Christmas comes early to QEII

Christmas celebrations were in full swing at the QEII Centre last month, when guests were welcomed to a showcase of the Westminster venue’s ‘Snow Ball’ Christmas party theme.

Taking over the centre’s recently refurbished Mountbatten room, QEII underwent a festive transformation with a frosted glass, blue, crystal and gold colour scheme elegantly matched with floor-to-ceiling windows, offering views of the London city skyline at dusk.

Spirits were kept high with a soundtrack of jazzy Christmas classics and exquisite festive dishes served by head chef Jean Michel Viala on the evening, transporting guests from a sunny spring day to a glorious winter setting.  

QEII’s Snow Ball Christmas party packages, including seated dinners and standing receptions, are available to book now, with full theming options from QEII’s event team and a choice of canapé, bowl food and banqueting menus from QEII Taste.

For more information email christmas@qeiicentre.london or call 020 7798 4025.

Lights, Camera, Westminster – curtain’s up on venue collection’s starring roles

Fresh off the back of Sunday night’s glitzy Oscar ceremony, Westminster Venue Collection (WVC) has revealed its members witnessed a 30% increase in film location enquiries in 2016.

The recently rebranded collection, which features 34 members all based in London’s iconic City of Westminster, announced film locations bookings now amount up to 10% of their yearly event revenue.

With fashionable townhouses and private members’ clubs to luxury hotels, celebrated attractions, historic institutes and societies, it’s no wonder an impressive 86% of the eclectic mix of venues have been used as the locations for both the big and small screens.

Keen cinema-goers will know member venue One Great George Street has played a starring role in a range of productions including last year’s Hollywood blockbuster ‘War Machine’ featuring Brad Pitt as well as Woman in Gold (2015). The venue’s Great Hall became the Guildhall for Mark Darcy’s law society dinner in Bridget Jones’ Edge of Reason (2004) and doubled as the National Gallery where Mr Bean is a guard in Bean (1997).

The QEII Centre’s impressive and highly versatile space – the Churchill – which regularly offers a backdrop for a variety of large events ranging from conferences, award ceremonies, corporate dinners, parties and presentations provided an Oscar-winning performance in ‘The Theory of Everything’ (2014).

Other productions have seen member venues providing key locations in Calendar Girls (2003), Spectre (2015), Sherlock Holmes (TV series) and the nation’s favourite wizarding series, Harry Potter.

Commenting on the trend, Kate McCarthy, marketing manager at member venue One Great George Street, said: “From the enquiries we’re receiving, the positive trend for location bookings definitely looks set to continue for One Great George Street in 2017. We’re looking forward to welcoming a whole host of new names and stars to our venue in the coming years.”

Clare Arouche, WVC chair and head of business development at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, added: “With a host of iconic, unique and historical buildings within our membership, Westminster Venue Collection truly is a location scout’s dream and with our new and improved search function on its website, the perfect setting is just a few clicks away. We look forward to hearing about all the fantastic film and television projects our venues are involved in throughout 2017 and beyond.”

If you would like to find out more about booking one of WVC’s venues for an upcoming film, television or documentary piece please visit the venue collection page and place your enquiry.

Fashion-forward RIBA Venues hosts Wales Bonner

RIBA Venues, the conference and events arm of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), based at 66 Portland Place in London, recently played host to the Wales Bonner fashion show on 8 January 2017.

The event, which took place during London Fashion Week, showcased Wales Bonner’s 2017 winter/ autumn collection to 150 guests in the venue’s RIBA Gallery. 

Acclaimed fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner won the L’Oréal Professional Talent Award for her graduate collection and Emerging Menswear Designer at the British Fashion Awards in 2015. Her work explores representations of black male sexuality and identity which is informed by research that encompasses critical theory, composition, literature and historical sources.

Grace Wales Bonner said: “The Florence Hall was a very impressive space which allowed me to be ambitious with the show concept. The venue and location are beautiful and inspiring, it was a pleasure to work with the RIBA team.”

