On November 4th, we prototyped a new live experience for an audience of handpicked guests. Bringing our existing universes together, we wanted to create an experience that would feel intimate and exclusive, and also be different every time.
This is why we created ETC’s Cabinet of Curiosities. A unique immersive experience that invites its participants to become a member of the most exclusive private club, a society of connoisseurs for time-traveling delights, eager to meet and engage with figures from all paths of history for an evening. The name also reflects our love of curiosity, the playfulness of spontaneity and the break from humdrum life, which are core values of Eat the Cake.
To follow the theme, every door of the Cabinet (hosted in a private apartment in the center of Paris) would open to reveal a different time period and character. These things will change every time, so guests will never know what to expect. It also allows us to keep things fresh on our end, constantly coming up with new ideas and avoiding falling into a routine. We want this to breed as much excitement for us as it does for our guests!
Our first mission was to get the flat ready to host our curiosities. We hid anything that was too modern (computer, TV screen, magazines…) and repurposed anything that could be used (vases, candle holders, upholstery)... but first we took pictures of every room so we could be sure to put everything back as it was by the end of the night!
The flat was elegant and timeless, which helped tremendously with transforming every room into an appropriate setting for each of our time travelers. The kitchen, with its gorgeous tiled floor and dark wooden closets, would be the perfect place to put Legs Diamond, our bootlegging gangster from the 1930s. The elegant living room, with its vintage table and marble chimney, would host Marie Antoinette in style. And the bedroom, with its inviting bed and big white walls as canvases for our starry lights, would become our Bearded Lady fortune teller’s bohemian abode.
Using strategic lighting to create a cozy atmosphere (which unfortunately made the whole experience very unphotogenic!), we also fine-tuned each room’s background music so every space could have its own ambiance without the flat becoming a cacophony of sound.
In less than four hours, everything was ready; the apartment was decked out from floor to ceiling, music was playing in every room, the food and drinks were out, and our actors were in costume and in character.
The Cabinet was ready to open its doors!
Without knowing anything of what was in store for them (some had never even gone to an immersive experience before!), our guests each received an invitation to visit our “Cabinet of Curiosities” in a secret location in Paris.
Once they arrived at the destination, a member of our team would lead them up to the apartment, where the sparkling Madam X welcomed them to her Cabinet and explained how the evening would go.
People walked in to find a violin player serenading them from the bathroom (you have to be clever with the way you use what space you have 😉), were offered food and drinks and mingled with the other connaisseurs while admiring the photos of all our universes which adorned the hallway. On each of the three cabinet doors hung the picture of a lock, adorned with a subtle hint as to what treasures hid behind it. Guests were invited to pick a key card to discover which door they would open first.
Once all the guests were there, people were split into three groups depending on which card they had picked, and the doors of the cabinet all opened at once. What happened next, I won’t spoil for you, but needless to say a splendid time was had by all. People sang, danced, drank, played and laughed with our curiosities and one another, and when the doors of the cabinet finally closed, nobody wanted to go home!
An unexpected benefit from that evening was having people from various walks of life meet and create new connections; we hadn’t realized the potential our club had to create serendipitous meetings but we welcomed it in stride!
Our first session of the Cabinet of Curiosities was a resounding success, so much so, that it will now be a monthly rendez-vous for all future connoisseurs! We cannot wait to open it to you all.