I went to the launch of Microsoft’s new super-slick Internet Explorer 9 browser last night in the stunning surroundings of The Hospital Club in Covent Garden. The exciting news is that Gorillaz is partnering with Microsoft. The unveiling took place in front of an intimate crowd including none other than Gorillaz co-founders Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett.
We sat in the minimal Studio room, which had been decked out for the event with white leather Barcelona benches and white walls (*sadly I couldn’t take pictures, but I thought it was very Clockwork Orange meets Blur’s Universal video!). The Gorillaz design team, those charming fellas called ‘Zombie Flesh Eaters’, have created a breathtaking HTML5 version of the site, with video and music streaming and 3D-rendered graphics that whizz around faster than Usain Bolt. Other Microsoft partners include Rough Guides and BMW. But not only was I super impressed by IE9 and, eherm, Monsieur Albarn, but I couldn’t help but drool over every inch of décor at the stunning London location too…
Just take a look at The Hospital Club’s 2nd floor Belini bar, for example. It features wallpaper by acclaimed artist Julie Verhoven.
Now a glamorous private members’ club, The Hospital Club was indeed a hospital, established in 1749 as a maternity venue for ‘the distressed poor – married women only’ and moved to its base in Endell Street in 1915. It was closed in 1992 and transformed into what it is today in 2004, with bars and a restaurant as well as recording studio, HD TV studio, art gallery and online network to encourage its members’ creativity. It still remains true to its philanthropic roots and since launching has provided 16 flats of affordable housing, created a new community meeting and activity space and founded and funded a new Youth Arts Charity, developed by Miss Dynamite and Plan B. Bit of alright that.
The 4th floor Martini lounge is rather fab too. With a balcony and views across London, it’s the perfect place to sip a cocktail and watch the sunset over The London Eye.
The Forest Room is equally eye catching – see if you can spot the fox on the wall…
Even the reception is filled with interesting detail…
Here’s the studio where the launch was held before it was decked out – just so you can get an idea of the cool, icy Clockwork Orange style I’m referring to!
And ooh check out Murdoc from the Gorillaz sitting on that luxurious, modular leather chair and super stylish lampshade ;> Last night he described Gorillaz.com through Internet Explorer 9 Beta “like a Wizard’s Portal!”. The event was certainly magical too.
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