We kicked off 2020 year with our busiest January and February to date, and like most completely unaware of what was round the corner! Amongst the 28 projects in 2020, Wellness and Health and Fitness dominated the start of the year. We produced a Re:Set Lab for Nike X ASOS to provide twenty-somethings with a place to recharge (and restock their wardrobes), and we were thrilled to design and produce the wellness festival Live Well in London for the second year running.
All of our live projects quickly turned to virtual and hybrid as the year progressed, with the downtime during the first lockdown providing us with the opportunity to fine tune our virtual events platform – adding a whole host of new features that were welcomed by clients hosting tech conferences, roundtables and fashion press days!
We cherish the close relationships we have with our very special returning clients, but we love to welcome new faces into Marble too! Despite the challenges 2020 threw our way, we still managed to onboard five new projects from new clients – spanning commercial brands, corporates, and our industry peers at agencies and venues. Say a big Marble welcome to Nike, Henkel dx Ventures, Red Bull, Wild by Tart and We Are The Fair!
Surprisingly the majority of these live projects took place physically, pre-Covid and of course following strict health and safety guidelines when during Covid. A first for us, was hosting a (scaled back) roundtable for Henkel dx Ventures in Berlin back in August, just before the second lockdown hit the majority of Europe. We look forward to heading back to Berlin with the HdxV team, for future roundtables and tech conferences in the series later in 2021 (hopefully!).
Henkel dx Ventures August roundtable (Berlin)
We made our way through 2020 with an awards first, and a couple of welcomed repeats! We were shortlisted for our first ever Campaign Experience Award – for ‘Exhibition Experience’ for our CogX project (which won ‘Telecoms or Technology Event of the Year’ at the C&IT Awards in 2019).
We were also shortlisted for ‘Experience Agency of the Year (under 40 people)’ by The Drum Experience Awards for the second year in a row, and ‘Best Sustainable Initiative’ at the C&IT Awards for our Absolut Trash project with John Doe (more on that project below).
Alas it wasn’t our year to take any of these awards home, but we still pinch ourselves every time we receive recognition from some of the heavyweight award bodies in our industry – and we’re blown away to be shortlisted amongst some of the big dogs in our industry too. Here’s to scooping a big one in 2021!
1/4 tonne of plastic waste recycled into a runway
If you’re familiar with Marble you’ll know sustainability is at the core of what we do, we seek out a range of suppliers to make sure we can make sustainable options as cost friendly for our clients as possible, to encourage the adoption of these options where budget is usually the challenge. It’s not too often we receive a brief where recycled materials are not only requested but championed – our favourite!
John Doe brought us in to produce London Fashion Week’s first sustainable runway to celebrate the launch of Absolut’s new limited edition bottle, Absolut Recycled, made of more than 41% recycled glass. Introducing, Absolut Trash!
We had to use rubbish from LFW parties and backstage offcuts, recycled materials from local bars, and ocean plastic to create the Absolut runway. Plus, we avoided all single use plastic at the show, creating a platform for sustainability that showcased up-and-coming designers, and engaged consumers by inviting them to be a model on the catwalk!
We worked with our partners Orca Sound Project, upcycling any mixed waste plastic and allowing their clients to be responsible for preventing plastic from reaching the land, air or ultimately our oceans. This supported Absolut in providing evidence for their waste story; they aim to send as little waste to landfill as possible and recycle almost everything they can.
The catwalk fascia was built using 8 x Orca boards, which equals 240kg plastic waste found on the beaches of the UK. The Absolut sign was created from the smashed up glass of 46 Absolut bottles, reminding the audience of the launch of the new limited edition bottle. The backdrop walls were created using repurposed shoes and dressed with the rubbish collected from the various catwalk backstage areas – this included plastic bottles, bags, hangers, cardboard boxes, leftover pieces of fabrics and accessories: anything that would have otherwise gone to waste!
Read more about the project here and get a behind the scenes look at the process here.
Absolut Trash at LFW 2020
The challenges faced by the live experience industry in 2020 meant we inevitably saw less projects in the pipeline in comparison to a typical year, as clients either paused all activity or needed time to refocus. We took this valuable time to put our efforts into two new ventures, aiming to support local communities and provide a lifeline for an industry close to ours that was (and is) also struggling – hospitality.
We kicked off Marbleous Boxes fairly early into 2020, putting our operations team into action by delivering fresh produce to local communities in the South-East of the UK. We partnered with our close friend – critically acclaimed chef Tom Thornton – to deliver seasonal, locally-sourced fruit and veg to harder-to-reach communities who might not have the resources to go out and buy fresh produce. Tom also provides 100 free meals a week for the incredibly hard working NHS staff. The project evolved over the beginning of spring, and we were thrilled to include a range of small and large businesses in the hampers – from Rude Health and La Nonna, to Patty and Bun and NICE! and Duppy Share.
Later into 2020 we saw the devastating impact the multiple lockdowns and restrictions were having on the hospitality industry, so we wanted to get involved and support where we could. Marble Structures was born! Structures were previously a small part of what we provided at Marble LDN, usually a by-product of outdoor activations or conferences. But as outdoor socialising became the norm, we linked up with our industry peers to expand our stretch tent capabilities, and took our stretch tents across the UK to provide pubs and restaurants with extra capacity to host more of their guests safely.
The result of Marbleous Boxes
3: Marble vans delivering meals to the NHS
We couldn’t help but notice our Marble vans spending more and more time stationary during the spring and summer months in 2020, so we asked around to see if we could support any of the charitable food deliveries to put them to good use. This resulted in our operations team taking part in delivering meals to the NHS in one of their most dire times of need, which we’re incredibly proud of and hope to continue. And the sentiment still stands, if there are any deliveries for key workers that we can assist with drop us a line!
The well travelled Marble vans
And… still counting! Zoom meetings don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon, and we’re sure we’re not alone in clocking up the most virtual meetings in the history of Marble. But we don’t just use Zoom for meetings. While our team has been spread throughout the UK (and Europe) in 2020, in various different living situations, we wanted to maintain the office culture we all know and love as best as we could. Yes, this may have led to a long a spate of pub quizzes before we, like the rest of the nation, became well and truly quizzed out.
Our recent social calendar has involved group cooking sessions (kicked off by Teddy our CEO, with his delicious chorizo and butter bean Spanish stew), mindfulness workshops, group baking, meal deliveries, watching films together and a 90s themed gameshow session. It’s tough to continue to find ways to make evening Zooms inviting, but these activities definitely help all of us keep a smile on our faces!
Marble LDN HQ in London was virtually deserted for the majority of 2020, leaving most of the Marble team in their homes around the south of the UK. However for some, remote working provided the opportunity to work from their families homes in other countries – when permittable to travel.
This has resulted in a very disparate Marble team for the first time, spread across: Lithuania, Spain, France, Mexico and the UK. We’ve definitely seen a few more interesting Zoom backgrounds as a result, although the sunny blue skies aren’t always a welcome view from the team in the grey UK!
There you have it, our 2020 in numbers – a year of contradictions that has both dripped and sped by! We’re heading in 2021 with a firmer handle on the new era of live experience, with hopeful eyes on the later part of the year for more in-person experiences. Stay tuned into our blog see more of what the Marble team is getting up to, and keep an eye out for our new projects over on Our Work.