GPJ Australia has snagged a major win at the 2013 Melbourne Design Awards – taking out the Services Corporate award for its 2012 Melbourne Cup Emirates Birdcage Marquee.

The Irish-themed marquee, which attracted an audience of 8.8m and $43m worth of free publicity for Emirates, was selected from a field of 1000 to win the Services Corporate category as well as scoring runner-up in both the Event Experience Consumer and Marketing Branded Experience categories.

The authentic Dublin-themed marquee, (Dublin was the hero destination for Emirates in 2012), meticulously reiterated the airline’s core brand message that every experience at the pointy end of the plane must be glamorous, VIP and exclusive.

During the cup, The Birdcage took VIP guests on a spellbinding journey of The Emerald Isle. Light box windows provided stunning views of the Irish countryside; while cobbled streets, a candy buffet, a living statue of James Joyce and a live performance from Brian McFadden all amped up the visual drama.

The marquee also served as a media broadcast centre and a celebrity hotspot (Mischa Barton, Jennifer Hawkins and Ronan Keating); while teams of hair dressers, make-up artists and Emirates cabin crew anticipated guests’ every need – all in line with the Emirates first-class travel “experience”.