Darren Jordan, Event Manager for Casa Italia at The Queen Elizabeth II Centre, takes a look back and shares his experiences of the last two weeks:
Being a part of the Olympics, though a very small part was the best element of the past two weeks, and certainly an experience I will never forget. Being the Event Manager for the largest event the Centre has ever had was quite an honour – albeit hard work and a little frustrating at times. And, it goes without saying; I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the many different people from all different organisations that were involved in Casa Italia.
Seeing the Centre transformed was a real thrill – The Armani Store looked pretty amazing but the third floor (The Business Lounge & Restaurant) must be my favourite area. The third floor was turned into a very plush Italian restaurant and it looked stunning – I’ve never seen our space used in such a way and it has certainly stirred our creativity and given us some great ideas to share with future clients. It was a private area for CONI and their sponsors so we are not allowed to publish the photos, but the Italians certainly used their creative energy and reputation for delivering quality Italian design to full, ensuring their guests enjoyed the Italian experience in an innovative setting.
Everybody told me before the event that the Italians could be difficult to do business with, but of course I saw this as a challenge and knew I could use my knowledge and experience to advise and guide the client.
The event tested our flexibility to the limit – there were never ending last minute changes and additions to contracted hours. In the end I don’t think even the client knew exactly what was happening day by day! The QEIICC team though soon got used to the fact they could be called upon at anytime to change anything with just a few minutes notice. We don’t get many public events so it was a different to what we are used to. Being open to the public also brought its own unique problems too.
I am very happy that I was given the opportunity to work on such a prestigious event. It was very stressful at times but it was worth every extra wrinkle they have given me.