Display Group partners with Fairway Productions to form AVL Creative! AVL CREATIVE FORMED BY DISPLAY GROUP AND FAIRWAY PRODUCTIONS

DETROIT.  April  10, 2018—Audio Visual Lighting (AVL) Creative has been formed by Rick Portwood and Michael McConnell to fill a void in the meeting industry for all-inclusive event support.   Portwood is president of Detroit’s Display Group and McConnell is owner of Fairway Productions of St. Clair Shores.

With the joint venture, Fairway Productions will close and all the staff will now be part of the new AVL Creative.  The new company will be housed with Display Group in Detroit’s historic Packard Building #22.

Display Group will continue as an event and display company but now it can also offer the audiovisual production services of AVL Creative to its clients looking for audio, video and  lighting support as part of their meeting mix.

Fairway Productions was founded in 2005 and employs five people that will now be part of AVL Creative.  Display Group has 50 staff members.

“Display Group has relied on Fairway Productions to execute all of our client’s audio, video and lighting needs for many years,” said Portwood.   “Forming AVL Creative allows us to offer a seamless event experience to our clients.  Having that expertise in house allows our sales team even more flexibility to produce great events.”

“AVL’s specialty is quality audio, video and lighting services,” said McConnell.  “In recent years, our team has been called upon to do more complex shows and events.  The marriage of our creative skills with Display Group’s vast rental inventory and custom capabilities is a very rewarding prospect for all of our clients.”

“We’re also excited to use our DG-3D foam milling technology, which will allow us to create any type of shape or surface, and then utilize AVL’s projection mapping to make it come alive,” added Portwood.

As part of the growth plan, Display Group recently bought all of the wedding décor and lighting inventory from Colonial Party and Event Rental of Troy, which closed in 2017.  This acquisition will be a key component of AVL’s growth moving forward.

About AVL Creative

AVL Creative can customize, design, and transform a space with audio, visual and lighting effects that provide leading edge technology for the event industry. With a service based approach AVL works diligently to provide a turn key approach for live events and promotions.  The experienced event production staff, and top of the line rental equipment ensures that your event will be truly one of a kind.  The new firm’s website is avl-c.com.

About Display Group

Established in 1991 by Rick Portwood, Display Group has become a valuable and reliable resource to the special events industry as well as marketing and communication companies. With a heritage stretching back to the 1920’s with his family’s company, Display Creations, Rick put his own vision to work by assembling a select team of professionals capable of providing innovative yet practical solutions to design and display challenges.

Now, as an industry leader in the event and display industry, Display Group offers an array of rental inventory, plus in-house graphic design and production, custom display and fixtures, 3-D design and production, portable and modular trade show properties and kiosks.   The company’s website is displaygroup.com.

This past month were the 90th annual Academy Awards, and while the stage set was stunning, a lot of people tune in for the fashion. People often forget the parallels between art forms; a poem or song that inspires a painting, or a story that weaves itself into a fashion designers new line. Drawing inspiration from different mediums is essential to the creative process so we’ve broken down three color stories from this year’s Oscars and translated them into various spaces and design elements. Embellished dresses adorned in silvers and golds made an appearance on the red carpet. It’s iridescence and variations of structure play into a lot of trending design pieces. The use of silks next to velvets create that sense of warmth while the use of mixed metals add interest and that added layer of texture creating a cohesive ‘glam’ look and feel

Bold Beauties

Bold colors make their way onto the red carpet every year, and it never goes out of style. Striking and vibrant they call attention and make for a powerful statement. Using saturated tone on tone colors breathe life into spaces, while layering the different hues within that color story add depth. In a lot of spaces, this is extremely effective in lighting in tandem with the right material and architecture.

Soft + Sweeping

While there is currently a trend in ‘millennial pink’ this softer palette feels ethereal and airy which can easily translate into textiles and architectural elements. The minimalism in these tones lend itself to being easily manipulated through embellishments and structure. They’re soft and inviting yet hold onto that child like whimsy that is often associated with pastels. There’s beauty in it’s subtleness and can be elevated through the use of material and light.

