Author Archives: Rachel Wenger

  1. Behind the Award

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    Rob Barber’s Journey to Becoming a Special Events Lifetime Achievement Honoree

    Meet Rob Barber, the visionary Chief Creative Officer here at ATOMIC. Recognized as the recipient of the Special Events Lifetime Achievement Award in 2024, Rob’s career is a testament to innovation, creativity, and a profound respect for shared values. With nearly 15 years dedicated to ATOMIC, he has been a driving force behind our company’s success. We sat down with Rob to delve into his extraordinary journey, discussing his diverse background, the evolution of ATOMIC Modular Systems under his leadership, and the innovative strides that have earned him this prestigious accolade. Join us as we explore the insights and inspirations that have shaped Rob Barber’s remarkable career at the intersection of technology, design and the art of creating unforgettable live experiences.

    Rob, your career spans various industries, from furniture to tech, car rental, and now live events. How has this diverse background contributed to ATOMIC’s growth and innovation?

    I’d like to think my background has given me a broader view of business and the various business models that each serve. And thus, the opportunity to fuse different learnings from vastly different industries into somewhat of a hybrid or cumulative view on business. And I believe that insight brings added value that can help shape a company’s culture, strategy, and commitment to innovation.

    As the Chief Creative Officer, you’ve played a pivotal role in live events. How has ATOMIC evolved under your leadership, and what strategies have contributed to our success in becoming industry leaders?

    We’ve taken a strategic and aggressive, two-prong approach over the past 15 years to grow our presence by striking a balance between new product growth and new operational growth. These two steps ultimately feed our clients basic needs. New operational growth gives our clients greater access and affordability, while new product growth gives our clients a robust pipeline of ideas and options. Both the pipeline of products and access to those products are paramount when it comes to the ever-changing ideation in live events.

    Over the past decade, you’ve opened global locations and led the development of numerous product launches. How did ATOMIC tackle the challenges presented, and what were the key factors in achieving such ambitious goals?

    ATOMIC’s approach to challenges is fueled by belief and determination. When it comes to the goals of opening locations and launching products, I’d like to think it was about vision, strategy, and instilling the confidence in our team to stretch the boundaries and execute.

    The concept of modularity is evident in your career, from IT to live event production. How does the emphasis on modularity play a key role in ATOMIC’s design philosophy, and how has it set us apart in the industry?

    Modularity is integral to ATOMIC’s design philosophy. Internally it’s about striking a balance between good design (the pretty) and innovative systems (the process). A place where the system doesn’t squelch the creativity and the creativity doesn’t derail the system. Externally I believe it’s about eliminating our clients pain points and designing systems that are scalable and easy to use. These are just a few of the attributes that sets us apart in the industry.

    Creativity seems to be your driving force. How has your personal philosophy of alleviating pain points for clients translated into ATOMIC’s success, and what innovative solutions have we introduced to the live events world?

    Creativity at ATOMIC is about solving client problems. We’ve introduced hundreds of products over the years. All with design mandate of easy to use, easy to ship, scalable, and no tools required. These attributes give our clients the opportunity to create endless combinations for their shows.

    Your career path has been nontraditional, yet creativity has been the thread connecting your experiences. How does your childhood fascination with tinkering and building influence your approach to design sets and innovation here at ATOMIC?

    My fascination with tinkering, and modularity has been constant. I feel it aligns perfectly with ATOMIC’s early steps to protyping and product development, and I believe it creates a synergy that fuels innovation and fosters a culture of continuous learning. We have an incredibly talented team of tinkerers focused on flexibility and collaboration. – it’s like a playground for creative minds!

    Beyond your professional achievements, you actively contribute to our community and industry. How do your roles on the boards of non-profits like Lancaster County Community Foundation and the Parnelli Awards reflect ATOMIC’s commitment to giving back?

    We work in an industry that’s built on creativity and innovation. It’s an industry that’s often dreaming, thinking, and designing in large scale. It’s both humbling and rewarding to serve on boards and use our creative and problem solving skills to the efforts of improving our community.

    Public speaking wasn’t a natural inclination for you, yet you’ve embraced it. How does facing fears and continually seeking improvement align with your personal and professional growth at ATOMIC, and what advice do you have for others facing similar challenges?

    I think it a bit of a three-step process that starts with the self-assessment and honesty of identifying and facing fears, followed by finding the inspiration and motivation to seek improvement, and finally finding the confidence and continual improvement to problem-solve and execute. My advice would be to lean into your fears.

