Increase in UK-based filming for big productions at One Great George Street

Historic Westminster venue One Great George Street witnessed a marked increase in filming bookings in 2015 with location managers for the BBC TV series The Night Manager, the film War Machine starring Brad Pitt and Wonder Woman all choosing to use the venue.

Shedding some light on this trend, Charles Somers of Charles Somers Locations, the Location Manager for Wonder Woman, said: “The UK tax incentive, combined with easy access to top rate crews and facilities, in conjunction with favourable exchange rates, make it highly likely that the trend for major US features to film in the UK will continue throughout 2016 and beyond.”

Mr Somers noted that there were many unique aspects to the venue that set it apart from other filming locations. He said: “The quality of the architecture combined with the proportions of the rooms gives One Great George Street the unique position of being one of the best locations in London for the type of scene we were filming.”

He added: “The building works on so many levels, not just from a creative point of view but also from a logistical standpoint. We were able to accommodate all the other departments inside the location, such as background artists costume, make-up and wardrobe, as well as the crew and crowd dining areas, which helps make the day run very smoothly for the location department.”

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New light festival Lumiere London to illuminate capital’s landmarks

See some of the best landmarks and attractions in Westminster lit up in spectacular fashion next week, as the capital illuminates for Lumiere London, a new and free light festival. From 14-17 January 2016, Lumiere London brings together some of the world’s most exciting artists working with light. Expect large-scale video-mapped projections, interactive pieces and jaw-dropping installations, transforming many of the capital’s most iconic streets and buildings in the West End and King’s Cross.

Lumiere London Elephantastic

Amongst sights to see is Elephantastic by Catherine Garret and Top’là Design. Emerging stomping from a cloud of dust, an enormous elephant makes his slow, and heavy journey through the archways of Air Street. This extraordinary animated projection brings the sounds of the jungle to Central London as he trumpets his way through the Regent Street area.

Lumiere London BAFTA

At BAFTA 195 Piccadilly, experience an exploration of different genres of cinema and television using images from BAFTA’s archive. The visuals hark back to the origins of 195 Piccadilly as the home of the Royal Society of Watercolour Painters. The animation, by motion design experts NOVAK, is accompanied by a striking soundtrack, created by Ed Carter and inspired by the classic sounds that helped define these genres of film and television.

Lumiere London neon dogs

In the heart of ‘Theatreland’, Neon Dogs by Deepa Mann-Kler brings together 12 neon dogs inspired by balloon dogs at children’s parties. Grouped together near Trafalgar Square, these colourful canines, complete with bones, leads and dog mess, bring out the big kid inside all of us. Deepa Mann-Kler first produced this installation for Lumiere Derry~Londonderry in 2013, and has a growing interest in working with neon.

Lumiere London lightbenches

Nestled amongst Mayfair’s world famous Michelin-starred restaurants, including Le Gavroche, Kai, Hélène Darroze at The Connaught and Fera at Claridge’s, is Lightbenches by Bernd Spiecker for LBO LichtBankObjekte. Illuminating the park benches of Grosvenor Square, this is street furniture with a difference, a unique resting point that transforms the concept of public seating. Lit by hundreds of LEDs, the Lightbench allows you to take the weight off your feet and strike up a conversation with a stranger.

Bernd Spiecker’s first bench was made in 1982 using acrylic material. He has since developed the idea of Lightbenches, seeing them as symbols of recreation. He plans to build 100 across the world in the hope that they will bring people together in conversation.

The four-day Lumiere London light festival runs from 14-17 January across Piccadilly, Regent Street and St James’s, Trafalgar Square and Westminster, Mayfair and King’s Cross. The easiest, most leisurely way to discover the spectacular installations at Lumiere London 2016 is by foot. Download the map or get the app for your iPhone or Android device.

Christmas party venues: VIP gigs and the edible Sugar Palace

8 Northumberland Avenue is pushing the boat out this year with two creative themes that will see you clock-watching until the silly season. This Christmas, The Old Billiard Room will transform into an enchanting fairy-tale playground. Think ‘Sugar Plum Fairy’s Kingdom of Sweets meets the White Witch’s Castle’.

A glittering silver and white colour scheme perfects a dazzling winter wonderland complete with edible trees, giant lollipops and a candy-man DJ. Nibble on whimsical spinning table centres and enter the dungeon sweet shop if you dare. But beware, The White Witch will be casting a spell over the evening and once guests have entered The Sugar Palace, they may never want to leave.