RIBA Venues head of venues, Moya Maxwell, said: “We were delighted to welcome such an acclaimed fashion designer to RIBA Venues. This further consolidates our offering as a great venue for high-profile fashion events, as well as conferences and meetings.”

To find out more about RIBA Venues click here.

When 10 – 11 Carlton House Terrace became the Esquire Townhouse

Britain’s most stylish men’s magazine, Esquire, came to life in the grand setting of 10 – 11 Carlton House Terrace in central London – where four days of exclusive one off events, live interviews, screenings and master classes took place last month. Guests enjoyed drinks by Fullers, Laurent Perrier and Errazuriz Wines while enjoying a personal cover shoot thanks to Huawei.

The opening night set proceedings off with a bang thanks to an exclusive DJ set by Mark Ronson playing late into the night as celebrities including Jeremy Renner, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Sam Smith, Tom Daley, Victoria Pendleton and Mollie King joined team Esquire and their sponsors Dior on the dance floor.

It was the perfect start to kick things off in which Esquire was brought to life as guests talked food with Heston Blumental, met Supersonic director Mat Whitecross, listened to Felicity Jones discuss her latest film and learnt how to dress well with Oliver Spencer and Charlie Casely-Hayford.

Church House Westminster hosts its first Fashion Show

One of Britain’s up and coming fashion brands showcased its latest collection during the first catwalk event to take place at Church House Westminster.

OSMAN, a designer favoured by the likes of Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and British actress Emma Watson, held its London Fashion Week show for its Spring/Summer ‘17 collection at the venue.

Amelia O’Mahoney at OSMAN, said: “Church House Westminster provided the ideal location for the showing of our latest collection. The show was a great success and has been well received by all those who attended. We’d like to thank all the partners who contributed to this, including the support provided by Church House and its staff.”

Church House Westminster’s General Manager Robin Parker said: “It’s great to be part of London Fashion Week, one of the city’s most creative events. The Osman fashion show is just the type of event we have been looking to attract since Church House Westminster’s rebrand earlier this year, and we are delighted they chose to showcase their Spring/Summer ’17 collection to the fashion world against the backdrop of the Assembly Hall.”

Central Hall Westminster announces record turnover

Central Hall Westminster has announced a record turnover of over £7m for its 2015/16 financial year, ending August 2016.

Central Hall attributes much of this success to investments in a number of new technical installations at the venue and an increase in the number of enquiries from clients looking to hire the whole venue. These include PIXL, the largest partnership network of schools in England and Wales, and the BBC New Year’s Eve concert which has been held for the last three years at Central Hall. Following the success of this financial year, the venue is looking to expand its team.

Paul Southern, Managing Director at Central Hall, comments: “We are delighted to have experienced such a strong financial year. The team at Central Hall have been working hard to help drive new business opportunities and we have invested in a number of marketing campaigns and new technical installations to help develop our event offering over the past year and as a result, have seen some fantastic results.

“As well as seeing an increased interest from Chinese businesses, this year we have also expanded our concert offering at the venue and hope to grow this area of the business over the next year.”

As a not-for-profit organisation, Central Hall is committed to supporting a number of local charities. The venue has provided £1.2m for the Trustees to support international and local charities like the St. Vincent’s Family Project (SVFP). The SVFP aims to support young families living in Westminster and addresses the issues of parenting, child welfare and social exclusion by providing services for parents, carers and children.

Church House Westminster invests in the future!

Church House Westminster has invested a further £330,000 in state-of-the-art AV services – installing 4K dual projection in its largest room, the Assembly Hall as well as upgrading its sound system.

