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IET London: Savoy Place: Becoming the Olympic House for the Qatari Olympics Committee

IET London: Savoy Place:
When the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) announced that its London headquarters, IET London: Savoy Place, had been selected to be the official Olympic House for Qatar no one could know how successful the collaboration would be. Plans were ambitious and involved changing the iconic venue in just 10 days; the venue received a complete transformation to capture the culture, heritage and sporting achievements of the nation.

One of the prerequisites in choosing a venue was it had to be situated on one of the main Olympic routes (ORN) on the Embankment leading to the Olympic Park and central parts of London. A more unusual requirement was a venue within close proximity to mooring facilities – being on the riverside meant IET London: Savoy Place fitted the bill from a location perspective but it was also the venue’s facilities that appealed to the Qataris.

The venue’s riverside function suites on the third and top floor were used as a VIP restaurant with a specially added rooftop terrace, where guests enjoyed the panoramic views of London’s city skyline. The tiered lecture theatre provided space for a variety of cultural events; screening of Arabic films for the Doha Film Institute, fashion shows, presentations by Sotheby’s and live broadcasts of the opening and closing ceremonies. The ground floor was used to portray some of the big sports investments taking place in Doha for the Fifa World Cup in 2022, investment in youth and children. To complement this area there was an AL Jazeera sports bar serving exotic fruit cocktails. The planning period took place over seven months and involved a rigorous licensing and planning process due to operational requirements.

The venue also had to adapt to local traditions as the period of the games also included the holy month of Ramadan: Food was only served after sun set and call to prayer was observed with four prayer rooms. Each day, there were up to 270 guests in attendance with some VIPs and sport stars including the IOC , Prince Albert of Monaco , Karl Lewis , Sir Frank Williams and the two Qatari athletes that achieved bronze medals at the Games.

As a result of the success of the Qatari visit the IET has been able establish a wider legacy for the UK and launch a new scholarship programme, the ‘Diamond Scholarships’, which is designed to help students applying for IET accredited courses in 2013 with their fees.

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