    In closing, Rob Barber’s journey, marked by innovation and creativity, has not only earned him the prestigious Special Events Lifetime Achievement Award but has also been instrumental in propelling ATOMIC to new heights. His diverse background, spanning industries and skills, has infused our company with a unique blend of perspectives crucial for continuous innovation. Under Rob’s leadership, ATOMIC Modular Systems has become a symbol of cutting-edge design, streamlining live event production with our rentable line of modular products. From opening global locations to launching innovative solutions, we’ve tackled challenges head-on, fueled by belief and determination. As we celebrate Rob’s achievements, we invite you to explore the world of ATOMIC Modular Systems, where every event becomes an opportunity to showcase the seamless integration of creativity, modularity, and a commitment to pushing boundaries. Join us in the playground of creative minds, where we continue to tinker, collaborate, and grow, offering unmatched solutions for unforgettable live experiences.

    Planning to attend The Special Event? Join Rob Barber at his session, “From Napkin Sketch to Show Day: What 14 Years, 12 Product Lines, 110 Products & 28,802 Shows Have Taught Me” on Wednesday, February 14th at 2:30pm. Rob will be unpacking some invaluable tips, tricks, and lessons learned from over a decade of crafting product lines, killer products, and over 28K electrifying shows. With game-changers and a touch of storytelling that’ll revolutionize your workflow, this session promises to reshape your perspective in ways you never saw coming. Don’t miss out!

  2. Top 10 Modular Systems Products of 2023

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    Welcome to “ATOMIC Wrapped 2023!” As the year comes to a close, it’s time to unveil the most sought-after Modular Systems products that have rocked the world of live events. Just like unwrapping the best musical hits of the year, dive into our exclusive list showcasing the top 10 most rented Modular Systems products of 2023. These cutting-edge solutions have revolutionized the way we work, play, and interact, setting the tone for the future of events.

    As we bid farewell to the year that showcased these Modular Systems products as the top 10 most rented at ATOMIC, let’s remember that the true magic lies in the versatility they offer! Beyond their popularity and functionality, these products present a canvas of endless possibilities. Embrace the art of creativity by mixing and matching panels to craft unique configurations that suit your specific needs. Elevate your brand or event by adding custom branding, turning these Modular Systems into a canvas for personalized expression. Whether it’s creating futuristic office spaces, jaw-dropping event setups, or interactive retail displays, these systems are not just tools; they are a catalyst for imagination and individuality. Let’s continue to explore, experiment, and redefine boundaries as we step into the future of events! The power to innovate and personalize is in your hands.

  3. Setting the Stage for Sustainable Events

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    A Q&A with ATOMIC’s European team about spearheading sustainability efforts.

    Lights, camera, action – and a green revolution. The world of live events is undergoing a transformation that is all about sustainability. It’s not just about throwing unforgettable parties; it’s about creating experiences that resonate with the environment, society, and your budget. In this era of heightened environmental awareness, sustainability has become a cornerstone of the European event market. Event planners, organizers, and designers are now seeking the perfect harmony between eco-consciousness and entertainment, with attendees who are increasingly eco-savvy. To shed light on this movement, ATOMIC Modular Systems’ very own Felix Nuyten and Ben Huder have answered questions about what they are seeing in terms of sustainability in live events in the European market. They’ll also share how ATOMIC is at the forefront of this sustainability revolution. Join us on this interview as we uncover the key trends and practices that are revolutionizing live events and making sustainability the star of the show.

    How would you define sustainability in the context of live events?

    Sustainability in the world of live events? We’re talking about throwing shindigs that don’t just rock the party but also rock the eco-meter, keep everyone in the groove, and keep the wallet in check. Think of it as crafting an event experience where the environment, society, and your budget are all in harmony. If we turn our focus on the stage build for this questions, it is all centered around two main components. First off – a conscious choice of products on your stage. Include reusable and sustainable materials and products where ever you can. The second main component: in cases where disposal is necessary, make sure the raw materials will see the light of show again. We want to maintain a closed loop by recycling raw materials to be sure nothing turns to landfill after we use it. ATOMIC plays All-Star in both games. Our design solutions are 100% reusable. When they exceed their life span, we work with manufacturers to go full circle and make what’s leftover into a new product.

    Can you share some specific examples of sustainability initiatives that you have seen implemented in events?

