With walls flooded in icy blue lighting, candle-lit lanterns buried in mounds of fluffy white snow and an ice sculpture etched with an iconic Big Ben scene, guests to the QEII Centre were welcomed into a winter wonderland inspired foyer for champagne, served from a twinkling pop-up bar. It was a wow-factor moment for those who hadn’t yet experienced the new-look entrance, now bright and spacious, with raised ceilings, sleek airport style check-in desks, multiple ultra-wide 29-inch screens, a concierge desk, a video wall made up of nine ultra-slim bezel 55-inch screens and the new Sanctuary executive lounge.
True to the wintery theme, two friendly huskies stole much of the limelight, until QEII Centre chief executive Mark Taylor took to the podium to introduce the official launch of a rebranding project 18 months in the making.
The centre then turned up the heat as guests shimmied upstairs into the tropical themed Pickwick Suite to the sizzling sounds of Cuban band Kandela mi Son and the energetic moves of utra-glam, feather-clad Samba dancers from Brazilian Fantasy.
Cocktails, canapés, delicious bowl food and a dessert station by Leith’s fuelled guests for some action on the sparkly gold dancefloor. Hot dishes served included ‘tequila and lime confit salmon, black bean, coriander rice’ and ‘pumpkin tortellini and roast artichoke velouté’, while desserts included ‘mojito macarons’ and ‘pineapple cake with vanilla buttercream’.
Speaking of The QEII Centre’s re-launch event and the process of evolving this iconic brand, Taylor said: “It’s a proud moment as we officially launch the spectacular new look we’ve achieved through the first two phases of our £12 million capital investment programme at the QEII Centre. We’ve been ‘quietly evolving’ over the past 18 months and beneath our new look we have been building and strengthening our business to bring to you a centre of excellence. This re-launch event is just one of many milestones in the delivery of our new vision.
“Following a strategic audit we developed our comprehensive building master plan; one that expressly complements the original finishes and strengths of the building’s architecture and provides practical and innovative solutions to improve our visitors’ total experience.
“We’re sexier, trendier and more confident than we’ve ever been before thanks to the installation of cutting-edge technology and luxury fixtures and fittings. The welcome has been reenergised too, with a new concierge team, a bright and spacious new foyer and a more discrete day-to-day security presence. We wanted to break down the barriers to the welcome.
“In branding terms, we have not only rebranded in a contemporary design to reflect our vision going forward, but we have also altered our name to simply ‘QEII Centre’ to reflect the diversity of our event portfolio and capabilities. We’re always a centre for conferences, but also for exhibitions, fashion shows, product launches, banquets, awards presentations and more. A focal point for knowledge and for fine service.
“The QEII was built as a beacon of British excellence, craftsmanship and technology and we are determined to return the centre to its former standing as London’s finest multi-purpose events facility.”
The bold new brand identity is reflective of the change that has taken place within The QEII Centre. Colin Green, creative director at Wildfire, the integrated creative agency responsible for the centre’s new branding, said:
“We wanted to establish the venue as a go-to destination, where clients are continually delighted and expectations are always exceeded; a place to be bold, to challenge perceptions, in the boundless pursuit of perfection. Moving forward the QEII Centre will firmly establish itself as London’s finest specialist events venue, becoming renowned for delivering professional, award-winning events that put the needs of the client at the heart of their philosophy.
“Wildfire are particularly proud of watching this iconic venue begin to realise its true potential. There is further change on the horizon, so watch this space.”
Suppliers to the re-launch event included in-house caterer Leith’s, event management company Wonderland Events, creative communications consultancy Custard Communications, Instagram photobooth creator Social Playground and talented band Kandela mi Son.