Magazine | Issue No. 2

Dizzying Floor-Heights

Marco Tempera is softly spoken with a hushed, reserved tone and he has a calm demeanour. He is not one of these constantly stressed people who work in agencies, always on the go and who only speak buzzword marketing German, which is difficult for outsiders to decipher. He certainly isn’t one of those kind of people and this could be because the Managing Director of Team Pera is a trained carpenter and doesn’t possess any agency narcissism. He’s a doer. “I have a background in the trades.” says Marco Tempera.

He would have every reason to sport an air of arrogance for what he has achieved, and you wouldn’t blame him for this. Firstly, his relatively young agency, which was only formed in 2009, has already notched up many elaborate productions over the last decade, and secondly, he has come up against a variety of very stressful situations during this time. To summarise, he says, “We do feel-good management,“ and his work ethic dictates that he can’t afford to get stressed. “The client will soon notice and become nervous if you don’t have the project under control.”

Team Pera views itself as “an agency for brand experiences”. 

Clients who require Team Pera to create a brand experience tendto come from the premium, luxury sector and they can count world-class brandssuch as Hugh Boss, Montblanc, Tiffany & Co., AMG, A. Lange & Söhne and Breuninger among their client base.

Team Pera designed and constructed a variety of catwalks in dizzying heights for the joint event “VOGUE loves Breuninger” for VOGUE, which has taken place for the last two years in the flagship Breuninger Store in Stuttgart. Visitors to the event and international fashion Internet fans showed their appreciation with massive applause and many “likes”. 

The backdrop added to the overall effect, with the Breuninger atrium in the Karlspassage and its huge glass dome, a 360-degree lifestyle hotspot for shoppers, gourmets and fashion lovers alike being the perfect location for a fashion show. At the first event in 2016, the catwalk on the first floor clung to the circular form of the building and the following year, in 2017, the catwalk stretched out across the building like a bridge.

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In comparison to the round walkway, the catwalk bridge looked more impressive, but the construction of the circular catwalk was by far the more difficult project, explained Tempera. With a circular build, all the pieces had to be specially made, but with the bridge construction, standard parts from stage construction could be used. “Straight construction is always easier than a circular build. This was really tricky.”

Construction was carried out evenings and overnight, after the fashion and lifestyle store had closed its doors for the day. In the mornings structural engineers and building authority employees were ready to make the necessary checks. “Safety is everything,” and naturally this applied to the models, who had to parade different fashion collections at various intervals during the day. At the briefing, they were asked whether they were scared of heights. “It’s no good if they suddenly feel scared and aren’t able to continue walking.”

Where possible, the catwalk floor should be slip-resistant to help the models with their walk. “In principal, when designing the catwalk floor you need to think of the models but sometimes they just need to grit their teeth,” says Tempera. The contrast between the floor and the model needs to be right and “this can be difficult”. For example, a floor which is too light can cause a strong reflection from the flash of the camera. “We once laid fur on the catwalk and this was so bad for the light, that we had to rip it all off.”

The base of the flooring is very important for the catwalk. At the “VOGUE loves Breuninger” events, the base was made from screen printing plates. “The models can move really well on these.“

At the Breuninger event, striplights in the floor generated special effects and gave an added emphasis on the model to the people who were watching the show from the floors higher up in the store. In addition and in keeping with the glamorous theme of the show, very fine glitter was scattered. “We really try to identify with the theme of the event.”

Thanks to many clients from the world of fashion, Team Pera is experienced in the construction of catwalks, but stunning catwalks like those seen in the department store in Stuttgart still tend to be rare. In addition, there’s a new trend developing in this area, explains Tempera. “Things seem to be moving away from heights. Models now usually just walk on the floor.” 

The brands seem to be opting more for a complete room installation in contrast to the traditional raised catwalk. 

This allows fashion to get even closer to the audience in the famous front row.

But the individual catwalks, as seen in Breuninger in Stuttgart, will definitely be remembered for longer, even though they represent a larger challenge, which Tempera relishes. “There’s always a solution” says the pragmatic Tempera when it sometimes gets complicated. Whatever the solution will be, offering the highest quality is of paramount importance.

Team Pera works in a way which focuses on each particular event “from the concept to execution through to the work after the event itself”. In the meantime, the agency’s portfolio has expanded, explains the Managing Director. They produce moving images and he demonstrated this by running an “emotionalising” clip for AMG. The seven-strong workforce, which is based in the south of Stuttgart, includes an engineer, a project manager and an employee who used to be a teacher. Asked to describe his role, he said, “I tend to be the one who does the building.”

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MARCO TEMPERA and his agency, Team Pera, provide brand experiences for customers in the premium luxury sector. To turn fashion into an experience, he and his team have often had to create some breathtaking catwalks and this is where the floor is a requisite for a perfect show.
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What’s it really like
to walk on the catwalk?

VIACOR: As a model, do you ever worry about the floor? 

Jannina Lasch: Yes, as a model I do tend to worry about the floor, especially before a big show. When I’m wearing high heels, it’s even more important to test the floor out beforehand, so that everything runs smoothly during the show.

V: Have you ever had jobs where you have thought, oh no, I have to walk on that?

JL: Yes! Some flooring is very flat, and sometimes it’s worse. A few years ago at a show in Switzerland, the catwalk was in a courtyard. The problem with this was that the floor was covered with gravel and our heels sank into it. That was most definitely a challenge!

V: What type of flooring makes for the best catwalk? And which is the worst?

JL: I think this is a personal thing. My favourite floors are the ones which have some give. The most difficult flooring to walk on is a smooth, wooden floor. But I think each model has a different opinion about this.

V: How did you find the Breuninger catwalk, high up in the air?

JL: When my agency called me and asked whether I was scared of heights, I was quite surprised. Then when I actually got to see the catwalk, I began to feel queasy, but during the show you are so focussed that it doesn’t really matter and we all know that it’s safe for everyone.

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