1. Finn Table | 2. Ellis Occasional Chair | 3. Boulder Coffee Table | 4. Fritz Table | 5. Delhi Pearl Loveseat | 6. Gold Gate | 7. Glisten Area Rug | 8. Fairytale Forest Backdrop | 9. Civic Bench | 10. Haight Ashbury Table | 11. Rustic Wood Elio Chair | 12. Metal Basket Lantern | 13. Pierced Teardrop Lantern | 14. Titus Cocktail Table |15. Twin Peaks Stool | 16. Rivet Lantern | 17. Moroccan hanging star |18. Boxwood Wall | 19. Colette Chandelier | 20. Kolkata Frame | 21. White Silhouette | 22. Yellow Chaise Lounge | 23. Dancefloor Black + While Tiles | 24. Assorted Pillows[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Design Director Cheryl Behnke and Designer Jamie Pecina create this months event inspiration board, ‘Secret Garden’ mixed with Fairy Tale components.

“Fairy tales are rich visual narratives that inspire the imagination both consciously and unconsciously.  Magical, fantastical scenes and settings like whimsical secret gardens and Alice’s Wonderland inspire spellbinding and playful décor that pulls the guests out of their everyday surroundings and push the bounds of reality” says Behnke.

“The enchanting, sweeping florals against lush green backdrops, accented with pattern and pops of color, and encounters with over scaled mushrooms and butterflies create an experience found only when immersed in the characters and narratives in a storybook.”

Cheryl and Jamie keep the Secret Garden feel throughout the event by mixing greenery, wood and metal inventory pieces and pops of color. For a unique event component, our Kolkata frame is used horizontally and with the boxwood wall.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Display Group provided décor elements for the Sangeet and Reception.

Sangeet: Neepa selected a neutral color palate and greenery for the Sangeet décor. Display Group created a custom ceiling installation above the dance floor with various types of greenery and the brides gorgeous lanterns. The greenery we used was a variation of boxwood, leaf vine, maidenhair fern and bamboo garlands. The Sangeet isn’t complete without an extravagant backdrop. The backdrop we used featured our boxwood wall ornamented with white lanterns to complete the bride’s vision.

Reception: Neepa’s chic design for the reception was very clean and modern. Display Group created a custom layered backdrop for Neepa + Vishnu’s reception. The backdrop featured measures 16’ x 30’ utilizing curved crossbeams, crystal beaded curtains, and mirrored garlands. We covered the stage with a fabric treatment, sophisticated furniture, acrylic pillars and LED Candles. Our in house designers fabricated the beautiful round steps which completed this look.

1. Napoleon Bar Stool | 2. Boxwood Cocktail Table | 3. Baroque Bar | 4. Ethan Sofa | 5. Fritz Occasional Tables | 6. Goodman Chair | 7. Blanche Area Rug | 8. Cognac Regency Ottoman | 9. Gold Faceted Urn | 10. Hollywood Banquette | 11. Anastasia Chandelier | 12. Essex Bar Back | 13. Live Edge Table | 14-17. Assorted Linens | 18. Art Deco Palm Backdrop | 19. Award Statues

February is thought of as the month of love and our designers love Hollywood glam! Pulling inspiration from famous screen sirens such as Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, and Natalie Wood, Design Director Cheryl Behnke and Designer Jamie Pecina created this month’s inspiration board.

“The screen sirens from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s represent a bygone era of glamour, sophistication and sensuality behind the Hollywood smokescreen.  Their legendary beauty and charisma live on, and continue to inspire fashion and interior design today.  Hollywood Regency style dates back to the 1930’s when Hollywood was in its “Golden Age” and producers wanted to complement the larger-than-life stars on the silver screen, so they designed their sets with opulence in mind.

Emphasizing glamour, Hollywood Regency style furniture tends to have rich textures, contrasting colors, and luscious curves. The design details are sumptuous and luxurious, executed with a mix of bold statement pieces and delicate accents, Hollywood Regency balances lavish fabrics and finishes with traditional architectural elements,” says Behnke.

