“I’M A BIG FAN OF CHICAGO,” admits Sean Cannon, which might come as a surprise when you consider the man behind Event Creative is a native New Yorker. Jokes (and sports) aside, though, Cannon is serious when it comes to turning his new 33,000-square-foot West Loop space, Venue One, into Chicago’s premier destination for meetings and events. Built from scratch and reopened in September after three years, Venue One can host 800 guests for a cocktail reception and up to 500 for a seated dinner, and it has the same purpose as all of Cannon’s ventures: to be as easy and affordable as possible.
ILM+E: How did you begin your career in the meetings and events industry?
SC: I started off at the bottom of the rung when I was 18. I needed a job, so I got into lighting and did a bunch of freelancing until I opened Event Creative in 2003.
ILM+E: What was your vision behind Event Creative?
SC: We are a full-scale production company, so we offer everything from lighting, sound, florals, set design, fabric and furniture. Event Creative is the company behind Venue One, so now we can do even more for an event including hosting, catering and planning-basically anything a client needs. We wanted to be a one-stop, all-inclusive resource.
ILM+E: What are some of the biggest perks for planners who book with Venue One?
SC: To start, it costs less considering we have everything available on-site, so planners don’t need to hire any outside vendors. The space is also very versatile and already decorated for you. We also offer video mapping, custom bars and custom furniture. Plus, a full-scale kitchen and staff are available, so all the food and liquor is housed inside. Our menus are also customizable.
ILM+E: You’ve also opened the Innovation One private meeting center. Tell us more!
SC: It’s a unique membership for people who are just starting out and don’t have conference rooms or maybe don’t even have an office, but they need a place to hold meetings and just get work done. On premises, they will find all the business services they need from spaces to printing supplies and on-site designers that can help put together presentations or collateral. There’s even free food and beverage service all day long and valet parking. It’s a place where people can do anything it takes to develop their business.