    Sure thing, here are some chill examples of sustainability moves at events:

    • LED lighting: Instead of using conventional lighting, we are seeing folks chose LED lighting which uses much less power.
    • Reuse and Recycle: Nice to see you again. Any materials we won’t trash after a show make a difference. For those that need to be trashed it’s important it can be reused in the future. Going full circle by recycling reduced the footprint of a show.
    • Recycling Stations: Ever been to an event with those “recycle here” bins? They make it easy to toss your empties into the right place, so they don’t end up in a landfill.
    • Eco-Friendly Food: Some events serve up grub that’s sourced locally or made with sustainable ingredients. It’s like a delicious way to support local farmers and reduce food miles.
    • Rideshare Deals and Public Transport: Ever heard of events hooking up with rideshare apps? They offer discounts or special pick-up zones to encourage people to carpool or use shared transportation. And if you can avoid traveling by car a lot of shows have added a public transport ticket included with the admission for your favorite concert.
    • No More Paper Tickets & Brochures: Apps and digital tickets are the way to go. No more fumbling for paper tickets; just flash your phone and you’re in.

    What motivated us to focus on sustainability?

    At ATOMIC, our journey towards sustainability is driven by a profound commitment to the environment and a belief in the transformative power of responsible event planning. We’ve made sustainability a cornerstone of our approach because it’s not just a trend; it’s a mission to create remarkable event experiences that leave a positive mark on the world. Our motivation comes from the desire to reduce the environmental footprint of live events, while simultaneously enhancing their impact and appeal. As part of this commitment, our Modular Systems Rental Solutions have been crafted to align seamlessly with these principles. Our no-tools-required, reusable scenic backdrops not only offer a creative edge but are also designed to minimize waste and energy consumption. Each SuperLever panel is a testament to our dedication to sustainability, constructed from high-quality recyclable materials. It is our belief that these modular systems are the ideal sustainable solution for those looking to rent decor for their next event. Our focus on sustainability reflects our belief that memorable events can be both awe-inspiring and environmentally responsible.

    Can you provide an example of how ATOMIC’s Modular Systems improved the environmental impact of a live event?

    All events using ATOMIC Modular Systems have the impact of a reusable back wall, so the list is long. Once specific example we are proud of is a recent road show that hit 26 countries in about 6 months. Our products reduced the crew needs and travel requirements though quick assembly and disassembly of meeting spaces which meant less waste and a more eco-conscious, cost-effective event. The adjustable design made the set fit into various spaces, therefore eliminating the need for multiple setups. Plus, they’re designed to minimize energy and resource consumption during transportation – Packs small, plays BIG!

    How do sustainable practices benefit event organizers/planners/designers?

    In so many ways, let’s break it down to the key points:

    • Boosted Street Cred: Sustainable events make you look like the cool kids on the block. People love a green-conscious host, and it can give your rep a serious boost.
    • More Money in the Bank: Going green often means more green in your wallet. By saving on stuff like energy and waste management, you’re pocketing more profit.
    • Attract Big Fish Sponsors: Businesses with eco-friendly vibes are lining up to sponsor events like yours. Your sustainability focus can be the golden ticket to snagging those big sponsorships.
    • Outshine the Competition: Sustainable events stand out in a sea of same-old, same-old. That gives you the edge to draw in attendees, sponsors, and the spotlight.
    • Flex Your Creative Muscle: Sustainability encourages you to think outside the box. You’ll come up with cool, unique event ideas that leave everyone talking.
    • Shout it from the Rooftops: Your sustainable practices are excellent marketing material. They get people talking, and social media is all about that good, green buzz.
    • Leave a Legacy: Your events will leave a positive mark on the world. You’re not just throwing parties; you’re making the world a better place.

    What advice would you give event planners/organizers/designers who are just starting to explore sustainability options for their events?

    Start with simple eco-friendly steps, get your team involved, and have fun coming up with cool sustainability ideas to make your events more earth-friendly and exciting.

    How can being sustainable in events enhance the overall experience for event attendees?

    Sustainability at events is like the ultimate upgrade for attendees. You get cleaner surroundings, Instagram-worthy decor, and even better food and drinks. Plus, you might learn something cool and make new eco-conscious friends. It’s all about good vibes and feeling good about the planet while having a blast!

    What trends are you seeing in the event industry related to sustainability?

    In the world of events, the trends are all about going green – from zero-waste parties, sustainable decor, renewable energy, inclusivity, education, and ethical choices, it’s all about creating memorable, eco-conscious, and accessible gatherings. It is beyond a nice-to-have by now.  Clients and our teams expect to do the best we can to make our shows as sustainable as we can bit still rock on.

    So, there you have it, sustainability isn’t just a buzzword in the event industry – it’s a groove worth dancing to. With ATOMIC’s Modular Systems products, we’re leading the way to a more sustainable and exciting event future. Let’s keep the party going while keeping our planet in mind!

    Click here to learn more about how our products lead the way in sustainability by exploring our informative Modular Systems Sustainability Flyer.

