First EcoChi Certified Event is Granted to West Village Wedding Reception at Historical Industria NYC Venue


The desire to create memorable experiences is valued now more than ever. Changing trends and shifting values for specific demographics, such as millennials, show an increased emphasis placed on experiences and making memories, rather than material items. This is especially true for weddings, where not only do you want guests to share in and remember the special day forever, but you also want it to be personal and unique to the couple being celebrated.  This personalized magic was certainly created on May 12, 2018 for Karen and Jay Lucas, a Manhattan couple whose wedding guests were the first to experience an event certified in “purposeful, sustainable design” as well as “experience design”.

EcoChi 180° Certification is the only experience-focused, sustainable interior design certification and customizes each event to enhance the energy desired by those hosting. The name EcoChi was created with the following in mind: Eco or “eco-friendly” and Chi or “vital flow of energy.” The EcoChi interior design system combines sustainable practices, wellness studies and spiritual design philosophies attained from various ancient cultures. It has been globally recognized as a groundbreaking wellness design standard.

Originally applied to permanent spaces and projects, EcoChi is now finding its unique design approach is being embraced by the event industry and can be used to enhance the experience of temporary spaces. “This is the first time this has been done for a wedding celebration,” says Debra Duneier, EcoChi President and Founder.

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“EcoChi Purposeful Design promotes wellness & positive feelings. Happy guests will remember your event for years to come.”

EcoChi focuses on the human experience of spaces. Event planners are already familiar with EcoChi (although they may not recognize it by name) because they are in the business of creating an experience. The event industry now has a disrupter, a new generation of attendees that have a new set of core values. Among the things they care deeply about are sustainability, social responsibility, wellness and authentic experiences. They want their events to align with their values, and EcoChi’s design process offers an effective way to ensure that this is done successfully and authentically.

Meeting with Karen and Jay, Debra Duneier recalls, it was clear that their event would be spectacular. They were already developing a professional team of wedding industry experts, discussing venue, number of guests, and an organic food menu by industry experts MR Hospitality and Blackbarn. The only question that remained was, “Would this wedding be ‘them’?” What was going to differentiate this wedding from others and best support this couple’s energy?

This idea is interesting, not to mention, new. Have you ever considered a wedding’s personal energy?

Think of your wedding in terms of being part of someone’s life memories. The way a wedding is designed can initiate a series of enjoyable experiences and unforgettable memories, not only for a wedding couple, but for the guests as well. Environmental Psychology teaches us that each color, shape, texture as well as accessories and art can evoke a certain emotion or feeling for an individual.

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A Marriage of Two Energies

What are the existing energies of the space? What feeling would you like for the room to deliver during the event? For Karen and Jay, their venue of choice was a historic event space in the West Village of Manhattan- Industria NYC. A former 1920s auto shop, Industria quickly became the ‘it’ place to be for the top creative talent in Manhattan as it was transformed into a photography studio attracting the top international photographers at the nexus of Italian fashion. In 2016, the original West Village site also underwent a renovation to support large events and remain a key location for creative talent and activities in New York’s cutting-edge culture, fashion and arts industry. Past events held at this location include: The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism (2016), Madonna’s “Sex” Book Party (2017), and the Black Panther Movie Premiere (2018). For this couple, who wanted to bring to their (many out-of-town) guests a unique “New York” experience, this type of quirky, rich history provided the perfect canvas for their wedding reception.


Using the art of Feng Shui, EcoChi performed an on-site Energy Reading to determine the energies that exist in various areas (compass directions) of the space. When performing an Energy Analysis, the information from the reading is studied and it is then determined which elements are essential to either remedy or enhance the experience of the space. A space can be broken down into segments of Feng Shui’s five elements—fire, earth, metal, water, wood. The Energy Reading revealed the primary elements of the space to be “Earth” and “Water”. Personal Energy Readings for both Karen and Jay individually revealed Karen’s personal element to be “Earth” and Jay’s personal element to be “Water”. It became very clear that this event was about the blending and balance of these individual energies that each person would bring to the marriage and celebration!

