Over the years, the Business Design Centre, and the Royal Agricultural Hall before it, has hosted some of the biggest events in London, and entertained some of the most recognised names on the planet.
We’ve flicked through the archives and have compiled an honorary list of attendees below, which includes prime ministers, global pop stars, the biggest names in the movie industry, and just the small case of The Royal Family.
The Royal Family
Over the last twenty-five years, many of the Royal Family have visited the BDC. The very first royal to visit was the Duke of Edinburgh in March 1987. At the time, he was the Patron of the Design Council. The BDC was honoured to host this event, where Prince Philip handed out awards, including the ‘Prince Philip Designers Prize’, which celebrates how designers improve our daily lives by solving problems and turning their innovations into a reality that better serves society.
The BDC also welcomed Princess Diana through our doors to open the New Designers show in 1988, whilst Prince Charles attended the following year for the Building a Better Britain event which is an event dedicated to the role of good architecture and planning in the UK.
Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss
London’s Graduate Fashion Week came to the BDC in 1995, with none other than the future acclaimed fashion designer Stella McCartney graduating that year.
As part of her collection that year, both Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell appeared on the catwalk. Needless to say, this selection caused a media storm around the burgeoning fashion designer.
In 1995, David Cameron attended the BDC for the annual Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference. The CBI is the UK’s premier business organisation, and the conference represents a voice, a forum and a networking opportunity for the regional, national and international policymakers.
The conference was a pivotal platform for Cameron, as the Conservative party were in the wake of a third consecutive election defeat. Cameron addressed the crowd with a rallying cry to modernise the party’s culture, attitude, and identity. The Conservatives went on to win the next election with Cameron serving two terms as Prime Minister.
We have welcomed a host of other political figures through our doors over the years, including Tony and Cherie Blair, who opened the tenth New Designers show in 1996, whilst future prime minister Boris Johnson came to open the 2007 edition of the show.
The 1999 BAFTAs
Everywhere you looked at the 1999 BAFTA there was a global movie star, so we couldn’t narrow this down to just one! The 52nd British Academy Film Awards took place at the BDC on 11th April 1999.
Hosted by Jonathan Ross, the winners this year included Shakespeare in Love (Best Film) starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Colin Firth, The Truman Show (Best Direction) starring Jim Carrey and Saving Private Ryan (Best Sound and 9 other nominations) starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon, and directed by Steven Speilberg.
In 1988, Yoko Ono flew to London from New York to attend the opening of the John Lennon Imagine exhibition. This extraordinary, one-off event lasted just five days and was the first exhibition of his life and works.
Within this exhibition, there were some mesmerising memorabilia on show, including the historic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club uniforms, which of course attracted a myriad of celebrity guests ready to immerse themselves in a timeline of John Lennon’s greatness.
Planning For Your Events in London?
If you are looking to host your events in London, the Business Design Centre has a rich heritage of event management both big and small across the entertainment, technology, business, and many other sectors across the board. You can get in touch with our friendly, experienced team here to discuss your aims and goals for your event.
For more information on the history of this stunning building, stay tuned to our Insights page, where you can find our fascinating blog series on the ‘History of the Business Design Centre’.