Alternatively, invite your guests to ‘Rock the Ballroom’ in a show-stopping, live gig extravaganza in the spectacular Victorian Ballroom, boasting soaring columns, dazzling arches and intricate ceilings dressed with vintage chandeliers. Guests will believe they’re watching top artists perform live on stage at their very own private gig thanks to ground-breaking 3D holographic technology developed by Musion – as famously seen during Coachella 2012, when Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg resurrected the late rapper Tupac Shakur as an on-stage hologram.

Package prices for both themes start at £70pp. Book early to avoid disappointment by calling 020 3263 1011 or emailing [email protected].

More Christmas party venue options:

Good, old-fashioned nostalgia: 1920s & 1940s

Your own private members club

Lights, camera, exhibition!

A classic Christmas knees-up

Christmas with a conscience

Roasted chestnuts, mulled wine and carols

Intimate, private dining celebrations

Work hard, play hard


Glamorous £40k Waterford Crystal chandelier installed at Chandos House

An ornate, Victorian chandelier by Waterford Crystal, valued at £40,000, will welcome future visitors to Chandos House as the venue’s glamorous Terrace Room becomes home to the stunning showpiece.

Moved from sister venue One Wimpole Street, which has undergone extensive renovation, the arrival of this historic and opulent chandelier at the Grade I listed events and wedding venue is a perfect complement to The Terrace Room’s Venetian windows and French doors, which open out onto the Terrace Garden.

In celebration of the chandelier’s installation, Chandos House commissioned the design and build of a bespoke bar, stained to match the existing and original wood, making the room ideal for cocktail receptions and parties.

Nicholas Dennis, house manager at Chandos House, said: “The Terrace Room has been transformed. What was always a beautiful, but understated room has now become somewhere that reflects the rest of the glamour and opulence for which Chandos House is renowned. I look forward to the coming months, which I expect will be very busy and I look forward to seeing the new bar in full swing with some fabulous cocktail and drinks parties taking place.”

Chandos House is an intimate venue ideal for meetings, conferences, formal dinners, private parties, product launches, wedding receptions, civil ceremonies and partnerships. Located in the heart of London’s W1 between Portland Place, Oxford Circus and the fashionable Marylebone Village, it offers six beautiful function rooms each with dramatic period features, 17 designer bedrooms and a secluded garden terrace.

For more information about The Terrace Room at Chandos House, please call 020 7290 3861 or email [email protected].

Let there be light

By Robin Parker, general manager, Church House


In a country like the UK, where we have a long dreary winters, and the weather often fluctuates throughout the year, a ray of sunlight is always welcome. Daylight can have a positive effect on our mood. It can lift our spirits and make us more efficient at work.

Natural light is also essential to maintaining a normal, healthy physiology. Exposure to sunlight is a key factor in synchronising our internal body cycles so we sleep when it is dark and are alert during the day.  In fact there are numerous classical references to the fact that many of the ancient Greek philosophers taught outside.

In our modern society, we have, due to the vagaries of projection technology in the 80s and 90s come to prefer darkness with illuminated lights over natural light when it comes to organising events and conferences. Of course, there is no denying that many social occasions are best suited to evenings, but I (and most-up-to-date research) think that most daytime conferences and events spaces should have adequate provisions for natural light.

Interestingly though, it is not just about delegate wellbeing.  As a recent case study demonstrated, having provisions for natural light not only helps save energy, but it also serves as a contingency plan in the event of a power failure.

A few weeks ago, the British Chamber of Commerce’s annual conference was held at the Church House Conference Centre. The conference was attended by a number of high profile public figures like George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, David Frost, director general of the BBC and other members of parliament. The conference was extremely important as the chancellor was due to set out the government’s pro- business plans.   However, just before the event started, there was a power cut across Westminster. Though the power was eventually restored – just before the Chancellor stepped onto the stage, even a major power failure did nothing to affect the course of the event. By choosing a venue with natural daylight and high quality acoustics rather than a square box in the underground pit of a hotel – no one felt suffocated or trapped and the event continued seamlessly.

Unfortunately too many organisers tend to plan daytime events in large halls that cannot be run without artificial lighting. Lack of natural light can lead to a dull venue, making delegates vulnerable to mood changes. It can also make them feel sleepy, hampering their ability to concentrate.

The event industry is continually looking at creative ways to make events more effective.  A great idea – but let’s also make sure we remember the lessons of the past and the benefit of natural daylight.