Inspiration Station Vol. 12 | Clive

Step this way and enter Clive’s immersive virtual tour of the quirkiest, most creative new experiences, tech, gadgets and venues in the world right now.

Featuring the hottest new venues opening in London right now, including Soho House’s latest project, The Ned and the brand new Postal Museum due to open later this year. To top it all off, we’ve found some great experiences, technologies and gadgets to share with you, featuring our pals at Guineapig and their top three gadgets.

Venues & Destinations

UK Venues

The Bullitt Hotel, Belfast

Freshly-opened in October 2016, the Bullitt Hotel located in Belfast City Centre was developed by the Beannchor Group who are behind some of Belfast’s most notable hotspots, including The Dirty Onion, The Merchant Hotel and The National Grande Café.

Named after the Steve McQueen film, the boutique hotel makes subtle nods to the movie throughout. Boasting a sleek yet urban design with a Hoxton Holborn kind of vibe. The hotel has one events space,  which holds up to 50 delegates for a meeting.

The hotels’ 43 bedrooms are sorted into three categories: Dinky, Comfy and Roomy. Breaking from convention, Bullitt has decided to forgo the standard voiceover in their lifts, by commissioning local broadcaster Joe Lindsay to playfully announce each floor in true Belfast style… ‘This is the second floor, so it is’.

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Boxpark, Croydon

Boxpark has long established itself as a unique shopping and dining destination in Shoreditch but now they’ve taken the leap south of the river to Croydon, premiering the first food and drinks only site, hosting over 200 events per year.

Constructed entirely out of refitted shipping containers – 80 to be precise – Boxpark Croydon is a buzzy spot to eat, drink and play, 30 seconds walk from Eat Croydon station. You can get your hands on the likes of MEATliquor, The Breakfast Club, Bukowski Grill and Chilango as well as several start-ups, basically everything from bao and burgers to Mexican and Middle Eastern foods.

Larger than the original Boxpark in Shoreditch (and this time with a roof to tackle our good old British weather), the Croydon hotspot has a huge events space that can hold up to 2000 guests.

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Cane & Grain, Manchester

Cane & Grain is set over 3 floors, consisting of the Rib Joint & Tap Room on the ground floor, The First Floor Bar and The Liars Lounge.  It’s all about rum, ribs, bourbon and beer at this Mancunian hotspot and each floor has them in abundance.

The ground floor bar is a lesson in recycled chic, one wall covered in chopped up skateboards, while another is clad in retro skate posters. The first floor bar is hidden behind a secret door and decked out with wooden panelled walls and a speakeasy vibe. Whilst the top floor becomes The Liar’s Lounge, a sister venue to the team’s Liar’s Club Tiki bar, accessed via a staircase covered in voodoo masks and skateboard light-fittings. 

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Forza Win, Peckham

Introducing Forza Win, a new communal supper club-come-restaurant in Peckham where everyone sits together, pays the same price and shares the same meal. All of the food is locally sourced, cooked over wood and served up in family style feasts from Wednesday – Sunday.

Diners sit around enormous wooden tables winched down from the ceiling, with a rotating menu of Italian goodness to go with cocktails, natural wines, frequent live music, huge sharing platters, and more.

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Ten Trinity Square, Clerkenwell

Ten Trinity Square – part of the Four Seasons hotel collection – boasts 100 bedrooms, a selection of restaurants, bars, private members club and a spa. Housed in a Grade II-listed building that dates back to the 1920s, it’s fair to say this venue is rich in history and culture.

Located near the Tower of London, it will have a variety of spaces, ranging from meeting rooms and a cigar lounge to a bar, art gallery and business centre. The events space will feature two ballrooms and three meeting rooms for 10 to 250 guests. 

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The Postal Museum, Farringdon

Due to open mid-2017 is the new Postal Museum and Mail Rail located a stone’s throw from Farringdon Station.

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The Mail Depot

The Mail Depot is as a blank canvas space with subtle nods to its architectural history. Once the first driverless electric railway in the world, the space dates back to 1927. Boasting vaulted brick arches and exposed piping the space has bundles of character, and holds up to 275 standing and 140 seated.

