London & South East

Re-opening the Apollo

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The Hammersmith Apollo, London

Situated in Hammersmith, London, Eventim Apollo (more recently the HMV Hammersmith Apollo) is a grand, Grade II* Listed building and one of the most famous music venues in the UK.

Originally designed by Robert Cromie, the building started life as a cinema before becoming a leading name in performance spaces, playing home to the crème de la crème of the music world.

Keen to keep the venue as a headliner in its own right, venue owners AEG Live recently implemented a £5 million restoration scheme, along with a name change, in order to bring the Apollo back to its former glory. The project was divided into three phases, two of which have been completed, with the final phase set for later this year.

As part of the recent work Eventim Apollo was given an extensive makeover, with the majority of the work – Phase Two – undertaken in a nine-week period during the temporary closure of the building. Eventim Apollo reopened its doors on 7th September 2013, and with restored features and sensitive redecoration, the venue has been given a completely new lease of life.

G F Holding was the main contractor on the project, whilst Foster Wilson Architects provided all architectural services. Formed in 1908, G F Holding is a theatre specialist with a longstanding working relationship with AEG Live. Most recently the company completed work on the AEG’s impressive Brooklyn Bowl venue – situated within the O2 – which subsequently lead to their involvement with Eventim Apollo.

Premier Hospitality recently caught up with Jeff Barton of G F Holding to find out a bit more about the company’s involvement with such an iconic site.

The Hammersmith Apollo, London

Jeff, said:

“We’ve known AEG Live since 2004 and this working relationship lead to our involvement with Eventim Apollo. We have a great deal of experience in the theatre sector so we were the ideal choice for AEG Live.

“We tendered for Phase One of the project, which was a smaller aspect of the refurbishment, so it made sense that we would continue working with AEG Live on the second, much larger phase.”

Phase One of the three-part scheme comprised a series of small alterations to changing rooms, dressing rooms and offices. The first phase was conducted whilst the building remained open, with work taking place during the quieter hours of the day.

Phase Two was a larger phase and comprised the complete refurbishment of the venue. The third and final phase will see toilet areas revamped and some external repair work completed.

With such a busy programme of events at the Apollo, finding the right time to implement the changes was key, as was planning. When approaching the second phase of the scheme G F Holding looked at all the different elements of the refurbishment and conducted as much pre-construction work as possible.

Jeff explained:

“Prior to the nine-week close down there were certain works that we could do, such as decorations and plaster work, which could be slotted in around the events programme. We also made some prototypes, so that we knew everything worked before we went into full production. Once all prototypes were approved by the various authorities and specialists, including English Heritage, we took the products to the manufacturing stage and this meant we had everything ready ahead of the close down.

The Hammersmith Apollo, London

“Once the building was closed we revamped the stage, took out all the seats, relayed the floor and stripped out and rebuilt the bars and box offices. We also installed a new complicated and expensive lift for raising the venue’s organ.”

Additional work on the project included the installation of new seats, the replication of existing glazing, and the removal of tired carpets in the foyer. Doors were also replaced and mosaic work was restored to its original state.

Since re-opening, Eventim Apollo has received excellent feedback, making for a very rewarding project all round.

Jeff commented:

“Working on this project was tremendous. It allows us to show off our skills and it is certainly great to have Eventim Apollo within our extensive portfolio.”

The sounds of the Apollo 

Opened in 1932 as the 3,500-seat Guadmont Palace Cinema, Eventim Apollo has had an interesting history which has included numerous name changes, a couple of refurbishments and recognition as a Listed building. In 1962, the venue was renamed the Hammersmith Odeon; in 1992 the building became the Labatt Apollo; in 2003 the site became the Carling Apollo; and in 2009 it was renamed the HMV Hammersmith Apollo. However name changes aside the Apollo has stood the test of time and in the process has developed an enviable legacy that few event spaces can claim.

Elton John, the Rolling Stones, The Who, Buddy Holly, Kate Bush, Prince, Slade, KISS and Bruce Springsteen are just some of the names who have played at the Apollo, and during the 1960s The Beatles played an incredible 38 times over a 21 day period. In 1973 David Bowie appeared at the Apollo to perform as flamboyant alter-ego Ziggy Stardust for one last time and in 1978 Sweet performed their last British show at the venue under their classic line up.

