First Calgary labs provide variety of interactive experiences during Ideas Week

By Gary Davies // Monday 8th of May, 2017 // 2:17 PM

While we’ve focused a lot of our programming efforts for Best of Calgary Ideas Week around our three main events – TELUS Community Day on May 29th, ATB Business Day on May 30th and the Best of Calgary Bash on May 31st – the First Calgary labs could surprise as some of our most popular events once the reviews are in.

New to our concept this year, these interactive First Calgary labs will provide Calgarians with an opportunity – in an intimate setting – to appreciate the handiwork of some of our Best of Calgary winners, up close and personal.

Our Executive Director Mandy Balak has done an excellent job of curating 10 labs throughout Ideas Week that in some instances will see multiple winners coming together to provide some truly unique experiences:

Looking to enjoy some Phil & Sebastian coffee while learning to create a “bad portrait” with visual artist Mandy Stobo? We’ve got you covered.

Would you like to take your significant other out for a four-course meal prepared by Chef Michael Noble, with wines paired by Willow Park Wines and Spirits, while enjoying views from the top of The Guardian, its interior designed by Amanda Hamilton? We have that, too.

Or perhaps you would like photographer Neil Zeller to provide you with his best tips while on a tour of Bridgeland. No problem.

These First Calgary labs have always been part of our long-term vision for Best of Calgary. As you may recall from previous blogs, the vision for Ideas Week was developed out of a similar concept that has taken place in Chicago for the last decade.

There, some 200 labs and events take place at multiple venues around the Windy City in late October. As my wife and I experienced nearly two years ago now, the labs were some of the coolest concepts we experienced during our time there – the opportunity to visit a unique and innovative place of business and learn about its history, its business model and its products, in a fun and engaging environment.

Our favorite experience was the Bucketfeet lab. Located 10 minutes outside the downtown core, Bucketfeet is a Chicago-based footwear company that “connects people through art.” The business model is simple: anyone, anywhere in the world, can submit a design to the company that can be used for one of its line of shoes. An in-house committee selects the pieces that will be developed into actual footwear, to be sold via its web site and through its retail stores. Selected artists in turn receive an upfront fee and a royalty for every pair of shoes sold with their design on it.

We got to learn the story of Bucketfeet while were presented with the blank canvas of our own pair of shoes. We were given paints, brushes and permanent markers and over the course of two hours, we got to design our own pair of shoes that we were able to take home with us when complete.

I’m a terrible artist but I made my best effort to design a pair of shoes with the Best of Calgary logo on it (as created by Calgary designer Eric Seymour). It’s the effort that counts, right?

We hope you will have an opportunity at the end of May to enjoy your own unique lab experience during Best of Calgary Ideas Week. More information on the First Calgary interactive  labs can be found here: INTERACTIVE LABS