There’s also the opportunity to ride through the deserted Mail Rail tunnels, which is due to open to the public for the first time later this year.

The general admission price, including a display on the railway’s history, will be £9, but the ride on the railway will cost an extra £5.50.

The Postal Museum

Across the road from the Mail Depot lives the Postal Museum, a light, bright and contemporary space that benefits from a private sunny courtyard and innovative living wall.

Available to hire for up to 140 people, the venue is perfect for drinks receptions and summer parties.

The Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch

We’re beyond excited about this trendy new venue opening in one of London’s most popular neighbourhoods.

Scheduled to open in the June 2017, Nobu Hotel Shoreditch forms part of Nobu’s expansion into new markets across the globe. The Shoreditch venture, currently under construction, will be the company’s first European hotel and is being developed by Meir Abutbul, a London-based boutique hotel designer. As well as its 156 bedrooms, the hotel will also feature event spaces, a restaurant and bar. 

The five-story hotel also includes a stunning landscaped garden at the site’s eastern edge, staggered with terraces and featuring seating overlooking the triple height restaurant and bar. While the exterior makes use of angular concrete balconies and printed, layered glass.

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Bronte, Charing Cross

Designed by one of our favourite British Designers Tom Dixon, Bronte is a vibrant new venue serving up fresh and modern dishes from breakfast through till dinner. Sitting pretty on The Strand, overlooking Trafalgar Square, the restaurant features floor to ceiling windows, and a stylish colour scheme that draws attention to the stunning pink concrete bar and green granite feature kitchen.

Private dining is available in the mezzanine space, holding a maximum of 30 for a seated dinner or 60 for a standing reception. The restaurant is available for exclusive hire, holding a maximum of 400 standing.

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The Ned, City of London

Soho House and Sydell Group have joined forces to transform the City’s iconic Midland Bank building – and what they’re creating is a mega new hotel; The Ned; named after architect Sir Edwin Lutyens’ nickname.

When we say mega, we mean it… 252 bedrooms complete with 1920s and 30s inspired decor, nine restaurants, 12 event spaces, a gym, hamam and spa. With many of the original features still intact, like the original wooden banking counters and vault doors, this is one stunning building, inside and out.

The open-planned banking hall space on the ground floor will play host to nine restaurants, serving up Italian, Japanese, American, French and traditional British dishes – you’ll be spoilt for choice. 

The hotel has six event spaces to choose from, suitable for groups from 14 up to 200. Featuring original walnut panelling and chandeliers, the Tapestry Room really does have that wow-factor.

International Venues

Hotel Il Sereno,
Italy

We’ve stumbled across perhaps the most stylish new spot to stay on Lake Como. Awarded the title of “Most Anticipated New Luxury Hotel Opening in 2016”, is Hotel Il Sereno, a modern hotel with an authentic flair.

A relatively small property with just 30 suites, this hotel is perfect for VIP events with the option to take the venue over exclusively. Boasting a private beach, an infinity pool suspended over the lake and its own dock, where guests can arrive at the hotel by boat, this hotel is not one to miss.

Hotel Il Sereno has two events spaces holding up to 100 guests for a seated dinner and 200 for a meeting, making it suitable for larger events.

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The Highlands,
Tanzania

The Highlands, a pioneering high-altitude camp located in the Wild Ngorongora Conservation Area promises to “redefine the Ngorongoro experience”.

If you’re looking for an incentive destination that has something a bit different, this place ticks every box. Style meets eco-conscious at this Asilia safari camp, which boasts eight unique glass and canvas pods tucked away deep in the forest. Each pod features unrivalled views of the stunning wildlife which is home to leopard, buffalo and elephants to name a few, and boasts en-suite bathrooms, panoramic wooden decks and wood burning fires. But no electric sockets, only USB power-points so you may have to leave your beloved hair dryer at home.

