Aspiration: Showcase - North Pole comes to London streets

Ice Space set out to challenge the perspective of creative event venues. Jeremy King braved the cold to find out how it all went.

When it comes to completely transforming an environment, bringing an ice world to the heart of London just as things are beginning to warm up takes a lot of beating. Sitting adjacent to Tower Bridge, the £1.5m Ice Space was a triple-skinned temporary structure housing 200 tonnes of ice at a regulated temperature of minus five degrees.

The brainchild of former staffing agency head Peter Pallai and Ice Box managing director Phillip Hughes, the venue was open in April and May.

"The idea was to create something different in the capital, and bring the North Pole to London," explains Pallai.

Despite considering Budapest, Pallai and Hughes decided upon London, and the initial buzz that surrounded the venue's launch seemed to justify their choice. "We had interest from press around the world, building our profile to an amazing level, which totally exceeded our expectations," says Pallai.

Created with agency The Rouge Partnership, the opening party on 26 April saw guests treated to a champagne reception and entertainment that included a snow queen and dancers supplied by agency Bolli Darling. Canapes came courtesy of caterer Rhubarb. As guests entered the venue they were handed winter coats and gloves before heading into the main ice area that housed a main bar, three seated booths, a VIP lounge and bar, an ice art gallery and a stage. Juxtaposed to the main arena was an ice rink, complete with chill-out area, which ironically was probably the warmest part of the main venue.

Such was the hype surrounding the launch that it attracted 80 per cent of the confirmed celebrity guestlist, including stars ranging from actor Danny Dyer to newsreader Michael Buerk. "The thing that will be remembered was that the venue was so much more than just an ice rink and a bar," reveals Pallai.

Despite the venue's earlier than planned closure, due to an overall lack of visitor interest, corporate bookings were positive and Pallai and Hughes intend not only to bring Ice Space back to the capital but also to launch it in three other European cities next year. The pair also have their eyes on six other cities on the continent, after which they hope to turn their attentions to North America.

The Ice Box
This company can satisfy all your ice-sculpting needs, from ice
aquariums and ice castles to Louis XV chairs.
Tel: (020) 7498 0800

The Rouge Partnership
For corporate creative events, Ice Space is being managed by creative
agency The Rouge Partnership.
Tel: (020) 7514 5854

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