Thursday 25 August 2016 marked the grand opening of Solent Conference Centre following its recent move to the brand new £30 million ‘The Spark’ building in the heart of Southampton city centre.
The futuristic venue is now part of Southampton Solent University’s main campus, benefitting from views of the city’s extensive parks, additional car parking, interactive spaces for meetings, events and celebrations and state-of-the-art learning facilities.
The launch event was garden party themed with 200 guests, clients, partners and press in attendance. Guests were greeted with a floral buttonhole and arrival drink, many being fooled by Gordon Ramsay lookalike, Martin Jordan who served up canapés.
Drapes were then pulled back to reveal the Atrium dressed as a summer garden party, complete with grass, picket fences, trees, live music and summer games. A three course meal from the new menu followed, starting with a picnic platter served on a miniature picnic bench which proved to be the perfect conversation starter. After dinner, treasure map style activity sheets plotted various fun and games located around the building to encourage exploration of the new venue.
One room deep beneath the Atrium was transformed into a hidden speakeasy bar serving whiskey cocktails and playing vintage films. Guests could only enter when they had guessed the password from bouncers dressed in 1920s mobster costumes.
The Silver Birch Suite was transformed into a Christmas party preview with circus themed dressing, giant animal props, a balloon artist and face painter. Outside on the hospitality balcony, a pick n’ mix usherette served up goody bags of sweets from a specialist trike.
The Pod, a suspended free-form meeting room, was transformed into a giant photo booth with fancy dress costumes and professional photographers. The Bridge, the roof top venue above the Pod, was transformed into a bubble tea bar and coffee house hosted by the venue’s sister outlet, Artisan Café.
The occasion was marked by a cake cutting ceremony overlooking the Atrium. The Whitebeam Suite then became a dancefloor and cocktail bar with live band, 5th Avenue performing out to the Atrium. Finally, guests were treated to goody bags including gifts, sweet treats and selfie sticks.
The venue was supported by local event partners from the southern region including Transform Events, Love Cake Bakery, Canon, Diva Entertainment, Signature Balloons, Boutique de Fleur, Perfect Chairs, Express Yourself Costume, Hire Quality Marquees, Jury’s Inn, Destination Southampton and PBWPIX.
Amber Webster, Conference, Events & Hospitality Manager says: “The launch event was an overwhelming success with amazing support and compliments shown for the new venue.
“Not only are we now one of the biggest venues in the city, we are also a key player in the events and meeting industry on the south coast.”