Interiors are by the Cape Town design team Artichoke, who have selected a traditional Nordic look and feel, with a flurry of fur throws, hand stitched rugs, distressed wooden stools and industrial-style lamps.

With daily temperatures ranging from 4C at night to 26C in the afternoon, the phrase “climate change” takes on a whole other meaning.

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Anantara Kalutara Resort,
Sri Lanka

After their recent openings in Oman, Anantara have been very busy indeed. Bordering the Indian Ocean and the Kalu Ganga River is the Anantara Kalutara Resort, the latest luxury resort to arrive on the island’s ultra-popular west coast.

The hotel has over 140 bedrooms which have all been stylishly designed combining contemporary furnishings with traditional Sri Lankan touches. Ideal for incentives, with four meeting rooms, ideal for groups up to 500.

Three unique in-house restaurants dish up international favourites and local specialties, coastal Italian dining with ocean views, and the best of Thai, Indian and Chinese cuisines. 

Direct flights are available from London Heathrow to Colombo with Sri Lankan Airlines… have you got your passport ready?

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Technology & Gadgets

Oree Artisans

Based in France, Orée produces technology products that not only do great, but look great too.

Because a charged phone is the closest thing some people get to having their life together, and this tech product manufacturer is making that a very visually pleasing reality. Their wooden Bluetooth keyboards got everyone in a bit of a tizzy on Product Hunt earlier this year, but the Pebble is what we’re really excited about. A high-end wireless pod that chargers your phone, plays music and makes hands-free calls via Bluetooth. Oh and it looks sleek AF, available in premium wood or marble.

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The VAMP

The VAMP is a revolutionary, award winning audio device that can transform any old speaker into a portable Bluetooth speaker.

A staggering 10,000 speakers are sent to one major UK recycling centre every month. Many others end up in land fill or incineration plants – it’s this sad story that VAMP is committed to solving, by recycling and saving our musical friends.

All you need to do is connect any of your Bluetooth devices (e.g. smartphone, tablet, laptop) and bring back stereo sound to your old speakers.

It offers an affordable Bluetooth solution, coming in around £50.00.

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Icaros

Icaros is a fitness device and gaming controller in one gadget. It allows users to fly through virtual worlds, play games and exercise the body at the same time.

Costing around $8,000, the flying experience sees users strap on a virtual reality headset and try their hand at navigating different environments as if they were a bird or superhero.

The device has a range of different settings depending on your physical abilities and is said to stimulate muscles from head to toe – hello full body workout!

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Guineapig

We love find new exciting pieces of technology that engage and excite guests at our events so we’ve fallen head over heels for guineapig. Here’s our top three products, already tried and tested by us.

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Thought Bubbles

These rotating orbs will have a huge impact as guests enter a room. Boundlessly happy, the levitating glowing orbs can entertain an audience or bob quietly in the background.

Like energetic puppies, they are always happy to see you. As eager performers, you can teach a whole team to dance to a choreographed sequence and create ambient lighting with a series of hovering lights. These orbs will project a quiet stream of air that levitates the glowing globes at varying heights around the room.

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Tropism Well

The Tropism Well is graceful, giving and always looking for a new friend. Featuring facial recognition technology, when this drinking fountain sees someone approach, it gently bows down to fill their glass. Tropism Well leaves guests spellbound as they feel compelled to respond as if it were a living thing.

It’s happy serving up anything from refreshing cool water to quirky concoction of your choice.

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Pluck & Hug

The more you squeeze, the brighter it glows. Fill a whole room for a feel-good vibe that leaves guests feeling warm and fuzzy.

Fluffy, friendly and squeezably soft, they’re impossible to put down.

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OvRcharge

OvRcharge is more than just a wireless charger, it will actually levitate your smartphone as it charges: suspending it in the air with no support other than invisible magnetic fields — all while slowly spinning it around like it’s on an invisible Lazy Susan.

Currently in the crowd funding stages, it has 227 backers and ¢60,777 donations so far.