Installed in August, the new sound and projection system, which enables clients to choose from a range of high quality screen layouts, were used for the first time during The Art Business Conference on Thursday, 1 September. All projection is now in 16:9 widescreen format, in line with PowerPoint 2010 and beyond. The venue can also now provide 4K projection on a standard screen or up to 8k image on an ultra-wide screen. Clients can choose between a curved wide screen, an extra wide screen, a centre screen stage set or a dual screen stage set.

The new investment opens up a whole new range of opportunities for Church House Westminster’s clients to enhance their content and delegate experience by delivering high quality images and video, and by providing them with the ability to project multiple images on screen at any one time. The new stage will also allow far more versatility and flexibility for the increasing range of events that are delivered at Church House Westminster.

The venue has always invested in high specification equipment and infrastructure. Currently this includes high speed networked internet services via fibre and cat 6 cabling enabling delivery of video conferencing, and IPTV video relay. Church House Westminster also provides broadcast quality HD recording and streaming services and has an editing suite to produce professional videos.

To find out more about Church House Westminster or to make a booking enquiry click here.

QEII to create new banqueting floor with stunning city skyline views

The QEII Centre is continuing its £12 million refurbishment and rebranding project this summer by transforming its 6th floor into an open-plan banqueting space with breath-taking views of Westminster and the London city skyline.

Work has commenced and will be complete by September, when the renovated space will be revealed at a dazzling dinner to celebrate QEII’s 30th birthday.

QEII’s ongoing programme of refurbishments is focused on improving the customer experience and opening up the venue to a wider variety of events including banqueting, awards ceremonies, cocktail parties, product launches and other corporate and private special events.

The renovation of the 6th floor will give event planners greater flexibility for how they wish to use the space, with a retractable wall opening up what is now the Mountbatten room into one large, open-plan floor with a stunning glazed elevation providing dramatic views out towards the Thames, capturing Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, London Eye and the Shard.

The 6th floor refurbishment, which has been designed by architects AHMM, the 2015 winners of the RIBA Sterling prize, comes as QEII celebrates its 30th year at the heart of the UK’s event industry, contributing £122 million to the economy annually.

QEII’s in-house catering team, QEII Taste by Leith’s, has recently appointed Jean Michel Viala as its new head chef.

For more information about the QEII Centre visit www.qeiicentre.london

Central Hall Westminster launches new virtual reality experience in China

Central Hall Westminster announced the launch of its new virtual reality (VR) experience during a week-long visit to China.

It was showcased at the IT&CM Exhibition Shanghai, the Department of Commerce in Zhejiang Province and at a meeting with the team at Alibaba HQ Hangzhou.

Central Hall’s new virtual reality technology aims to showcase the venue’s versatility and range of event spaces to both international and UK buyers. The VR experience not only enables viewers to get a 360 degree view of the event spaces on offer throughout the central London venue in a virtual show-round, but also features a variety of live events scenarios as a fully immersive viewing experience. VR live events include the BBC’s New Year’s Bryan Adam’s concert 2015, amongst other high profile events.

Paul Southern, Managing Director at Central Hall Westminster, said: “This has been an exciting development for us at Central Hall. Our ability to harness this technology and connect the venue to the most remote places in China, and indeed anywhere else in the world we take it, is an extraordinary advance within our sales process. We anticipate that this will help to strengthen our position within the Chinese market as we continue to develop relationships in this sector.”

Maria Schuett, Head of Marketing at Central Hall Westminster, added: “The objective is to support our clients to conceptualise their ideas within our flexible event spaces, not replace the physical experience. The new virtual reality package, showcasing various layouts, productions and visual settings, adds a new dimension to those earlier discussions with clients.”

The VR experience has been created by Trek Wireless, creators of interactive digital assets for the retail and hospitality industries that work seamlessly across PC, tablet, mobile and VR devices. For further information about Central Hall’s virtual reality offering please visit https://www.c-h-w.com/vr.

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.”

Find out more at http://www.onegreatgeorgestreet.com/news-centre/press-release/2016/a-wonderful-venue-for-wonder-woman/