One Minute With... Heiko Kacimi-Alaoui, Eventim Apollo

Event spoke to Heiko Kacimi-Alaoui, the deputy general manager at Eventim Apollo about the venue's transformation over the last 12 months.

Eventim Apollo's deputy general manager, Heiko Kacimi-Alaoui
Eventim Apollo's deputy general manager, Heiko Kacimi-Alaoui

The renowned London event space will re-open its doors next month, and it will host the Event Awards 2015 on 14 October

Why has the Eventim Apollo team opted to transform the venue?

In 2012, AEG Live and CTS Eventim jointly purchased the Hammersmith Apollo. One of the first things they decided to do was put the wheels in motion for a multi-million pound refurbishment. 

Years of underinvestment had taken its toll and rising ticket prices made the team think that more could be done to enhance our customers’ experience at the venue. And so we embarked on a nine-week restoration project to lovingly restore this beautiful old building to its former glory.

How did the team derive ideas for the new-look venue?

We worked closely with the English Heritage to restore the venue as closely as possible to its original designs. However, apart from some black and white photos, we didn’t have much to go on.

One of the biggest tasks turned out to be discovering what the original colours of the interior of the building had been. We ended up hiring a specialist to painstakingly scrape back through the many layers of paint that had been plastered on throughout the decades to find the original green colour palette and pattern from the 1930s. 

How has Eventim Apollo changed over the last 12 months?

About 12 months ago, we identified that the corporate side of our business was underdeveloped and that it presented a serious growth opportunity. However, the 6% gradient of our floor seriously limited the number of corporate events we could host.

If we were serious about wanting to grow this side of the business, we knew it would be a major investment. After some debate and discussion, we decided to put our money where our mouth was and bought a state-of-the-art flat floor structure which would allow us to host seated events.

It feels like a new chapter for the venue which will open us up to a whole new host of events – from seated dinners to award ceremonies to product launches and maybe even a wedding. We had the first fitting of the floor earlier this month and we have our launch party on 10 September.

What are the key features of the new venue?

During the nine-week renovation, the restoration team were thrilled to find a number of previously hidden original features – this included a uniquely patterned terrazzo floor, friezes by the artist Newbury Abbott Trent, as well as decorative art deco glass and two marble staircases.

But the restoration wasn’t all focused on the past; the venue has also been fitted out with a brand new state-of-the-art sound system. The lighting at the venue has also undergone an overhaul with new colourwash LED lighting that can adapt to complement the ambience of a show.

Where do you see the venue in 12 months time, and looking further afar, five years time?

The venue continues to go from strength to strength – we are busier than ever. We will be keeping a close eye on how the corporate side of the business takes off – we have some exciting enquiries in the pipeline already.

In terms of further into the future, we are three years into a 10-year capital investment plan and there are other plans for building upgrades over the next few years. While our core will always remain music and comedy, it will be fascinating to see how the corporate side of the business develops over the next five years.

What key events is the venue hosting over the coming months?

We are hosting our first major corporate event in October and we are lucky enough to be hosting the Event Awards. In the next few months we have a run of 16 sold-out shows for Dynamo as well as six days' sold-out shows of Kevin Bridges and music legends Morrissey and Motorhead.

Then there’s also Live at the Apollo which is a resident comedy TV show that’s been going for more than 10 years. We have many more exciting shows in the pipeline for early next year so watch this space. 

More Eventim Apollo news:

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