The Hammersmith Apollo, London

Moving into the 1980s, Blondie, Ozzy Osbourne, Duran Duran, Culture Club and Depeche Mode took to the stage and Dire Straits used the Apollo as the backdrop for their live concert Alchemy: Dire Straits Live. Meanwhile, in 1984, heavy metal band Venom caused a stir at the Apollo when they accidentally burned the venue’s ceiling during a performance.

During the 1990s the Apollo played host to stage production Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and actor/singer Michael Ball performed five sell-out shows. Throughout the 00s artists at the Apollo included Alice Cooper, Kylie Minogue, Whitesnake, Slipknot and Ultravox.

More recently Status Quo played two sold-out shows at the Apollo as part of the band’s reunion tour, with the concerts receiving a CD release. In September 2013, pop singer and former Disney Channel star Selena Gomez became the first act to play at the Apollo under its new name Eventim Apollo.

Climatemp Technical Services Ltd

Climatemp Technical Services Ltd specialise in the design, supply and installation of all aspects of heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Climatemp Technical Services Ltd has been in operation since 2003, however, company director Wali Ashraf has been in the business for more than 20 years, bringing a wealth of experience to his role.

Past projects for Climatemp Technical Services Ltd include Colony Club, Crockfords Casino and Palm beach Casino in Mayfair, as well as many other blue chip companies around the UK. Meanwhile, working on Eventim Apollo, Climatemp Technical Services Ltd was involved the refurbishment of all mechanical works in the VIP areas of the venue, including ventilation and plumbing.

The Hammersmith Apollo, London

Climatemp Technical Services Ltd Company Director, Wali Ashraf, said:

“This was a prestigious project in London, so for Climatemp Technical Services Ltd to be chosen gave us the perfect opportunity with which to prove ourselves.”

Wali added:

“At Climatemp Technical Services Ltd, we pride ourselves on the quality of our service and our commitment to our clients.”

Ornate Interiors Ltd

Ornate Interiors Ltd is a fibrous plastering company specialising in the traditional and modern methods of restoration to listed buildings, including theatres, churches and grade listed public buildings.

The company has been providing a first class service working alongside clients and major contractors for the last 23 years and has worked on many important projects within this time, including recently the restoration of Art Deco theatre the Stockport Plaza, Nostell Priory Stable Block and numerous private listed residences.

Working on Eventim Apollo, Ornate Interiors Ltd worked under main contractors G F Holdings Ltd on the venue’s main auditorium and public areas to restore the theatre’s original features.

The Hammersmith Apollo, London

Ornate Interiors Ltd Contracts Manager, Jim Dodd, said:

“The building was in a very poor state of repair, the original features had taken a lot of wear and tear over many decades, with some of the features completely missing altogether. Our brief was to conduct a report on the ceiling, the whole of the ceiling areas were inspected from above to ascertain their condition and additional supports inserted where required. Where original features were completely missing, new models were created by our craftsmen to faithfully replicate the originals. New fibrous plaster casts were then manufactured and installed on site.”

Jim added:

“This project was immensely important to us. We have a passion for restoring old buildings and bringing them back to life. Everyone at Ornate Interiors Ltd takes pride in their work and to restore buildings to what they used to be is of paramount importance. We pride ourselves on the quality of work that we provide to customers. The Apollo was another example of this.”

Diamond Shopfitting 

Diamond Shopfitting specialise in the manufacture and supply of high-end quality bespoke joinery items for use within the hospitality and retail sector. Working closely with clients, Diamond Shopfitting work through each design thoroughly to ensure all of their products suit the requirements for which they are manufactured.

The Hammersmith Apollo, London

Diamond Shopfitting has been in operation for over twenty years and within this time has provided bespoke shopfitting and joinery services for many prestigious projects. This has included manufacturing the bar on the new Rover’s Return for Coronation Street, which was part of the soap’s relocation to Media City, Salford. Additional projects recently have included Brooklyn Bowl and the General Medical Council offices reception desk. Some of the company’s major clients besides G F Holding include John Lewis, ITV and the NHS.

