One contributing factor to the awesomeness that was Interaction 14 were the venues. It started with the welcome party Wednesday night at De Bazel, a library and history museum, host to the Amsterdam City Archives. We were in a large, open hall, but we packed it pretty tight.
Of course, we spent most of our time in the main conference venue: Westergasfabriek (Western Gas Factory). It’s construction was completed in 1885, and it produced gas used for street lighting until 1967. The building was cleaned up and repurposed in 1992 as an event venue and workplace for artists and entrepreneurs.
The interior of the enormous space was divided in half. One side was set up with vendor booths, Interaction Awards exhibits, and catering stations. The other half was the main presentation room.
The lighting, in IxDA’s blue-green, highlighted the industrial architecture, creating an ambience perfectly suited to our community. The stage was decorated with props that tied thematically to the conference website. The production values of Interaction 14 were off the charts.
We finished off Saturday night at Het Scheepvaartmuseum (The National Maritime Museum). We were taken from Westergasfabriek in boats through the canals of Amsterdam, arriving at the pier where the replica of the East Indiaman Amsterdam is docked.
The center of the building was, at one time, a courtyard open to the sky. It has been roofed with an intricate glass ceiling that, during the day, brightly illuminates the interior. At night, the web of beams supporting the glass are dotted with lights like the stars, and the brick arches that surrounded us were up-lit with colors to match the category introduction slides.
Fabulous food was served before the awards ceremony. Then the chairs were whisked away and the dancing began. It was the perfect end to an exemplary conference.