The importance of conducting a site visit – a visit at the Serpentine Gallery.
The following pages have for purpose to outline and explain in detail the important aspects of conducting a site visit when organising an event. Executing a physical inspection of potential venues where to hold an event points out whether a particular venue is suitable or not for the purposes and theme of the specific venue. A theoretical knowledge has been explored and backed-up by practical examples from a recent site visit at the very popular Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, which is a host of numerous high-class events every year. A site inspection checklist has been made prior to the visit and completed after an interview with a member of the event management team of the Gallery. The information presented below explains how the theory has been applied when conducting a site inspection at one the most exquisite venues in London. The Serpentine Gallery is one of the best known London galleries and also described as fearsomely fashionable by The Observer, set in the unique location of Kensington Gardens, within a very short distance from the West end and Knightsbridge. It focuses on modern and contemporary art and attracts approximately 750 000 visitors a year with its exhibitions, education and public programs. Every year, the Serpentine Gallery commissions international architects to design a temporary Pavilion constructed on the gallery’s outside premises, which provides a distinctive showcase for unique and modern architecture during the summertime. All of the architects are of a worldwide acclaim corresponding to the prestigious international reputation of the gallery, and some of them include Henry Moore, Andy Warhol, Paula Rego, etc. The Pavilion, which capacity is 500, then is opened for private and corporate events in the evenings (Serpentine Gallery, 2010). The Serpentine Gallery is divided into four large magnificently proportioned rooms, including the high-domed space in the central gallery. In the evenings, stylish outdoor lighting and illuminated paths create a dramatic impact on attendees arriving to this elegant Neo Classical Grade II listed building. The four galleries are available for private and corporate hire for evening events throughout the year, based on availability. The premises can be also hired during the day if there are no exhibitions. Serpentine Gallery can accommodate 150 people for drinks reception and 70 guests for seated dinner; the Pavilion has c. 500, but is only opened for a limited time during the year. Due to the opening hours and the small capacity of the rooms, the venue cannot be hired for wedding parties (Hill, 2010). (See Appendix 1: Capacity of Serpentine Gallery) The Serpentine Gallery hosts more than 100 high-class events a year associated with world popular brands such as Vogue, Aston Martin, The Sunday Times Style, Ferrari, Bloomberg, Tiffany’s & Co, DKNY, Vivienne Westwood, etc (Serpentine Gallery,2010) . Being an art gallery and not a purpose-built venue, it falls into the category of unusual venues in which more and more event planners nowadays prefer to organise their events due to their uniqueness and differentiation. Serpentine Gallery provides their own event management team – Katie Hollingworth, being the senior event organizer, and Charlie Hill – events assistant, who are the people to be contacted when one is considering hiring the venue premises for a private or corporate event and if interested conducting a site visit. A physical site visit helps the event coordinator with the evaluation of the potential venue in order to take full advantage of its strengths and opportunities and reduce its weaknesses and threats. (Mikolaitis, 2002) A preliminary site inspection is of crucial importance for the event organisers to determine whether the venue meets the client’s needs and desires, as well as its suitability for the specific event in terms of space, location, cost,...
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