Meet Lihi Gerstner, The Event Architect

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When you’re looking for the most unique, beautiful space for your next meeting or event, trust the architects. Lihi Gerstner (and her business partner Adi Biran) are world-renowned building designers that launched a new business called Splacer in 2014. The online marketplace acts like an Airbnb for short-term event rentals and features some of the most unique, surprising options in a major metro area. While the service has gained popularity in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami, the duo decided to make their fifth location Chicago. “We personally love all the great architecture in the city, and it made us inspired to move our latest operation there,” says Gerstner.

ILM+E: How did you and Adi come up with the idea for Splacer?
LG:
Adi and I met while studying architecture in New York, and over the past 15 years, we’ve done many projects together— designing buildings, houses and neighborhoods. But we started to understand how much space is out there that’s not being utilized. Instead of building more, we wanted to figure out a way to reuse the existing and recycle space. And as we did so, the connection between architecture and the event world started to become clear.

ILM+E: What are some of the most original spaces in Chicago that have come online through Splacer?
LG:
Planners know better than us all the designated event and commercial spaces, so we wanted to strive to feature unknown options. We have incredible rooftops, distilleries, museums, galleries, unconventional offices, photo studios, mansions, even co-working spaces. They are all beautifully designed and have capabilities for meetings, corporate events and social parties

ILM+E: How is Splacer a tool that can help planners?
LG:
Our filters and our search tools are very specific, which means whatever you are looking for, you can find it much easier. Maybe it’s a Greek-style wedding venue with a yellow kitchen, for example. With our tags and filters you can find exactly what you need, and the search results may present something you weren’t even thinking of. Like any sharing economy model the planner also gets to talk directly to the owner and can ask questions and book visits with more ease. Our space owners also have a convenient platform for leads, sending quotes, sharing menus, etc. What we’ve seen is a real sense of collaboration and a sense of synergy between owner and event organizer and guest. Guests may go to a gallery and buy a piece of artwork to take home, or a planner might book a distillery and then have the chance to get an automatic liquor sponsor. It’s not just the places but the things happening in the places that makes it so appealing.

These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to megan.gosch@tigeroak.com

Amber Lancaster was recently hired as the Executive Chef for Sable Kitchen & Bar. 

 

Members of The Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association (IHLA) placed their bets for a good cause this summer at the 11th annual Pony Up for the Kids fundraiser event, held at Arlington International Racecourse. Proceeds went directly into a fund for the IHLA Educational Foundation Scholarship program, which provides financial assistance to local students pursuing degrees in hospitality. (See the latest winners on page 45.) To date, the program has awarded $400,000 to deserving students. Guests were able to enjoy the racecourse’s private Beverly D.

 

The work of Bob Doepel and his staff at Chicago Scenic Studios speaks for itself, having produced some of the most iconic sets for museums, TV and film and corporate events.