Karla Dascal, a woman admired for her artistic lighting, custom-designed furnishings, and floral arrangements, is not your regular party planner. She’s an event designer, and we kind of like it that way.
By Valentina Zuric/ Photography by Reynaldo Alés/ Hair & Makeup by Rocio Beckschi
Karla Dascal didn’t always dream of being an event planner; her acclaimed company is the result of a natural progression. Dascal began her business eleven years ago with an exotic flower delivery company. When she made a little bit of money, she bought a fax machine. When she made a little bit more, she purchased a printer and a computer, before eventually hiring her own staff in 1994. “I began distributing roses to Bal Harbour shops and to different restaurants and sales offices, and little by little I started doing arrangements with these roses,” says Dascal. Her sublime creativity and keen eye for innovative shapes and materials helped her build her company, step by step, into an admirable empire.
Today she is known for making first and last impressions, with her high-tech audio and visual-stimuli and her one of a kind floral arrangements. As owner of KARLA Conceptual Event Experiences, a full service conceptual design company focused on stylized events, Dascal is in charge of crafting memorable evenings from dinner parties to major productions for world-recognized brands. Her impeccable attention to detail sets her apart from the majority of event planners, as she is notorious for her skills on leaving lasting impressions with her clients and their guests.
Dascal is renowned as “the florist to the stars,” with her illumination standing as an aspect to her event technology. Growing up in South Florida, it was her unique vision that took her to Pine Manor in Boston to study architecture and design. Upon returning, she soon began delivering signature Osiana roses to numerous residences and businesses in South Florida. With an immediate demand for her remarkable arrangements, Dascal was able to recruit a talented staff and clientele before creating Roses by Karla in 1994. Dascal soon opened her own warehouse, and after less than two years, began establishing what others describe as “an atmosphere stimulating celebration.” The rest is respected by her unwavering vision.
“Early on I decided I was only going to work with the best clients, the best quality, the best materials, the best of everything,” says Dascal. She was always confident and decided not to compromise, demanding that quality and materials she used be different: “They needed to be signature,” she says. She wanted others to see her arrangements and vases, made of oak and other elements, and know they were from her shop. “With that direction and consistency, I have kept with it until this day, and that’s what sets me apart from everybody. My work is very signature; my arrangements are very architectural-the best that is available,” says Dascal.
In 2000, Dascal created RBK Productions, which has evolved into KARLA Conceptual Event Experiences. Converting what was once a warehouse next to an empty lot, Dascal opened The Space Miami, an 18,000-square-foot facility strategically situated in Miami’s Wynwood Art District. Serving as the KARLA office, floral laboratory, production facility, and signature event space, The Space Miami, transformed by Miami architect Rene Gonzalez, is an ideal locale for those seeking a serene garden and glowing venue location, with the capability of accommodating over 1,000 guests. After winning the American Institute of Architects 2006 Institute Honor Award for Interior Design for being architecturally sound, it’s no wonder that Dascal has future plans to open up a new, larger space nearby. “The Space represents me because it’s all about design, and when you walk in you get a real sense of what I do,” says Dascal.
With her concept of “less is more,” 2005 brought with it a refresh of the KARLA brand, which now offers distinguished floral creations and complete conceptual event experiences. Her events, which take anywhere from two weeks to one year from conception to execution, are all done with precision, elegance, and a style so invigorative that it seems impossible to replicate. With her commitment to originality and customer service, Dascal is able to find inspiration by watching her clients very carefully and analyzing what their style is all about. Dascal’s architectural approach has enabled her to turn events into more of a conceptual design. “I don’t do themes,” says Dascal. “I create an environment, an ambiance, an experience. And that’s the difference-it’s not about creating Disney World or a Broadway show, it’s about playing with people’s senses through food and lighting, through the atmospheres and through the entertainment.”
The majority of her work is centralized in the city of Miami, and Dascal doesn’t travel to just any party. Events out of the city must be exclusive and high-end, explains Dascal, because it’s her reputation that keeps her clients knowledgeable of her skills. Some of her past events include the opening of Turnberry’s topping off party for their Turnberry Ocean Colony-an event remembered for its very British Colonial yet cool atmosphere. Others include a wedding at the Amanyara in Turks and Caicos Islands, where Dascal was flown six months in advance to do a site inspection, and eventually created a wedding lavished with custom bars, Buddha heads, and fire-breathers. And with most of her corporate clients being luxury brands, they come to Dascal with their own vision and style of what they are trying to achieve. With her edge and sensitivity to her client’s needs, each and every one of their goals is met.
Today, Dascal sticks to her roots by offering her flower services weekly and daily for residential, business, presentation, and entertainment purposes. Her highly trained and dedicated staff members work well with the inspiration that Dascal brings in, making a huge part of her success based on their team effort. “This is not about me-this is about working as a team and it’s the only way this business works. This is why we can offer what we offer, because everybody puts everything they have in everything,” she explains.
When asking Dascal if she is proud of her accomplishments, a beautiful smile spreads elegantly upon her face. “Yes I’m proud. I love when I go out and everyone says my flowers are amazing and my parties are beautiful-people recognize my arrangements, and that’s a huge compliment,” explains Dascal. With a strong emphasis on design and conceptualizing installations for events, for different brands, and for different social clients, KARLA Conceptual Event Experiences is not a party company-“I’m not a party planner,” Dascal says, “I’m an event designer, and I’m not going to give my clients green apples when they ask for red ones.”