Week in Pictures: Confex; Launch of Eye Lounge Bar; Kennedy Space Center

Industry events this week included International Confex at Olympia London, Merlin Events' launch of the Eye Lounge Bar, and dinner with NASA astronaut Brian Duffy hosted in London by The Kennedy Space Center.

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International Confex

From 1-2 March, International Confex returned to Olympia Lonon, with both UK and International venues, destinations and event suppliers on show.

An education programme showcased content spanning five theatres as well as across the show floor, including keynotes, panel discussions, workshops and seminar sessions covering every element of event planning and management.

Launch of Eye Lounge Bar

On Wednesday (1 March), the Merlin Events team launched the newly refurbished Eye Lounge bar within County Hall for an exclusive guest list of 250 event planners, corporate event bookers and agents. Guests included representatives from DELL, Capita, City of London, SKY, Wedgewood, BBC and Exevents. Guests enjoyed Pommery Brut Royal Champagne prior to  a 30 minute rotation on the Coca-Cola London Eye. Rhubarb Food Design showcased their new canapé menu which included beef carpaccio on thyme shortbread with rocket gel and truffle mascarpone amongst other delights.

After taking in the views of the capital from 135 metres, partygoers were welcomed into the Riverside Rooms with acclaimed vocalist Adam Croft performing in the Eye Lounge. The Baltic Room hosted Blini Bars where guests built their own creations while cossack dancers provided by Sternberg Clark wowed guests with a colourful performance.

South America was the next destination for guests to discover, with carnival- inspired decor and trees from the rainforest. With caterer Dish providing the eats throughout all the rooms, guests enjoyed steaming bowls of king prawn boo boo and veggie feijoada with coriander rice immersed in the carnival vibe.

The Asian Room boasted a guest appearance by Po from Kung Fu Panda, who delighted everyone with the ultimate selfies in the Magic Mirror Booth. Later a balletic ribbon dancer, accompanied by a drummer, entertained with an eye-catching performance. As well as a hut serving Asahi beer, there was plenty of food from Chinese street food stalls and even a sushi belt. A traditional lion dance organised by Chee wowed the crowds through the corridor as the party moved up a gear.

Revellers then descended into London’s most infamous Tavern, set in the London Dungeon where DJ Steve kept people dancing until the landlady rang the bell at midnight.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, dinner with an astronaut

The UK travel trade and media enjoyed an 'out-of-this-world' experience on Wednesday evening (1 March) at London’s Quaglino’s restaurant, where they dined in style with former NASA astronaut, Brian Duffy.  The event, hosted by Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida gave guests a thrilling insight into life in orbit from a space shuttle commander with four missions under his belt.  Brian Duffy was recently inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, which features in the attraction’s newest exhibit, Heroes & Legends.  

Diana: Her Fashion Story

Kensington Palace, one of six venues cared for by Historic Royal Palaces, welcomed 260 guests to a launch event for its new fashion exhibition exploring the style of Diana, Princess of Wales on Tuesday (28 February).The event was an opportunity for clients, stakeholders and press to enjoy a private viewing of the exhibition which traces the evolution of the Princess’s style.

Guests arrived at the Queen’s Entrance of Kensington Palace where they were welcomed with a glass of champagne in the palace’s New Garden Room, which was decorated with an 80s feel complete with bright colours and clusters of disco balls to reflect the lights courtesy of White Light.  

Once guests had enjoyed a closer look at the collection of Princess Diana’s most iconic outfits they headed down the stone stairs, which were adorned with a floral display from Hayford & Rhodes, into the Stone Hall where drinks were served from Great Hire’s mirrored bar. Whilst listening to The Blind Tigers who performed sets throughout the evening, guests enjoyed a selection of canapés provided by Blue Strawberry.  

Delicacies included fresh ricotta, pickled pineapple and rocket granite; pulled short rib croquette, truffle emulsion and pickled seaweed; and pina colada mousse, coconut dacquoise, rum and vanilla macerated pineapple. As an added extra, guests were able to join a timed tour of the King’s State Apartments to explore more of the palace’s history.

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