Richard Harrison, head of conference centres, Warwick Conferences
Conference, training and meeting needs are constantly evolving and it is now not just about delivering four walls, a flip chart and some food, it is about delivering an experience.
Now more than ever, customers are demanding flexible event spaces that can be used to debate, engage, resolve, share, challenge, network and learn – a space where anything is possible. This not only relates to the packages and overall experience you are offering clients once they book the space for an event, but to the building itself whilst still in its conceptual form.
Numerous studies have shown that a building can both positively and negatively impact on a person’s health, particularly the powerful effect architecture, through elements such as space, light, geometry and materials, can have on our mood.
Natural light, for example, can help people perform better with research indicating that visible light helps the human body to regulate the production of the hormone melatonin, which in turn helps to regulate our body clock, affecting sleep patterns and digestion. Visible light also helps to stimulate the body’s production of neurotransmitter serotonin, which can reduce the symptoms of depression.
Surrounded by trees and landscaping, and in a lakefront location, our new venue features a striking full-length glass wall, opening onto a suspended deck that overlooks the water. This offers significant natural daylight and allows delegates to feel closer to the natural world – which itself is known to help reduce stress and boost our moods.
Kevin Scott, senior architect at Associated Architects, notes: “Designed around maximising daylight and landscape, the building is constructed from a mixture of natural and man-made materials. As most people using the space will be spending much of their day in the open plan space, the quality of the light in their surroundings has considerable implications on their safety, health, state of mind and even their efficiency. The predominantly north facing glazed wall and rooflights serving both dining and break out spaces will provide constant natural light which is ideal for creating a healthy working and engaging environment.”
Significantly, it has been said that a well-designed space is one where it is not dictated to the individual how they should perceive, operate or feel in the building, but it has the flexibility for people to explore and experience it for themselves. This is exactly the aim we have for our new venue. The flat floor, blank canvas space means clients can use the facility however they wish to create the exact experience they are looking for and ensure they meet their objectives.
Understanding the importance of architecture and working closely with the architects, we have made sure that the foundations are in place for a positive meeting experience in our new venue, which is under construction on the University of Warwick campus. From the structure of the space which has been designed first and foremost to meet the needs of its users, to the finer details such as not offering packaged solutions which can somewhat limit creativity, and offering the space on an exclusive use basis, means clients can customise the space to their individual needs.