracted hundreds of visitors from all across the globe. The former sugar factory from SugarCity Events was completely transformed into a bustling conference venue. GreaterVenues had a look behind-the-scenes of this major event.
As we make our way around the massive building, it feels as though we’re right in the middle of a TV-show. We’re surrounded by lockers and there’s exciting music. A video about Logiconomi is displayed on a massive screen that hangs right in the middle of the entrance hall. “Guests could scan their entrance ticket upon arrival, a big screen then revealed in which locker they could find their badge. This meant there was an interactive game element right from the get-go. Very nicely done by the organizers!”, says Liselotte van Hasselt from SugarCity Events. She worked with Toyota’s team in the run-up to the event last year. “It’s so great to see what they did to our venue!”
A year ago, Toyota began their search for the perfect venue for the international conference Logiconomi, aimed at the logistics sector. “We wanted to organize the Logiconomi Logistics Planning Forum in a major European capital. Amsterdam quickly caught our attention. After we had first looked at some more conventional venues in the Netherlands, we were immediately captivated by the special atmosphere here at SugarCity Events. The building is raw and industrial from the outside, but very charming on the inside. The contrast between the history of the venue and our progressive event aimed at the future really appealed to us,” Brand & Communications Manager Marc Maureaux from Toyota Material Handling Europe explains.
Walking further on, we come across the wardrobe and the massive luminous letters that spell ‘Logiconomi’. A perfect picture spot. “All decoration and furnishing are done by DCRT. Together with caterer Van Dam, they’re amongst our favourite partners for events. We always enjoy looking at which partners are the best match for an event in an early stage and then brainstorm together about how to turn the event into an unforgettable experience.” “This approach works well for us too,” Carola Meijer of Van Dam Catering adds. “It allows us to help think about the event at an early stage and get a good sense of what works well. For Logiconomi, for example, we decided to create a ‘vegetable garden’ for the first evening, from which guests could pick their own fresh herbs themselves. Perfect for a dynamic event like this.”
When we walk through the Binnenstraat, the delicious smells from all kinds of food welcome us. There are small stands everywhere where you can buy drinks, a delicious sandwich or a sweet snack. Between the stands, small seats are created where guests can have a chat or get some work done. From practical and playful stools to a robust wooden table with power outlets for your laptop, to comfortable leather sofas and chairs where you can get some rest.
At the very end of the intimate Binnenstraat, there’s a sub-session going on. The visitors are listening attentively to the speaker through headphones. “We’ve opted to use headphones for the smaller sub-sessions. In this way, the sessions won’t be disturbed by other guests who are having a drink right next to the sub-session. Moreover, the spaces don’t have to be screened off, so it’s easier to just join any session and listen along,” Liselotte explains.
Then we walk into the large Middenfabriek. The area is very lively and there’s something going on everywhere. Several companies demonstrate their products in automation, connectivity and energy. We find several stands spread across the hall again with food, coffee and cocktails. The sides of the area have been screened off with large black cloth screens, behind which more sub-sessions are going on. Under the large steel staircase leading to the second floor, a kind of arena is made for presentations and demonstrations. “This room is like a blank canvas. It can be used to create whatever you want. During this event, for example, the canvas is used to create a plenary space for 550 guests, all the way on the right side of the Middenfabriek,” says Liselotte.
The large freight lift, which is strong enough to transport cars to the second floor of the Middenfabriek, was used in a unique way during Logiconomi. Liselotte: “People could literally keep an elevator pitch in the lift itself. Though that lift is meant for goods only, so it had to stay on the ground, it was very funny to see people pitching in that big cage!”
As we leave the lift and walk past the many stands with food and drinks, we arrive at the large plenary room which is also screened off from the rest of the Middenfabriek by means of a black cloth screen. This is where the end of the event starts in 15 minutes, and more and more people are looking for a seat to witness it. Due to the intimate lighting, the many large screens on which the speaker can be seen from every angle, and the professional sound equipment, the space looks like a spectacular TV-studio.
Marc and Tony watch it all happen contently. Marc: “We’ve received a lot of positive feedback at this event! It’s a good combination of an ambitious programme with great speakers in a memorable location that really offers a different kind of experience. Moreover, we’re hearing nothing but good things about the delicious food and the friendly staff, and guests also like the fact that there’s a lot of room to network.” Tony: “I heard from some people from Toyota’s management that they think this the best event we’ve ever created. That’s great to hear! As far as we’re concerned, SugarCity Events is a highly recommended venue.”
This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)