Chin Chin Event Space Opening

Styled by Louisa Curtis

The Lucas Group are home to Australia’s most beloved and acclaimed restaurants, including Chin Chin, Kisumé, Hawker Hall, Baby and Kong. They create venues that they want to go to and experiences they want to share with others. The Lucas Group have newly launched an event space above their renowned Flinders Lane venue Chin Chin.

Chin Chin event space
Chin Chin event space
Chin Chin event space

S|LC were super excited when they were approached by the team at Karla Dawes Press Office to come up with the creative styling for the launch of their new banquet and cocktail dinner venue. The theme was jungle, so we called upon renowned florist Michael Strownix to help develop a unique wilderness inspired concept comprising of oversized greenery arrangements and a colour palette to reflect this. Whilst incorporating tropical jungle inspired ingredients into stylised food station installations.

Chin Chin event space
Chin Chin event space opening
Chin Chin event space opening

Key Melbourne socialites, media and influencers enjoyed cocktails and canapes designed by Benjamin Cooper head chef throughout the evening.

Chin Chin event space opening
Chin Chin event space opening
Chin Chin event space opening

Meet Sarah Dungey, Business Development Manager – Events from The Lucas Group

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Lucas Restaurants?

I joined The Lucas team around 2 years ago to head up the Events team and develop the Events program across the group. The team has grown significantly in that time as we have bought on new event spaces at Kisumé, Chin Chin Sydney and now Chin Chin Melbourne. We also host events across our other restaurants – Kong, Baby & Hawker Hall, which keeps things pretty interesting on a daily basis!

I work with the team to make sure our events program runs smoothly from a guest experience aspect, as well as making sure the operations teams get all the information they need to look after our guests in the best way possible.

It is so great to be able to come to work each day and create different experiences across our venues, each one is so different from the other. We have an amazing team here that just get everything done, despite the madness!

Tell us about the new space above Chin Chin and where the concept derived from?

The new space at Chin Chin has been a long time coming for Lucas Restaurants. With the launch of Sydney’s Chii Town event space in late 2017, we have been longing for a Melbourne space of our own to bring the job of Chin Chin to the ever-growing events scene. We get regular calls asking for large groups and events at Chin Chin, so it was only natural for us to deliver what the people were asking for. The development of the concept for the space was very much like an event itself – ever changing. The projects team worked very closely with George Livissianis to create a space that reflected the soul of the main Chin Chin dining room, but with a fun and individual twist. 

We just wanted to create a space that was open, dynamic and adaptable to a wide variety of event styles and sizes – so guests can put their own stamp on their Chin Chin experience event too.

What do you love most about your job?

I love that I get to meet and speak to so many different people every day, and work on such a wide variety of events – no two events are ever the same!

Working with so many fun & creative suppliers who breathe new life into the space with every event is also very rewarding – not to mention just fun to hang out with and workshop some pie in the sky ideas.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? 

To treat others as you would like to be treated.

Words you live by?

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.

What should everyone try at least once in their lifetime?

Chin Chin! ????

How long have you worked in the events industry for?

I started working at events straight out of school, handing around chicken sandwiches for any event The Big Group would roster me on. I always loved going to different houses and venues and seeing how the party had been styled and put together – it was facinating.

I am also completely guilty of being a bit of an organiser – always putting together parties for friends to get everyone in one place to drink, eat and dance.

I jumped into a junior event coordinator role at The Big Group after I finished my Commerce degree (very different fields but has come in handy on more than one occasion) and have been doing it ever since!

I just turned thirty this year – so I guess that makes it around 12 years (if you count my years of chicken sandwich offerings throughout university ????).

Can you share an experience where an event dramatically shifted direction at the last minute?

Events are always ever changing by nature and almost always it seems next to impossible to follow an exact plan that may have been put together over many months of planning and discussion.

Weather is often the main dictator of all things going ‘off plan’ so to speak. I do remember one of my favourite weddings in the middle of winter and we had planned for the absolute worst-case scenario – every square inch of the property was covered.

We were so obsessed with how bad the weather was, we hadn’t considered it would be a beautiful, sunny end of May day – the marquee was a greenhouse! Unfortunately, with all our waterproofing methods (& styling detail of course!), it wasn’t a simple unhook of the marquee walls – they were boxed in.

What did you do?

You have work with the best suppliers who come through for you – even at the last minute. A few frantic phone calls to the trusty marquee team enjoying their weekend break and we were able to deconstruct our careful waterproofing to let some much-needed air into the marquee!

The sun then went down, and the next problem was to get them back up again!

There is always constant problem solving in the world of events.

Why was S|LC chosen to style the launch event?

We thought Louisa and the team would be a perfect brand match to work with us on the launch of the new Chin Chin Events space. Their ideas were refreshing in response to our initial brief and we loved how the team were as excited about the new space as we were.

What was it like working with S|LC in the lead up to the two launch nights?

We loved working with the team at S|LC in the lead up to the launch parties! Both Louisa & Clare brought so many brilliant ideas, concepts and collaborators to the table. Despite our very challenging time frame to turn the event around and demands, were able to deliver an amazing concept for the two nights. They were incredibly adaptable to our requests and we can’t wait to work with the team again to deliver another completely different version of the party in the space.

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