Primary Elements for Karen & Jay’s West Village Wedding:

  • “EARTH” Element - Earth energy is balanced centered and grounding. It is represented by the color yellow and the shape of a square.

    • “EARTH” Wedding Design Elements for Karen & Jay include: Silk dinner napkins folded into a square shape. Square printed dinner menus (printed paper products and graphic design by Uber Inc. Creative Services). Warm yellow ambient up lighting around the perimeter of the ballroom. Select dining table linens featured a natural, organic earth pattern.

  • “WATER” Element – Water energy portrays a depth of emotion and introspection, inner self, relaxation and flexibility. It is represented by the colors dark blue, or black and an irregular wave pattern or shape.

    • “WATER” Wedding Design Elements for Karen & Jay include: Various table shapes (rounds and squares) arranged in an interwoven pattern. Black accents including silk dinner napkins and accent table linens. Ambient light fixtures hung at varying heights throughout the ballroom. Select dining table linens featured a subtle wave pattern.

Secondary Elements for Karen & Jay’s West Village Wedding:

  • “METAL” Element - Metal is the element of reflection, inner peace, quiet and calmness. It is represented by the colors grey, white, or light pastels. The circle shape represents Metal energy.

    • “METAL” Wedding Design Accents for Karen & Jay include: White & champagne color palette. Round Dining Chair back. Round, orb-like, ambient light fixtures. White and pastel flowers. Metallic gold formal place setting trim and decor.

  • “FIRE” Element - Fire energy symbolizes purification and regeneration. It is represented by the colors red, vibrant yellow, orange, purple, or pink. The triangle shape represents Fire energy.

    • “FIRE” Wedding Design Accents for Karen & Jay include: Candlelight at each dining table. Three large chandeliers for the ballroom. Select dining table linens featured a “champagne arrowhead” design. Ambient lighting design.

  • “WOOD” Element - Wood energy represent rebirth and renewal. It is a rising energy and is represented by the color green and a rectangular shape.

    • “WOOD” Wedding Design Accents for Karen & Jay include: Live greenery included in centerpiece floral arrangements, green magnolia leaf escort cards. Rectangular, cascading light curtains around the entire ballroom.

Art Gallery design conceptualized by ecochi. - Installation by griffin & griffin lighting, printing by LTS design services, finishing by ghost tailor

EcoChi Certification 180° Seal Guidelines

Five element design is one of three core principles used to fulfill EcoChi Certifcation guidelines. Criteria must also be met in the areas of green & sustainable practices and experience design. The floral design for the wedding used only seasonal flowers that were locally grown (within 500mi). All perishable food leftovers from the all organic dinner menu were donated to City Harvest. Lighting design was a major feature for this wedding including LED ambient lighting, three grand ballroom chandeliers, and a live green wall all done by Griffin & Griffin Event Design Illuminated. Technical stage lighting throughout the evening was provided by Luminescence Production Services: Lumievents. The overall lighting concept was to create a “heaven” energy for the reception space, the top tier of the san cai concept for the venue. The san cai, or Chinese three powers, of the universe are Heaven (Tian), Human (Ren) and Earth (Di).

While the “Heaven” energy was reserved for the top level of the venue where the reception took place, the “Human Experience” component was created in the form of a large-scale art gallery of the wedding couple and their family. The unique ramp at Industria was transformed into a gallery space where guests could view photographs of special moments as they walk up the carpet into the celebration space. The art gallery was conceptualized by EcoChi and installed by Griffin & Griffin Event Design Illuminated, with textile printing by LTS Design Services and seaming by Ghost Tailor in NYC.

To see the full list of EcoChi’s 18 Certification Guidelines for Karen & Jay’s Manhattan Wedding click here.

Did EcoChi’s five element wedding design approach succeed in creating an experience unique to Karen & Jay?

A note from the happy couple reads, “What an incredible event!!! You exceeded even our highest expectations!!! We are so very deeply appreciative. The venue was ‘breath taking.’ We are so very blessed to have had the opportunity to work with you on this – our most special occasion.”

-Proof that life is lived—and events are experienced—the way they are designed. EcoChi purposeful design promotes wellness and positive feelings so that happy guests will remember your event for years to come!