On the Eventim Apollo project, Diamond Shopfitting worked closely with main contractor G F Holding to manufacture very detailed and intricate joinery work and in particular all the bars and counters – a challenging job as one of the bars was 25m long and curved.

Diamond Shopfitting Managing Director, David Haughton, said:

“This project was very important to us and is in keeping with the types of work that we complete. We work on high end projects, like Eventim Apollo, and we enjoy working closely with contractor G F Holding which has become a very successful relationship over the last 20 years.”

David added:

“Our main goal is to ensure that the client is happy and we always try to exceed their expectations on the project.”

Fibrelite Ltd

Fibrelite manufacture the industry’s leading lightweight, yet very strong, watertight glass reinforced fibre (GRP) composite access covers and modular trench panels. All Fibrelite’s composite covers are tested to BS EN 124 and the company has held accreditation to both the ISO quality standard and British Standards Kitemark since 1998. Fibrelite’s covers offer the best strength to weight ratio in the industry, allowing for maximum load bearing strength and durability while remaining lightweight and easy to handle.

The Hammersmith Apollo, London

Founded on a tradition of quality and innovation, Fibrelite has been at the forefront of composite technology since 1980. The first composite manhole cover was designed as a prototype for Esso UK, to eliminate health & safety issues associated with traditional metal covers.

Fibrelite’s access covers are used in many industries including water and water treatment, ports and docks, municipalities, transport, power and energy as well as retail, commercial and industrial developments. Our in-house technical department and flexible tooling allows us to design and manufacture tailor-made covering systems to suit the individual requirements of our customers.

Such composite covers provide safe and easy access eliminating unsafe manual handling issues and Fibrelite are replacing aging concrete and heavy cast iron access covers all over the world. Lighter materials prevent operational injuries, make work sites safer, and facilitate easier installation and maintenance for utility workers and contractors. Composites are also becoming highly attractive given the metal theft epidemic because they will not be stolen for their resale value.

Fibrelite prides itself on continued investment in new product development and providing customer specific solutions for clients worldwide.

J&C Joel Limited

J&C Joel specialise in the supply and installation of theatrical curtains. The company supply flame retardant fabrics, drapery, flooring and stage machinery to the entertainment and live event industries.

The Hammersmith Apollo, London

Having been in operation since 1978 the firm has an impressive portfolio of previous projects and has manufactured and installed into Theatre & Opera Houses, Schools & Universities, Performance Spaces, TV & Film, Arenas and Live Events worldwide.

J&C Joel have manufactured Front of House Curtains for both contemporary and period theatres from a wide range of velvets. Their range of traditional mohair velvets are ideal for the renovation of classic playhouses and theatres designed by seminal architect Frank Matcham, such as the London Coliseum and the Grand Theatre in Blackpool; both of which are home to Front of House Curtains by J&C Joel.

More recently, J&C Joel have worked on prestigious projects such as the Olympics and Paralympics, Royal Opera House in Oman, Zayed University in Abu Dhabi, Education City in Qatar, Concert Hall, Esplanade in Singapore and the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Wales plus many more throughout the world.

Within the Hammersmith Apollo, J&C Joel installed four motorised tracks in the auditorium, two manual tracks and two decorative static drapes that sit eitherside of the stage. The company also manufactured the curtains, based on images from the architect, to ensure they looked the same as they did when the theatre was originally built.

A spokesperson for the company said:

“Theatre is where it all began for J&C Joel and more recently we have been working on many theatre restorations. With the Hammersmith Apollo being one of London’s most iconic and prestigious entertainment venues featuring live music, comedy and family entertainment events, it was important for us to be involved.

The Hammersmith Apollo, London

“With such a broad range of products and services, it is the knowledge, experience and professionalism of the J&C Joel team that has helped us build our business and reputation.  We are confident that our manufacturing staff are the most skilled and experienced in the industry. We pride ourselves in quality products and excellent service no matter where in the world you may purchase our products.”

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