One of Claremont’s most prestigious projects has been given the royal seal of approval with a visit from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.
The Princess Royal visited the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) flagship public exhibition space, designed and fit-out by Claremont, earlier this week in her capacity as the royal patron for ICE’s Shaping the World Appeal.
Since its inception the Shaping the World Appeal has raised more than £1.5m, which has enabled the transformation of ICE’s One Great George Street’s former upper library into a state-of-the-art members’ resource centre and the lower library into an interactive public exhibition gallery.
Actively working to encourage the professional development of its members and to project a positive image of the profession to future generations, ICE tasked Claremont with refurbishing the building’s interior to reflect its modern aspirations as part of this project.
While work was being carried out to the Grade II listed building’s exterior, the Claremont team set to work inside, transforming the reception, common areas, main library and members’ resource hub into a modern, social and flexible environment. The result is an impressive space that improves the customer journey, encourages engineers to use its resources and shows a more inspiring view of the profession to the public, without ignoring its heritage.
The Princess Royal’s visit provided the perfect opportunity for ICE to showcase the new facilities and the positive outcomes they have achieved following the refurbishment. Sarah-Jane Osborne from Claremont joined Her Royal Highness on part of the tour. She said: “It was a very real honour to meet The Princess and to showcase our work alongside a number of other partners who have all helped to give ICE an environment befitting its global reach, iconic London location and ambitious plans for the future.”
“When our relationship with ICE first began, the library had just 10 visitors a day on average and the members’ area only five. Now, more than 39,000 people have visited the library and exhibition space and 500-700 members use the resource hub each month. Thanks to some benchmarking research ICE has undertaken, we also know that the revamped facilities have been instrumental in improving children’s and young people’s understanding of civil engineering as a rewarding and creative career. This is a very important milestone for ICE, particularly in its bicentenary year as it seeks to raise public awareness of how civil engineers directly transform people’s lives and safeguard the future for their families. There really is no better proof that we have created a dynamic space that supports all of ICE’s endeavours and we were thrilled to see such a wonderful response from Her Royal Highness too.”
The Claremont team completed the complex interior design and fit-out project over an 18-week period at the end of 2016. The library was redesigned and transformed from a dark, dusty and cramped environment into an open, light and inspiring space replete with the latest educational resources. It has also been peppered with bespoke display units which allow ICE and its professional partners to create mini interactive and digital exhibitions, including the current Invisible Superheroes Exhibition, which The Princess experienced on her visit. Mobile glass display units, interactive screens and floor graphics to aid story-telling and way-finding all give the new space a modern and relevant museum feel.
The redesign of the members’ resource hub strikes the balance between ICE’s heritage and modernity with the use of winged back chairs, soft seating areas, PC terminals and areas for quiet contemplation as well as a variety of meeting pods. Such is the popularity of this space, that ICE has made it a bookable resource to avoid disappointment.
The Claremont team will soon start work on the refurbishment of ICE’s café, bistro and entertainment spaces, also at One Great George Street.