During August The Queen Elizabeth II Centre (QEIICC) has been ‘Casa Italia’ – home to CONI (the National Olympic Committee of Italy) and a showcase of all things Italian.
Casa Italia was the biggest event ever to have taken place at QEII Centre, and Event Manager, Darren Jordan was the person responsible for working with CONI to transform the venue.
Darren says: “I have been working with CONI since the start of the year to help them convert all six floors of the venue. The past few months have been an Italian whirlwind! From dealing with Italian contractors (who had to be reminded of UK health and safety policies) to trying out my own Italian (following our Italian lessons to ensure we could communicate with our client), it has been an eventful few months.”
The ground floor foyer had a welcome and registration desk, whilst the Churchill Auditorium was turned into a stage for live events – including opera, Italian artists and of course medal ceremonies.
The first floor housed an area dedicated to each of the sponsors – Banca Intesa, Fiat Group Automobiles, Italian luxury brand EA7 Emporio Armani and Kinder. EA7 Emporio Armani is the sponsor and official outfitter of the Italian Olympic and Paralympic team and so a beautiful on-site merchandise store was created.
The second floor became the 'Italian Experience’ – where visitors discovered how sustainability plays an important role in Italian products, resources and technology and they were also able to experience Italy for themselves with wine and food tasting from the regions.
The third and fourth floors were private; one floor was turned into an Italian restaurant – for CONI and their sponsors to entertain their guests, whilst the other was dedicated to the Italian media.
The fifth floor was home to a Banca Intensa exhibition of Italian photography – showing a snapshot of ‘Italy and The Italians’ (the title of the exhibition).
The sixth floor was also private – it was turned into a nightclub for Casa Italia VIPs and invited guests only. QEII Centre team managed to secure a late license for CONI to entertain their VIP guests into the early hours.
QEII Centre Lawn at the front of the venue was also transformed with giant ‘Casa Italia’ lettering, and at night the Centre looked stunning –lit with the colours of the Italian flag.
Darren concludes: “CONI will be using the Centre for the Paralympics too, but it’s a completely private event and a totally different set up. So we have a relatively short time to get the Centre back to normal and then it’s all go again!”