Creative Director - Designer - Producer
In 2018, as part of the expansion of MODE Studios as a hybrid experience agency, the company's principals Bob and Colleen Bonniol welcomed Butch Allen as the company's creative director, designer and producer. Widely known as one of the world's leading concert production designers, Butch's work as creative director for the "Happy Place" pop-up experience - which started grabbing headlines in LA entertainment guides in late 2017 - represents a thrilling new genre of selfie-inspiring destination installation.
In the words of MODE's Bob Bonniol, a frequent creative collaborator for many years, Butch is a sure-fire bet when it comes to creating mind-blowing immersive experiences that guarantee visceral and emotional moments through sparkle, kineticism and an outsider vector. Winner of the 2017 Parnelli Award for Lighting Designer of The Year for his smashing scenic design for Paramore, further validation of Butch's unmatched wizardry appears in his creations for brands like Chevrolet, for eSports events for Activision/Blizzard, for broadcast spectacles like America's Got Talent and Dancing with The Stars. The bands he's designed for? Christina Aguilera, Black Sabbath, Eric Church, Kelly Clarkson, The Eagles, Garbage, Hole, Jennifer Lopez and Mark Anthony, Ricky Martin, Ozzy, Paramore, Seal, Gwen Stefani, Van Halen and Yes, to name but a few.
Clearly, when the planet's top recording artists set out to do what's never been done, they turn to Butch. As a breaker of rules and a defier of the limitations of scale, the man's productions famously incorporate breathtaking use of physical space - erasing boundaries between audiences and performers, using layer upon layer of surprise, and highly unconventional choices.
Originally from Buffalo, New York, by the time he came of age, Butch had proclaimed himself the King of Buffalo bar bands. He studied acting at Julliard - right up until being enlightened by one of his instructors. Upon hearing the words, "Light doesn't exist for the human eye, until it touches something... a person, a set, or dust in the air" in a darkened room, Butch transferred to SUNY Fredonia to study Lighting Design. Through years of touring jazz acts through nightclubs, Butch learned to make something out of almost nothing, creating new interpretations night after night. Busking visual design alongside many of the greats, his practice in creative design became tightly interwoven with music, resulting in his proven ability to create amazing impact with restraint and focus on singular, powerful design elements.
As for his big break, Butch describes it like so: "Falling in love with light and art. My whole career has been a big break!"