The blush tones, golds and emeralds that were featured in interiors during the glamorous period are reflected in the linen selections, custom vases and bar, and our new emerald green Ethan sofa and boxwood cocktail tables. Made in-house, our mirrored baroque bar, salmon banquette and gold faceted urns are the perfect accent pieces to glamorize your event.

We love boxwood. Custom boxwood walls, boxwood bars, boxwood tables and more! Our designers know a great way  to bring the greenery trend to your event – boxwood! Made in-house and customizable, our new pieces are versatile and provide so many different ways to use our boxwood rental items.

Golden Globes 2018 – boxwood and greenery provided the background for photos and enclosed the red carpet for guests. Actress Mandy Moore is photographed here walking the red carpet, at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards, framed by the greenery backdrop. Boxwood is a perfect texture and color for photo backdrops – try it out for your next step and repeat!



Photo credit: Getty / Frazer Harrison

Our designers created this boxwood bar back with white florals along the top and our custom signage for a romantic backdrop. Bringing out the middle panel, hitting the greenery with soft lights, and framing the center with bulb chandeliers gives the backdrop the perfect amount of drama and dimension.

Pictured above are two examples of our new boxwood pieces in use. A boxwood wall serves as the backdrop to the evening’s Sangeet dances, while the hedges frame the entry into the ballroom, tying the greenery theme throughout the space.

Photo Op/Step and Repeat

We’re inspired by the use of fresh florals along the top of this single panel boxwood wall and angled uplighting. Our boxwood panels are 10’ tall and would be a stunning set up for your photo booth or step and repeat. Add your company or non-profit’s logo to create a memorable compilation of guest photos.

Photo credit (left to right):
Colonial House of Flowers | Phillipa Tarrant Floral Design | Rothweiler Event Design

The Espy Awards Week used acrylic signage on green walls for a custom outdoor lounge, taking the space from mere function to a classy setting that begs to be photographed.

Photo credit: @paigejonesphoto

Custom cut letters adorn this boxwood hedge, seen here used as a bar front for a North Carolina set wedding. Let Display Group bring this to life with your logo, wedding monogram, or simply help label the space with “bar” or “seating chart”.

Photo credit: Sara Coffin Photography

This modern wedding monogram brings this already stylish ceremony backdrop to a whole new level. Let this impressive sight be the first thing your guests see as they take their seats and be a statement that sets the tone for the entire event.

Photo credit: Mango Studios

Another option for incorporating the greenery into the bar is to use the walls as a bar back. Fabricated in house, custom touches can be added to the blank canvas. We love the intimate finish of the interior design inspired functionality of shelves or atmosphere of mirrors and frames.

Photo credit: Scott Clark Photography

One of our favorite functions of the boxwood wall is for unique seating charts. With walls so large and open, there are endless possibilities! Examples include this paint on mirror display and individually hung escort cards.

Photo credit: Dane Cubbage Weddings | Mike Cassimattis Photography 

Display Group can help you bring your theme, event or wedding together with these beautiful (and trendy!) boxwood pieces. Themes like Havana Nights or Parisian Bistro lend themselves to using boxwood pieces throughout the venue. Pair any of our boxwood pieces with metals for an industrial chic look or softened with flowers for a distinct garden feel.

Contact us today for your next event rental and let Display Group stylize your space!

New to Display Group

In order to properly kickoff any South Asian wedding celebration, a beautiful and festive Sangeet must be had! Known as a celebration for the wedding to come, the Sangeet is hosted for guests to enjoy the happiness and love surrounding the couple. Typically held in a ballroom or banquet hall, bright and bold colors set the tone for the event. Lavish décor, lighting and traditional accent pieces are featured, along with food, cocktails and lots of dancing!

What to expect: sparkles, rockin’ music and fun!

