Living Spaces – Part 2

International Convention Centre Sydney

An eye-catching landmark in Darling Harbour, the new International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) is made up of three buildings, each different in design.

International Convention Centre Sydney

Joint venture partners HASSELL + Populous that were behind the architectural concept, crafted the ICC Sydney Exhibition Centre with natural colours of greens, browns, whites and greys, with liberal use of wood, to reflect the surrounding landscape of Tumbalong Park; gave ICC Sydney Convention Centre a shimmery glass façade, a fitting match to the glistening waters of the bay nearby; and presented ICC Sydney Theatre in a futuristic manner with bold reds and blacks, perfect for the live music concerts the venue was designed for.

Geoff Donaghy, CEO of ICC Sydney, said: “Convention and exhibition buildings have a tendency to be introverted by their very nature. In contrast, ICC Sydney was designed to bring a new dynamic quality and reputation to Sydney as one of the world’s most desirable business event destinations, enriching its knowledge and visitor economies.”

But ICC Sydney is more than just a pretty face. It houses an 8,000-pax theatre, 35,000m2 of exhibition space, a 5,000m2 open-air event deck, a 2,000-pax grand ballroom – the largest of its kind in Australia – and world-class theatres, meeting rooms and event spaces. In total, the venue boasts over 240,000m2 of total gross floor area and the unique configuration allows three major conventions to run simultaneously.

“ICC Sydney is a purpose-built digital venue which not only supports the needs of today, but has the capability to flex and adapt for decades to come across all types of events – big and small,” Donaghy added, pointing to the venue’s 10Gbps optical fibre backbone which had seamlessly accommodated more than 5,200 concurrent Wi-Fi users across 150 sessions during the annual Salesforce World Tour to Australia.

“Since opening in December 2016, the venue has received strong praise for its design, its in-depth collaborative pre-planning process and robust technology infrastructure, garnering more than 25 accolades recognising excellence across all facets of the business,’ he said. – Karen Yue

This integrated venue is one of Asia’s biggest exhibition and convention centre, taking in IMPACT Challenger which comprises three interconnected halls; IMPACT Exhibition Center which houses eight multipurpose halls and six function rooms; IMPACT Forum, a standalone convention centre; IMPACT Arena with 11,000 seats; IMPACT Lakefront with 150,000m2 of outdoor space; and AKTIV Square with 19,000m2 of outdoor space.

Royal Jubilee at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok, Thailand

The most beautiful gem in IMPACT’s crown is the Royal Jubilee Ballroom, said to be Thailand’s largest and most elegant column-free ballroom. Conical chandeliers, elaborate ceiling and wall detailing, and a plush carpet of warm shades lend a regal feel to the venue.

The careful attention paid to the interior design of IMPACT’s spaces are not just for aesthetic reasons; it fulfils commercial aims too – particularly in getting planners to sign the venue on for their events.
Loy Joon How, general manager of IMPACT Exhibition Management Co, said: “Our ballrooms and function rooms are comparable with hotel equivalents, which is important because our five-star facilities with elegant settings and amenities will add prestige to our customers’ events.

“The design (of IMPACT’s spaces) has helped us to be the preferred place for events.”

Beyond these event facilities, IMPACT offers also places for visitors to have a little fun in between meetings. The Portal Lifestyle Complex, a four-storey building connected to IMPACT Arena, IMPACT Challenger and IMPACT Exhibition Center via well-designed link bridges, is packed with restaurants, shops and the 1,500m2 Portal Ballroom. Some of these restaurants have been used for corporate social events.

Outdoors, the IMPACT Speed Park beckons. Opened in December 2016, the karting facility comes complete with changing rooms, shower facilities, a briefing room, function rooms, and a winners’ podium. It will soon be joined by a waterpark.

Loy said: “Our recreational facilities enable us to offer our customers options to integrate business with pleasure. They can have a complete business and social programme under one roof.”

According to Loy, IMPACT Speed Park has been used for teambuilding programmes by many corporate groups that were meeting onsite. – Karen Yue

Part of a shopping and office complex, Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre has the advantage of placing event attendees in close proximity to a diverse spread of dining and retail options.

Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre

The centre boasts 42,000m2 of events space spanning over four levels, including two 12,000m2 multipurpose halls and 36 meeting rooms. These customisable spaces are equipped with movable, soundproofed walls and an Intelligent Building Management System that controls space configuration. As well, it takes pride in the use of integrated technology that enhances the event experience.

Arun Madhok, CEO of Suntec Singapore, said: “We are able to accommodate the demands of a fast-growing hybrid conference and exhibition market segment, which requires multiple rooms for exhibitions and conferences to be in the same area.”

Suntec Singapore also employs the use of cutting-edge systems such as Crystals-on-4, a customisable and energy-saving lighting solution; the ImmersiveAV Suite, a wide-format 105m projection screen; and The Big Picture, the world’s largest high-definition screen at the driveway of the centre.

“Setting the right mood for an event is crucial to creating the perfect experience for our audience… As one of the most digitalised convention centres, the launch of the ImmersiveAV has catapulted Suntec Singapore into another league. It uses technology to transform audience experiences, thus gaining us recognition among event organisers who are constantly under pressure to create more engaging experiences,” said Madhok. – Pamela Chow

The country’s first convention centre was purpose-built for the International Monetary Fund-World Bank annual meeting 42 years ago when the Philippines was striving for global acceptance.

Philippine International Convention Center

Philippine International Convention Center’s (PICC) brutalist architecture and elegant interiors – magnificent chandeliers, wooden parquet flooring, grand staircases and priceless paintings and sculptures – set it apart from its newer counterparts’ futuristic and minimalist designs and metal-and-glass box structures.

Its elegance undiminished by time, PICC’s low-rise horizontal space is matched by vast outdoor spaces in the garden, courtyard and reflecting pools. Indoors are delegates lounge and executive lounge for relaxing in between meetings and conferences.

PICC general manager Renato B Padilla said: “Convention centres are no longer just about functionality, but also about beauty and aesthetics. Its layout and interiors, as with any venue, set the mood and ambiance for any event. A well-designed centre facilitates a smooth flow of communication – whether shared or confidential – in line with its primary purpose of being a place for exchanging ideas and networking”.

Padilla added: “However, we’d like to think that PICC is often chosen as an event venue not just for its well-designed interiors, but also because of its cultural and historical value.”

PICC’s fine dining restaurant, Amorsolo, is run by accredited caterer Via Mare. It even has a prayer room for attendees practicing their Islam faith.

Padilla said the modern museum of art and numismatic collections of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) will be completed in 4Q2018. Set within PICC grounds, the museum will also offer lecture rooms, a research area, a library and more.

To keep pace with changing market needs, the PICC Forum will be dismantled this year to make way for the new Trade Exhibit Hall which will add more space for exhibitions and more function rooms plus pre-function lobbies, storage rooms, kitchen, loading bays and rentable commercial spaces.  – Rosa Ocampo

Setia SPICE Convention Centre in Penang is recognised as the first hybrid solar powered convention centre in the world, and boasts a Green Building Index certification.

Setia Spice Convention Centre Rooftop Garden

Setting it apart from traditional convention centres is its vast open spaces that welcome events.

The rooftop garden comprises three large areas: A children’s playground, a large well-manicured green lawn, and a Japanese inspired bamboo garden and spice garden. Spread across two levels, the rooftop garden allows attendees of large-scale events to flow freely in the open. It can host approximately 10,000 guests for a cocktail event.

It is worth noting that Setia SPICE Convention Centre’s has 654 energy efficient lightbulbs which can be programmed to cast various colours and patterns to complement any event held at the rooftop garden. There is also an outdoor stage area.

Setia SPICE Convention Centre is one of five components of an integrated complex. The others are: Setia SPICE Arena, Setia SPICE Canopy, Setia SPICE Aquatic Centre and an adjoining 453-key business class hotel opening in 2020.

According to Yeoh Kheng Ho, senior manager, Setia SPICE Convention Centre, the interior design of any convention centre plays an important part in making the centre look grand and at the same time, peaceful, to visitors and clients. – S Puvaneswary

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