2020 | Estonian Design CentreLive EventsPublic Events

EDA 2020 onlive gala

How to produce an event in the middle of a global crisis?

Photos: Aron Urb

Like most things this year, Estonian Design awards 2020 were held a bit differently than the last time. Firstly, the whole competition had decided to pivot and concentrate on designs that create real value to its users. In order to stay in sync with the new direction, we designed a gala format that focused on not just people receiving awards through online webinar, but gave meaning to these awards through comments, interviews and insightful speeches.

Did you know, that an onlive gala has a 0% chance of spreading COVID-19?

The whole concept was based on the goal of taking onlive events to another level. So we set up shop in Proto Onlive Studio and replaced the traditional host with a big head on the screen. Then we named her EDA. (Oh look, the initials of Estonian Design Awards!)

Psst! It was actually a well know actor Liisa Pulk, who spoke directly into an iPad. To pull that off, we designed a whole new Memoji, then we used Apple’s face tracking technology to create a lifelike AI host.

We filled the studio with EDA jury members and Lexsoul Dancemachine. The jury was tasked to comment on the works that were awarded. The band was tasked to bring happiness to the viewers. 

The whole thing was broadcasted on Facebook, Youtube and Elisa Live platform. In addition, we created a video bridge with each winner minutes before the announcement. We admit, there were a lot of plates in the air, but thanks to a well thought out production and a solid team everything went just as it needed to go.

Psst! During the event our head producer Lauri was actually 238 km away from the studio watching the event go live at his friend’s wedding. Don’t panic, this is the new normality – producing events also digitally! Everything was supported by our dear partner RGB in the studio.

This experience taught us to trust our partners even moreso, made us wonder… If that level of onlive events are achievable today, what will the future hold? How can we increase the level of engagement in online events and how can we change people’s habit of simply keeping an eye on the event to actually taking part in it.

‘‘This year everything is different. We are still in the midst of COVID-19 crisis. A lot of things are changing around us and there is still much doubt in the air. But we can be certain in one thing. Our need for creative solutions will make design more valuable than ever before.“

Tiia Vihand – Leader of Estonian Design Centre


  • Lauri Sokk Head producer


  • Hando Jaksi (RGB) Technical producer
  • Tanel Jonas Creative lead
  • Liisa Pulk Hostess
  • Elena Kirt (Estonian Design Centre) Project manager