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Staged in May of 2012, TEDx Belo Horizonte was a day full of great presentations and design. The design for the entire event, starting with branding to stage set-up, to common areas and signage, down to gift bags, was implemented as envisioned and directed by Zoë Melo.

When I was approached by Adam and Anita to design TEDxBeloHorizonte, I immediately thought it would be a fantastic opportunity not only to bring a great event to my home town, but also to use my previous experience as a speaker of TEDx Amazonia.

As I began thinking about the design of TEDxBeloHorizonte, I felt it was important for the event space to represent the city’s character and to carry a meaning of change. This is why we chose to hold TEDxBeloHorizonte at Cento e Quatro Cultural Center: it is a beautiful space with a deep-rooted local history. Once a textile factory, the building now houses some of the most forward thinking and cutting-edge cultural gatherings. Located in the downtown core, it is optimal not only for its ease of access beside the train station, but also because of its historical significance.
Choosing to hold our event downtown, I wanted to highlight the importance of such urban gathering spaces. The downtown core is a natural meeting point where people from all walks of life are drawn together. Bringing technology, entertainment and design – the T, E, and D of TED – into the downtown core could bring attention to the importance of such urban gathering spaces and allow for a possibility of transformation and revitalization. We need to bring the people back into the squares – figuratively and literally.

For me, it was about bringing together a group of designers and artists to collaborate and produce all the design elements of the event and show their work. We wanted the public to come into our event and have a full experience and interact with local projects. We are also showing about 30 images by Imaginário Coletivo, a social project by photographer Jorge Quintão and Professor Aline Guerra that aims to support and promote social inclusion projects related to the production of images, whether through photography, video, graphic design, graffiti, visual arts or any other form of expression.

To find our conceptual framework, my team and I spent many hours in downtown around Praça da Estação, taking pictures and gathering inspiration. We were looking to discover what represents Belo Horizonte at its heart; what aspect of the city communicates its true nature. We gleaned our ideas from vendors, shop signs, and various people working on the streets. There was something very unique about the way the familiar signs communicated their message with simplicity, directness and flare. This idea informed the backbone of our event design.

From the design of the smallest items to the installations of the large spaces, the event carries the same signature of function and sustainability. I also wanted us to be as minimal as possible in terms of resource usage, to be mindful of waste, and to minimize our footprint. Therefore, everything at TEDxBeloHorizonte is created using recycled materials.

In realizing this vision, I am blessed to have worked with Enrico Salis, Gregório Reis, Leo Piló, Flávia Tenuta, Júnia Fatorelli, Rodrigo Braga Franca (Notus Design), Valentina Vandeveld, and Tereza Cristina Andrade Araújo. I hope you enjoy every moment at TEDxBeloHorizonte, and have an experience you will never forget.

Zoë Melo

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