RIBA’s Victoria Gordon-Ingram tells us about the new garden at Florence Hall, breakfast with Will Young and an unexpected
visit from Michael Jackson

RIBA - Vicky - Venue_Vendor_-_Victoria_at_RIBA_073.jpgMy name is Victoria Gordon-Ingram.
I am event manager at RIBA.
I have worked here since May 2000.
They call me ‘Vicky Venues’.
I’ve been in the events industry for the past 11 years, nine of which have been at RIBA. 
My first event was a lavish country wedding, working for an event catering company in Bath. It snowed heavily and the venue was a barn at the end of an isolated country lane. All the taxis and coaches that were due to pick up the guests were calling me saying they couldn’t get down the lane – I ended up having to give guests lifts home in my car!
I’ll always remember a Uri Geller book launch we held here a few years ago. Michael Jackson was due to be Uri’s best man at his wedding the next day and decided to turn up to the book launch. GMTV leaked it to the paparazzi that morning (we had no prior warning) and Portland Place was immediately full of screaming fans. Luckily it was a flying visit!
The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt so far is that you’re only as good as the people around you.
People always comment on RIBA’s flexibility. We have 23 different rooms and event spaces here and each is very different in character.
I particularly like the Florence Hall and its outdoor terrace. It’s a real hidden gem and clients are always surprised at the size of the space. It’s beautifully modern and minimal and doesn’t have that standard combo of patterned carpet and chandeliers that you see in so many other large banqueting spaces.
You may be surprised to hear that we do the best breakfast in town. According to Will Young that is, but we are inclined to agree!
Recently, we ran a competition, open to architects and garden designers, to redesign our two outside terraces and balcony. Dan Pearson Studios won and, come September, you’ll see new mosaic flooring, two living walls and 120 birch trees planted across the back of the Florence Hall terrace.
After an event, you’ll find me – predictably I know – in our local, The Mason’s Arms, with my team and a large glass of wine
When I need inspiration I brainstorm with my team. I always find the best ideas come from bouncing thoughts around the office.
Later this year, I’m looking forward to going to New York for the first time. I’ll be staying with a friend, shopping and drinking lots of Cosmopolitans.
In 10 years’ time I want to be on the gap year I never had.
My famous last words will be ‘life is like a fine wine and I’ve enjoyed every drop’. Cheesy I know but I hope it will be the case.

RIBA6 - 0901_RIBA_General_Views_(5).jpgRoyal Institute of British Architects,
66 Portland Place
tel: 020 7307 3888,

This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, summer 2009