Desert Mountain wowed guests at a surprise birthday party for member Paulette Maslick by utilizing “skullmapping,” a 3-D production process that projects animated scenes onto diners’ plates.
When hosting private events, clubs continue to innovate to create one-of-a-kind experiences for members.
Joe Maslick, a member of Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Ariz., wanted to present something spectacular for his wife, Paulette, as part of a surprise birthday party, and club staff vowed to make it happen. After a bit of brainstorming and research, Catering Director Kathleen Glenn discovered a concept that would bring entertainment directly to guests’ plates.
New York City-based TableMation Studios utilizes “skullmapping” to create unique dining experiences. Skullmapping is a 3-D production process that projects animated scenes directly onto each individual’s plate, using mapping technology, motion capture, and special projectors, to tell an engaging story from beginning to end. The concept is wildly popular in Europe, Asia and Dubai, says Catering Sales Manager Amanda Hughes, and the animations displayed at the Desert Mountain party had never before been exhibited in the United States.
Three months before the event, Glenn worked with TableMation to develop the desired concept and then work out the logistics, including working with a local company to coordinate installation, and selecting the appropriate table size and type of linen. Installation of the hanging projectors from ceiling beams began 10 hours before the event, with workers ensuring that place settings were precise for the projection.
Once 40 guests arrived for the event and took a seat for dinner, the animations began as “Le Petit Chef” digitally prepared each course on the guest’s virtual plate. For the first course, a bouillabaisse, the miniature chef “caught” fish from the ocean and tussled with a giant squid during a three-minute animation featuring full audio elements, before club staff brought out the course. Entrees of beef tenderloin and halibut, and dessert (a gelato sundae), each had their own animations as well.
As TableMation continues to expand and develop new animations, Hughes foresees the club reproducing the experience in the future. “Guests were left in astonishment, as each production was unique, charming and like nothing they had ever witnessed before,” Hughes says.