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The Magic Candy Factory

Introducing The Magic Candy Factory – the world’s first 3D printer for gummy candy, allowing anyone to design and create the most weird and wonderful candy your imagination can think up. In a matter of minutes, you can see your name in candy or share an important message with sugar.

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Hover Camera Passport

Selfie drones are officially a thing, but they’ll cost you! The Hover Camera Passport is a ultra-compact quadcopter that can capture 4K video and 13-megapixels stills. With built in face and body tracking, this nifty little device can follow you around and take 360’ shots 

There’s no controller, you just need your smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection to control the device. This drone costs $599.

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Experiences

Sofar Sounds

Founded in 2010 and based… well all over the place, Sofar is an expanding network of artists and music lovers, with the sole intention of creating an alternate live music experience.

Now in over 300 cities across the world, this platform brings together artists and music enthusiasts for regular “living room” gigs.

If you want to attend a show, you will need to sign up (and then be invited) to attend, and you won’t know where the show will be held until the day before the gig or which artists are performing until show time. The first rule of Sofar Sounds is that you don’t talk about Sofar Sounds ringing any bells?

In fact, during the music, there is full attention: no talking, texting, or filming. 

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Magical Lantern Festival

To celebrate the end of Chinese New Year, the gardens at Chiswick House that span over 65 acres are set to host the Magical Lantern Festival from 19th January to 26th February this year.

The theme for this year is ‘Explore the Silk Road’, and will feature over 50 illuminated lanterns. These include the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, plus colourful scenes from the likes of Europe, Central Asia and Arabia and the tale of Aladdin featuring a giant lantern genie.

And it doesn’t stop there, with a long list of fun pop-ups and activations to get involved with, including a virtual reality gaming experience, an ice rink, a pop-up ice bar made entirely of ice and plenty of street food stalls, including steak sandwiches from Cattle-Axe, Japanese street food from Notso and churros from Los Churros Amigos.

The festival is open Thursday to Sunday 5pm to 10pm, with last entry at 9pm. Details of tickets and more information can be found at magicallantern.uk.

Vault Festival

Now in its fifth year, Vault Festival will host six weeks of entertainment running from 25th January through until March. For the first time the festival will also be extending beyond its usual borders to include two new venues, Network Theatre and Morley College to make way for over 200 shows.

Located underneath Waterloo Station, this year’s festival will be jam packed with live music, dance and theatre performances, club nights, mouth-watering street food. Some of the highlights are likely to be a performance of F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1920s classic novel, The Great Gatsby.

Ticket prices for VAULT start at £5 and performances run from Wednesday to Sunday.

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Other Cool Ideas

Cronut, Belgravia

If you’ve not yet tried the Cronut, New York’s creative combo of croissant and doughnut, you’ve now got the chance – right here in London. Instead of travelling two thousand miles, you only need to get yourself to Elizabeth Street in Belgravia where French-born pastry chef Dominique Ansel has opened his first UK branch.

Opening from 8am Monday – Saturday, with queues starting around an hour before there’s even a two-cronut pastries limit per person – yes they’re that popular and rightfully so!

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The Hardihood

The Hardihood cake coinsure girls have us drooling over their Instagram feed with the most deliciously colourful cakes in London. If you’re a big baking fan, then Hardihood is going to make all of your dreams come true. Their ethos of ‘healthy cakes’ that look great and taste even better is going to be a real game changer in the sweet treat industry.

Completely free from refined sugar, gluten and any chemical nasties, these cakes are the perfect snack if you’ve gone from eating pigs in blankets to becoming a pig in a blanket over the Christmas period.

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3D Puzzle Furniture

We’re super excited about the concept of 3D puzzle furniture, something that Bureau Spectacular have brought to life in LA’s Art District. White brick walls, hanging lights and exposed timber rafters come together to form a Tetris style formation, duped as ‘super-furniture’.

Each piece has a set of wheels, meaning the units can be wheeled together to become a 28-foot-long stair for events. Bureau Spectacular founder Jimenez Lai’s work straddles the fascinating line between architecture, art, sculpture, and graphic design – and we love it!

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