Tonys 2019: Behind the Scenes With Legendary Event Designer Raúl Àvila

people dressed in black attaching rainbow roses to a green wall

On a night as star-studded and revered as the Tony Awards, any event designer would be hard-pressed to create an atmosphere as award-worthy as the plays being celebrated. But Raúl Àvila is not just any event designer. Àvila, who counts A-list event planner Robert Isabell among his mentors, designed this year’s Tony Awards red carpet with a theme that feels “particularly profound” to him. “The theme of this year’s carpet is inspired by the anniversary and celebration of World Pride,” he tells Architectural Digest. “I’m so proud to showcase the flag in the way that it deserves. What a beautiful testament to how far we’ve come.”

For this year’s carpet, Àvila stuck with roses, some of which he dyed or spray painted to compliment the theme (all roses, as has been the case in years past, were generously donated by Passion Roses. The Colombia-born designer and his team spent “months and months” planning the elaborate red carpet decor to ensure “the most seamless transformation” possible. “There are so many people involved with the process and many voices to be heard, but ultimately we always find consistency in the decision,” he says. In terms of inspiration, Àvila says he didn’t need to look any further than the Broadway community itself, which has always been “such a representative community.”

three bouquets of yellow roses
This year’s pride theme called for a rainbow of roses.

Courtesy of Raúl Avila Inc.

gray shelves stacked with boxes orange buckets on the floor in front of them
Supplies for the big night.

Courtesy of Raúl Avila Inc.

a pair of hands wearing gloves holding a bouquet of roses
Arranging roses for the display.

Courtesy of Raúl Avila Inc.

“We draw inspiration from everywhere, but focus, of course, on the broadway community in all its splendor,” he says. “Whether it’s the shows themselves, the music, the artists, or the performers, Broadway is an endless source of inspiration.” In previous years, Àvila has showcased bursts of pink and red-hued roses, an arresting all-red rose wall, and even a lush, all-green red carpet backdrop, all of which spoke to some facet of the dynamic world of theater. “I wanted the red carpet to evoke the style and elegance of the theater,” he told Vogue in 2016 of the all-red rose wall. “I chose roses in a striking red to cover the length of the step and repeat. It’s the ideal backdrop for arrivals to capture the glamour of the evening.” That year, Àvila and his team of 50 crew members needed 20 hours to assemble the 100,000 red roses; this year’s colorful homage to the LGBTQ community will undoubtedly require even more time and effort. But, Àvila says, it’s always worth it witnessing his vision come to life. “Seeing everything come together in the end, when I can finally take a breath and say ‘We did this,’ is always my proudest moment,” he says. “[Then] I celebrate with everyone. It’s the Tonys!”

[“source=architecturaldigest”]