Concept Development, Art Direction, User Experience, Design Systems, Signage + Wayfinding, Environment Design, Event Design

Q: How can YouTube elevate its tradition of awesome “open” beach experiences at Cannes, yet still enable personal engagements with an exclusive audience?

A: Create an inclusive beach club capable of hosting exclusive moments.



YouTube, partnering with SET Live, had built a six year tradition of activating the beach at Cannes with amazing experiences, open for everyone. Over the years the experience became among the most popular, and most imitated, on the beach. Our client wanted to continue its tradition of providing an open-for-everyone venue, but also find ways to create higher quality interactions with key visitors. We knew it was time to re-imagine what we could achieve in terms of the quality and variety of the experience, and in terms of measurable effect for our client.


We set out to do two things: improve on the already great inclusive Cannes beach experience and provide new opportunities for exclusive experiences and spaces for the 10% of our visitors who are major decision makers and clients. As an experience for YouTube, we know that first and foremost we needed to highlight great video content and emerging technologies; and that we had to present them in a way that was fun, felt natural and allowed the kind of programming flexibility our concept demanded. For architectural and experience inspiration, we looked to classic Mediterranean beach clubs. 


We created a beach club of our own: single-story buildings with stained, rough sawn planks and hand painted graphics, connected to one another by painted plank decking, a real-world red “play bar”. The play bar formed a navigation device and a physical path around the space, jumping overhead, diving under the sand, framing the stage and even turning into a hammock. Each building housed unique YouTube experiences which could be more or less inclusive depending on the need.  Guests could relax at the beach or attend lightning talks, football screenings, ‘sunset social’ gigs or one of 2,000 tech demos. A “Subsea Selfie” invited them to swim out to a 360º camera to create unique shareable content. For 1,000+ VIPs there were private nights with performances by YouTube stars, exclusive food and more. In the end we saw a 17% increase in visitors from the previous year.