Convention Center Adapts Ideas from TED

Francisco Padilla
USING A VARIETY OF LOWERED CEILINGS AND SIDE BACKDROPS the Long Beach Arena converts to the Pacific Ballroom for meal functions and exhibit space.

A once dark and gloomy space, The Cove on Seaside Way is now a dazzling and illustrious 50,000 sq. ft. of space, a great improvement from what it once was.

The Cove, located near the Terrance Theater in the Long Beach Convention Center, is the latest addition in the $60 million renovation project that started in 2013. The space which fits from 4,200-5,500 people, depending on specific street closures, is perfect for pre-function receptions, concerts and it even allows for special catering set-ups.

The renovations and enhancements are intended to improve the way hosts can customize and direct their events in a more efficient and crowd friendly way.

These enhancements are integrated from techniques learned in the TED Conference, a conference that was once hosted in that very same convention center.

Steve Goodling, President and CEO of the Long Beach Convention and Visitor Bureau, was a common attendee of these conferences and he stressed how much he learned from them.

“For me it was an eye-opening experience,” said Goodling. “I got to watch how people use the space, but more importantly for me, I got to see how the organizers created the space.”

The TED Conference, which was hosted in Long Beach for four years, moved to Vancouver, Canada in 2013. This change of location marked the ending of TED calling California its home.

However, since then, the Long Beach Convention Center has undergone renovation inspired by the event and the Cove is only the latest addition. These renovations are intended to improve the interactions and productivity of guests.

“People are used to walking into a place and having communal seating or individual seating,” said Goodling. “But, as a convention center and operators of this building we weren’t keeping pace with the new desire of connecting.”

These renovations included the Long Beach arena’s transformation into the Pacific ballroom.

The new and improved ballroom which debuted in late 2013 has an innovative curtain and suspension system that can move the walls and roof of the room. This type of flexibility allows for the 45,000 sq. ft. arena to be adjusted to the perfect height for any event.

According to the website, the ballroom is composed of “tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of customizable lighting systems, mood-enhancing design elements, stylish furniture, smart sound capabilities and other amenities available.”

Another renovation in the Convention Center is the Rainbow Bridge that opened in December of 2017.

The Rainbow Bridge is a 605-foot elevated bridge that runs from east to west and provides an efficient shortcut from the northside entrance of the Convention Center to the Theatre Plaza.

“Our team looked at a lot of designs, but when we saw the proposal from SPF: architects, we knew we had a winner,” said Goodling. “The Rainbow Bridge is more than a walkway-it is a functional piece of art.”

The state-of-the-art arched walkway, is illuminated with over 3,000 LED lights which make it a sight to see on any given night.

Nonetheless, the vast improvements and renovations of the Long Beach Convention Center will continue to make it a popular designation for organizations and committees to host their events.


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