Families hosting the Sangeet want to provide the experience of a lifetime while honoring the happy couple. During cocktail hour, guests can have henna applied to their hands while indulging in appetizers and drinks while socializing with family and friends. Guests are encouraged to wear their finest (sparkles and embellishment is encouraged!) outfits, lehenga or saris. Music is a huge part of the Sangeet, so except to dance to live bands, Punjabi DJ or even the couples’ cousins singing and dancing performances.

Display Group has a selection of beautiful South Asian décor that can be featured at the Sangeet. Our in-house event production services provide any type of lighting, from elegant chandeliers, colored LED lights to accent Edison string lights. Want guests to have the best experience enjoying the Sangeets music? Our LED dance floors can be customized to any color, pattern or even set to the beat of the band! Interested in really taking the ceremony to the next level? Mangalore arches, traditional ceremonial furniture from our rental party furniture team, Ganesh statues, crystal garlands, elaborate backdrop, or a variety of ceiling swag can bring your event together!

South Asian Decor

Display Group and the GTB Agency worked together to produce a custom Breast Cancer Awareness installation for Ford’s Warriors in Pink. The three-dimensional display was created using more than 2,000 origami cranes in multiple shades of pink to be showcased in the FordHub storefront in NYC.

Ford’s Warriors in Pink multi-level installation is cutting edge in design and creativity. The display is part of an interactive exhibit that allows visitors to create their own origami cranes to “fill with well wishes” and raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer. A temporary greeting card wall was built to cover an existing permanent display. The three walls were built to seamlessly integrate with the space. Custom acrylic rails were built to hold an assortment of postcards designed specifically for the warriors in pink campaign.

Applying inventive design techniques, the Display Group design team produced this specialty piece in-house. Suspended from metal cable, the crane exhibit was shipped to NYC and assembled by the Display Group installation team onsite.


Display Group is proud to announce our involvement in the grand opening of QLine Detroit on Friday, May 12, by providing 3D letters for display on Woodward Ave. With the idea that visitors will pose for pictures with the display, the largest letter is four and a half feet tall.

Designers used steel armatures for the framework of the letters to ensure stability and durability. Hard coated foam letters were added to the armature for the desired look. The letters were then secured a hard coated and painted plywood platform.

Nationally and locally known, famed broadcaster Ernie Harwell was a key figure for the Detroit Tiger’s during 42 of his 55 seasons announcing for Major League Baseball games. Harwell was recognized for his achievements by multiple national associations, the Baseball Hall of Fame and the National Radio Hall of Fame. Honored locally, Harwell received recognition from the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, Comerica Park, the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

In 2013, Wayne State University announced its plans for creation of the Harwell Field facility which would be on campus and eventually become the official home of Wayne State’s baseball team. Rob Fournier, Director of Athletics at Wayne State, joined Harwell’s lifelong friend and attorney S. Gary Spicer Sr. in planning and raising funds for the memorial highlighting Harwell’s accomplishments and career with the Detroit Tiger’s.

Display Group’s designer Gary Rizzo and Vice President John Lamb were approached by Fournier and Spicer to design the interior of the Harwell Field facility in January 2017. Combining innovative design, 3D effects and interactive displays, Rizzo and Lamb’s design included monitors playing highlights of Harwell’s career, display areas including replica ticket windows and a “pin-wheel” that highlights great baseball calls by MLB broadcasters.

The processes utilized by Display Group’s designers includes dye sublimation printing, mounting SEG touchscreen TV displays, custom building 3D foam displays and interactive iPad stands. In-house dye sub printing ensures that Mr. Harwell commemorative display is highlighted with high quality, durable printing of photos, verbiage and memories. The touchscreen displays lets visitors view various high points of the famed broadcaster through pictures and videos. iPad stations placed around the foyer play several notable events throughout Harwell’s career.

The grand opening for Harwell Field occurred on April 18 and was attended by friends, family and fans of Mr. Harwell. The features Display Group produced for the event and interior perfectly captures the life and career of Harwell. Display Group is proud to partner with Wayne State University to produce “a treasure for the City of Detroit”.