17 Runways For Event Staging Inspiration

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Stay away from boring, traditional setups and use runways or catwalks as brand activation tools, to enhance themes, or provide an immersive experience at your next event. From colors and props to custom builds, these runways will blow your mind and make you want to walk the catwalk yourself.

Traditionally used in fashion events and shows, catwalks provide a longer run of stage area, which projects into the audience. This set up shouldn’t just be limited just to the fashion industry though, runway staging can be particularly useful for showcasing products, performances and simply getting your speakers up close and personal with the audience. Here are some of the best runway examples to inspire your next stage design.

Masud Khan Photography and the Muslim Lifestyle Expo

  1. Light Up Marquee

This lit runway is housed in a marquee and was set up for this specific fashion show. It is featured alongside a seated meal to make attendees more comfortable and conducive to the display and also uses all of the available event space. The runway itself provides an excellent contrast to this evening event as it provides most of the essential lighting and draws attention to it, and its models.

Credit: The Chigwell Marquees

  1. Beach

Create your runway by experimenting with flooring using temporary decking like in this example. Have the sea as a natural scenic backdrop to your event and also cater to those in difficult footwear to provide a beautiful experience in an unusual place for a product showcase. (This would also be an interesting aisle and wedding choice too on the beach.)  

Credit: Armor Deck Flooring Solutions

  1. Rainbow

Make your runway visually striking by adding color like with this rainbow effect. What makes this example even more unique is the extension using lighting which creates the illusion that it travels from the ceiling. Combining your lighting to compliment the catwalk is an excellent way to keep attention drawn onto a fixed focal point, particularly if you are using it for marketing

  1. Road Runway

Taking a different approach was the car manufacturer Honda at this dealer event that incorporated a road-themed runway into their staging to show off products and create more of an interactive stage experience. The road theme ties in perfectly with their brand, image, and message and it looks pretty cool on stage too!

Credit: Staging Connections

  1. Grass Carpet

An interesting runway that was created based on the seating layout at this event used grass carpeting to enhance the message. By forming the seats into rows with a T-junction at the top it created a runway at floor level to bring attendees closer to the action and feel more involved. This grass carpeting can be used to bring some of the outside elements in and adds to any ‘green’- themed event.

Credit: Mishelle Coria

  1. Roundabout

This cut-out runway is particularly useful if you have a lot planned for the runway because it allows models or speakers to have a turning point and branch out to the sides to make way for each other and flank the audience on two sides. The widened catwalk also lends itself to deal with a lot of traffic and the digital screens behind can accentuate what is being said or done on stage as well.

Credit: Faisal Farooqui

  1. Curved Marble

This stunning pastel, marble runway creates beautiful effects and works with the florals and other décor nicely. The low height with a slight raising off of the floor makes the outline obvious but also low enough to accommodate the attendees that will be sitting on lounge furniture so that they can still see and appreciate everything on the catwalk.

Credit: The White Boutique – Events

  1. Brand-Activated

Incorporating signage and brand awareness into a runway can be an excellent corporate sponsorship opportunity. This runway ends with a logo-tinted catwalk and confetti in the brand’s color palette which accentuates their involvement. The runway itself also offers stairs at the T-junction on stage to allow models and staff to engage and enter into the audience as well which gets them more involved.

Credit: Catwalk Event Management

  1. Digital Screens

Integrating tech into a runway can be interesting and add something extra to the experience for attendees. These screens “blow up” models as they walk past, projecting them on the screens for attendees to get a closer look. This is a great idea for larger crowds or tiered seating as it allows everyone to see products up close and also looks more intricate than it really is.

  1. Boardwalk

This beautiful, elongated runway is found inside the Grand Palais for this year’s Paris Fashion Week and uses the natural waterfalls as features for this winding catwalk. Appealing to a large amount of attendees and using the venue to its fullest in this way creates an amazing experience as each model works their way around the runway.

Credit: art8amby

  1. Pool Party

Forget sitting poolside and get immersive by creating a custom runway fixed over water. This staging set up with a pool background provides a unique setting and an element of excitement as well (one wrong move and someone is getting wet.) For attendees, this staging isn’t entirely visible from the seats and therefore gives the illusion that the models are walking on water.

Credit: Red Carpet Connections

  1. Big Props

If you are looking for ways for your runway to stand out, using oversized props can attract attention and act as décor pieces. Some choose to incorporate the props at intervals for speakers, singers, or models to interact with while others, as in this example, showcase them at the top of the catwalk and use them as backdrops for photos and walkers. This would be an excellent branding or sponsorship opportunity or you could use marquee letters as big props spelling out your event name to incorporate it into the photos.

Credit: New York Model Management

  1. Outdoor Marble

Using stunning, existing features of your venue can be a cost-effective way to create a runway and get as much for your money as possible. This example at Paris Fashion Week shows a poolside runway made by rearranging the seating with the pool limiting one side, the attendees on the other side, and the marble-cracked flooring creating stunning effects that complement the show.

Credit: Nick Soland

  1. Lighting Rig

If you can’t hang lights from the ceiling or rigging at your venue, you don’t have to give up on your idea of the perfect catwalk. Instead, your AV company can create a lighting rig structure using truss that can complement the stage and enhance your lighting needs.

Credit: JW Marriott Medan

  1. Asymmetric

This is a unique runway that utilizes upward space if you are lacking venue space and want to make the most of seating capacity. Having models walk at multi-levels can showcase more than one design or product at a time while also allowing a long run to really appreciate them properly.

  1. Black Mirror

This stunning runway is a black mirror effect which creates a shimmer that looks like darkened reflections of those walking on it. It can accompany an array of different color palettes and schemes while looking classy and elegant. A black catwalk can also create illusions that it is longer, especially when accompanied by draping and a door entrance which means you can appear as though your venue is larger than it is! Useful if you are sticking to a budget.

  1. U Bend

This unique layout utilizes a lot of seating space and creates a unique experience by having attendees in the centre of the runway as well as the sides. Having an entrance and exit means that the movement can be free flowing and uninterrupted while attendees can view the event from different vantage points, giving them all a diverse perspective.

Credit: High Performance Designs

In Conclusion

Runways, catwalks, and extended staging can be an asset to your event, letting speakers, performers and models get up close and personal with your audience. Hopefully this will also have given you sponsorship ideas and ways to involve your brand into your event stage set. Runways shouldn’t just be limited to fashion shows, they can be a viable option for all types of events.