London’s iconic venue, QEII Centre, launched its new-look in Westminster, 13 November, welcoming clients, event agencies, buyers and media to a sparkling party to celebrate the makeover.
A building that used to look more like an East European embassy, has had the architects in to give a much-needed makeover, with the first two stages now complete of a £12m investment.
With walls flooded in icy blue lighting and an ice sculpture etched with an iconic Big Ben scene, guests to the QEII Centre (the word ‘conference’ has been dropped from the title but very much still on the business radar, according to Chief Executive Mark Taylor) were welcomed into a winter wonderland inspired foyer.
For those used to the old brutalist design outside and in, it was a wow-factor moment, with a new bright entrance, with raised ceilings and airport style check-in desks.
A video wall made up of nine ultra-slim bezel 55-inch screens and the new Sanctuary executive lounge have also helped the transformation.
Two friendly huskies were on guard at the door to strengthen the winter theme and provide good photo opportunities.
Taylor introduced the official launch of a rebranding project that, he said, had been 18 months in the making.
“It’s a proud moment as we officially launch the spectacular new look we’ve achieved through the first two phases of our £12m capital investment programme,” he said. “We’re sexier, trendier and more confident than we’ve ever been before thanks to the installation of cutting-edge technology and luxury fixtures and fittings. The welcome has been reenergised, too, with a new concierge team, a bright and spacious new foyer and a more discrete day-to-day security presence. We wanted to break down the barriers to the welcome.
“In branding terms, we have not only rebranded in a contemporary design to reflect our vision going forward, but we have also altered our name to simply ‘QEII Centre’ to reflect the diversity of our event portfolio and capabilities. We’re always a centre for conferences, but also for exhibitions, fashion shows, product launches, banquets, awards presentations and more; a focal point for knowledge and for fine service.
“The QEII was built as a beacon of British excellence, craftsmanship and technology and we are determined to return the centre to its former standing as London’s finest multi-purpose events facility.”
Guests later gravitated to the tropical themed Pickwick Suite to the sounds of Cuban band Kandela mi Son and the moves of feather-clad Samba dancers from Brazilian Fantasy.
Colin Green, Creative Director at Wildfire, the creative agency responsible for the centre’s new branding, said: “We wanted to establish the venue as a go-to destination; a place to be bold, to challenge perceptions. There is further change on the horizon, so watch this space.”
Suppliers to the re-launch event included in-house caterer Leith’s, event management company.
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