  4. Modular Systems FAQ

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    ATOMIC Modular Systems award-winning arsenal of modular backdrops, columns, arches and walls are a “packs small, plays big” solution for any budget with flexibility for customization and branding. With so many options, we know it can sometimes be complex and confusing, so we’ve put together a list of commonly asked questions to help you understand:

    • Who can use Modular Systems?
    • What are Modular Systems?
    • Where can Modular Systems products be used?
    • What’s the process from order to delivery?
    • What is the best Modular Systems product for me?

    Who can use Modular Systems products?

    Whether you’re an event designer, producer or dreamer, there’s surely a product for you within our catalog of Modular Systems.

    Need design help? By choosing ATOMIC for your event decor needs, you will be matched with an ATOMIC designer to help make your dream a reality. Using the latest design software, 3D visualization tools and decades of experience in the live event industry, ATOMIC creates stimulating visual designs that push boundaries. ATOMIC designers will work with you to select products based on your decor theme and are ready to help you add a WOW factor to your next event.

    Already have a design in mind? Give us a call and one of our expert ATOMIC Account Managers will work with you to get your order ready to roll.

    Are you a producer looking for wayfinding signage? Let’s chat! ATOMIC offers a huge selection of columns and walls that can be quickly assembled and make a big impact. You can even order custom panels with graphics that provide directional signage and branding.

    What are Modular Systems products?

    ATOMIC Modular Systems are short term rental scenic elements that serve as backdrops or ground supported decor for events of any size.

    The ATOMIC Modular Systems product catalog has grown immensely over the years. With a packs small, plays BIG mentality, our rentable products are designed to travel lightly and set up quickly to make a big impression at your next event. Take a look at this product map to learn more about the current ATOMIC Modular Systems offerings:

    Where can Modular Systems products be used?

    ATOMIC’s patented modular products can be modified and customized for semi-permanent or permanent installations, not just short-term rentals. ATOMIC also offers products for indoor and outdoor use. With locations in Lititz, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Miami, Edmonton and Frankfurt, ATOMIC can service any location with a full catalog of Inherently Flame Retardant (IFR) and B1 certified products.

    What’s the process from order to delivery?

    First, call or email an ATOMIC Account Manager to discuss your event (size, date, location). They will help you make product selections based on availability and your needs. Once your order hits the ATOMIC system, the team will pick, prepare and ship your order. Once you receive your order, step-by-step instructions will be included for each easy-to-assemble product, making the onsite build a breeze. It’s easy ordering, fast shipping and quick setup that will ensure your event goes off without a hitch!

    Looking for custom panels? It’ll take about 5-6 weeks to produce those, but will totally be worth the wait!

    What is the best Modular Systems product for me?

    That’s a loaded question! Check out the ATOMIC Modular Systems catalog and use the filters on the left to sort by product line, decor type, styles and more.

    Are you a visual person? Take a look at the ATOMIC Modular Systems lookbook, which showcases ideas based on the event type, features and budget. You might even get some design inspo while you’re browsing!

    From impressive modular backdrops to easy-to-assemble SuperWalls and SuperColumns, it’s no secret that ATOMIC Modular Systems products make a big impact. Know that the ATOMIC team of experts is here to help you along the way, whether you’re a seasoned customer or a newbie with a lot of questions. Let’s build something cool together!

  5. Visit ATOMIC at Prolight + Sound!

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    Team ATOMIC is counting down the days to Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt, Germany taking place Tuesday, Apr 25, 2023 through Fri, Apr 28, 2023.

    If you are attending, be sure to stop by our booth at 12.0 D23 to see our Modular Systems in real life and meet our team! You can also get inspired by viewing our SuperColumns and SuperShapes throughout the show floor (Lounge 11.0 B30/49, Future Walk H11.0 E11, Entrance 12.0 A51, Entrance PHV Via A60).

    Still need a ticket to the event? Contact us today so we can hook you up!

    Looking for a stellar session to attend?

    Visit ATOMIC expert Rob Barber at his session, How you WOW.

    Come learn how to better assess, engage, and execute your next project, your company, or perhaps yourself. Identify the WOW below the line from a seasoned event professional and company that’s worked with an endless list of A-lister entertainers such as Madonna, Miranda Lambert, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift; prominent media brands iHeart, MTV, FOX Sports, The NFL, Ellen; and global brands Google, Samsung, T-Mobile and many more.

    Date: Wednesday, April 26
    Time: 15:30 – 16:20
    Venue: Messe Frankfurt
    Location: Hall 12 Level 0, C26, Theatre + Light Stage
    Lecture language: EN