Before it was the Designer Awards Gala, FLOAT simply had Final Night, their last big hurrah before everyone went home. In 2008, FLOAT experienced it's first and possibly most memorable of it's Final Night formal dinners, but not necessarily for the best of reasons.
The decor was designed by the Betallic team, lead by Guido Verhoef, CBA, and Bidou, with support designs from Jan Iiams, CBA, as well as FLOAT's producer, Steven Jones. They went with an overall concept of Victorian opulence, and no one was left disappointed. The room was adorned with a gorgeous canopy style entrance piece, a large bridge emulating the romance of Europe, lovely chandeliers which literally dripped from the ceiling, stylish centerpieces and a massive stained glass window representation for the stage backdrop. Many who were in attendance that evening still believe that the decor that night was the best FLOAT has ever featured.
However, the evening was marred with production snags and all the opulence came at a price. The designers fell horriby behind schedule, not due to construction issues but rather choice of placement. They couldn't decide on where certain elements of the decor should be placed in the room, which then of course affected other elements of the evening, like lighting and such. As a result, the room that was supposed to open at 7:00 PM did not accept guests until 8:45 PM.....that's right, the event was nearly two hours behind schedule before it even began. Guests in the lobby were openly aggressive, some even hostile, over having to wait so long; technically some of them arrived for dinner during the cocktail hour at 6:00 PM, meaning they had been waiting nearly three hours to get inside....
Things got better in 2009 though when Guido and Bidou took the helm again, this time with the doors opening only 45 minutes late. In fact, it wasn't until Melissa Vinson, CBA, took over the design team in 2010 that FLOAT's elegant dinner's doors opened on time for the first time.
2010 also saw the rebranding of the event from a generic Final Night to what we now call the Designer Awards Gala. We felt it was important to place more emphasis on the competitors since it was truly their night to shine. But in addition, in 2010 the dinner was switched from the final evening of FLOAT to midway through the convention, so calling it "Final Night" was no longer an accurate statement at that point. The evening was switched back to the final night of FLOAT in 2013 after it was determined most people preferred the big blast at FLOAT as last.