London Venues

Six leading figures in the creative events industry reveal their favourite two corporate party venunes in the capital

Blonde Produciions - managing director - Lora Lutostanska

What are your two favourite London venues for ­hosting creative events? Pacha and Il Bottaccio.

Why would you choose these venues? Pacha has a ­dramatic Art Deco ballroom that can host 180 to 1,200 guests, and an inspirational mezzanine level. The hire fee is based on the number of guests, so if you have fewer people you will pay less, based on staffing costs. Pacha’s location next to Victoria station makes it really accessible.

Il Bottaccio is a beautiful white space that can cater for between 50 and 400 guests. Again the location is ideal, situated next to Hyde Park. The hire fee is competitive and the venue allows you to bring in your own caterer, drinks and production.

What events have you organised at these venues? At Pacha we have created events such as fashion shows for Diesel, parties for Maxim, charity events for Trudie Styler and corporate parties for ABN AMRO and Citi Group. At Il Bottaccio we have designed events for clients such as UBS and Diesel.

What’s the best thing about creating an event in the capital? London is one of the world’s best cities for events. One of my favourite things is finding random warehouses that sell all kinds of crazy props.

And the worst? The huge number of venues is a good thing, but can make choosing a space for a creative event a very confusing and long-winded process.

Green Room - director - Hannah Lohen

What are your two favourite London venues for hosting creative events?
Cirque and the Royal Opera House (The Paul Hamlyn Hall).

Why would you choose these venues? Cirque, located in Leicester Square, has a ­professional and friendly team that runs the venue brilliantly. It’s an adaptable space for parties of 500 to 1,800 guests. The hire fee includes a great sound and lighting system, as well as the use of the hydraulic stage and one of the largest mirror balls in Europe.
The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden is stunning and the atmosphere always vibrant. The Paul Hamlyn Hall is a really special place to hold an event because it’s so beautiful. Operationally, everything works like clockwork due to the highly experienced in-house team of caterers and technicians.

What events have you organised at these two venues? This November we are doing an anniversary party for a media agency at Cirque, while last year we produced a private dinner party in The Paul Hamlyn Hall that was a really magical night. The venue looked stunning.

What is the best thing about creating an event in the capital? London is such a vibrant city. We love to take inspiration from its fashions and lifestyle trends for our events.

And the worst? Unpredictability of deliveries due to congestion

Drive Productions - director - Ben Fender

What are your two favourite London venues for hosting creative events? Abbey Road Studios and Old Billingsgate.

Why would you choose these venues? Abbey Road is rarely available but opens its doors for Sound & Vision, a fund-raising event we produce for Cancer Research UK. The service is professional and the in-house team works with us to provide rigging, staging and lighting solutions. The venue holds around 400 guests and is accustomed to dealing with famous people – a real advantage when putting on an event. Old Billingsgate has elegant arches and many different event spaces. It has a good in-house team and can accommodate up to 1,700 for a dinner or 2,500 for a reception. It is competitively priced and its location in the City makes it perfect for corporate parties.

What type of events have you organised at these two venues? For Sound & Vision we displayed items of rock ’n’ roll photography, art and memorabilia in an innovative way and the event included an evening of music. At Old Billingsgate we produced Citywire’s annual conference.

What is the best thing about creating an event in the capital? ­Accessibility to suppliers and knowing you can get a rapid response to a client request. Good sub contractors can really make a difference.

And the worst? Congestion when unloading, plus residential ­restrictions. Also, people in the capital are saturated with events and productions, so we have to be on our toes to make ours memorable.

GSP - joint managing director - Emma Gold

What are your two favourite London venues for hosting creative events? Roundhouse and Olympia National Hall.

Why would you choose these venues? The service at both is fantastic and the ­array of ­facilities always great, perfect for what is ­required and expected from blank canvas spaces. They are flexible with regard to guest numbers, but they are big spaces and tend to be most suited to large-scale events. While not in the West End or centre of town they are still very close, and value for money tends to be satisfactory.

What events have you organised at these two venues? GSP ­created and produced the world premiere of Phantom of the Opera at Olympia. The focal point was the two-and-a-half tonne Swarovski chandelier that featured in the film. The National Hall was one of the only venues that had the height and scale to do this feature justice.
Roundhouse was an amazing venue for GSP to create the Fiat Bravo launch event. The venue’s unique internal structure allowed us to create the illusion that the star of the show – the car – was not in the building, and enabled us to reveal not one, but eight, cars.

What is the best thing about creating an event in the capital? London has such an array of suppliers that you are almost spoilt for choice, because virtually anything you want and imagine can be created.

And the worst? Cost and availability, as most places are in high demand. For this reason it is a challenge to come up with new and exciting venues. There are also not enough white spaces in central London.

Inca Productions - executive producer - Jade Allen

What are your two favourite London venues for hosting creative events? The Old Truman Brewery and 24.

Why would you choose these venues? The Old Truman Brewery is a historical building with an area so large that with imagination anything is achievable. It can hold parties from 50 to 1,000 guests and is in the hub of the City and east London. At the other end of the spectrum, 24 sits on Kingly Street just off Carnaby Street and is the epitome of all that is modern in a venue. It offers a beautiful clean space, with interactive screens.

What events have you organised at these venues? The Old ­Truman Brewery was our choice for Living TV’s launch of its spring/summer schedule of programmes. The Studio 54-inspired party had a decadent theme, with the entrance covered in a floor-to-ceiling glitter material, while the doorway to the party was through a Living TV logo, giving guests the impression that they were entering the heart of the channel. The entertainment was non-stop and came in the form of transvestites and topless ­waiters. All very tongue in cheek of course.

What’s the best thing about creating an event in the capital? The diversity of event spaces, from modern nightclubs such as 24 to beautifully decorated spaces like the Café Royal’s Grill Room.

And the worst? Some clients are so stubborn about the areas they will travel to. There are so many wonderful spaces that may not be central, but if people were more willing to travel a little west or south they would find amazing locations.

Sticki Events - director - Wren Solares

What are your two favourite London venues for hosting creative events? Café de Paris and Century.

Why would you choose these venues? Café de Paris is a brilliant space for ­creative events, in a central location with an excellent in-house team that works with you to ensure you have the right ­services for your event. It is also a great space for natural sunlight, giving that outside feel in an indoor venue.

What events have you organised at these two venues? We worked on a press day for the launch of the musical Dirty Dancing, creating an event for more than 750 guests. They enjoyed a glimpse of the show’s dancers who were flown in from Germany, and Tess Daly hosted the event.
At Century we created a press day for fashion agent Miss Sixty where we displayed the latest menswear collection for 250 guests. The space was large enough to use our own distinct creation for each piece of clothing, yet the venue was also intimate enough to host a party that took place later in the evening.

What is the best thing about creating an event in the capital? There is so much choice and new venues are opening every week. Whatever a client wants, London has it. It’s great to use the hottest venue at the time, knowing that next year the event can be held somewhere new.

And the worst? No matter how many venues there are in London, there never seems to be enough. The main problem is larger event companies tend to dominate the venue scene with summer and Christmas party packages. This makes it more difficult for the smaller event companies to secure exclusive hire.

 

 


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