In spring 2014, demolition began on Sydney’s 25-year-old Convention and Exhibition Centre to make way (eventually) for the larger, more modern International Convention Centre Sydney. The move was not without controversy: A few Australian architects denounced the demolition, asserting that it showed faulty urban planning. Some groups, such as Rotary International, had to scramble to relocate previously booked meetings to alternative venues. Yet for Sydney, the government of New South Wales, and other assorted supporters, the AUD $1.5 billion investment in the center — due to open in December 2016 — would pay off with more international meetings and a reinvigorated Darling Harbour district.
With its undulating, two-level design, massive event deck, and 376,000 feet of space, the ICC Sydney will be no slouch when it comes to convention centers. Yet the center’s marketing team is not depending solely on a stunning design or harborside location to attract business: They’ve released a sleek, smartly written magazine, Sydney Views, to help build the center’s identity long before opening day.
Rather than a thinly-veiled sales brochure, the elegant look and feel of Sydney Views is reminiscent of the magazines Monocle or Alquimie (another brand magazine with the same feel is Renaissance Hotels’ The Navigator). The 16-page Spring/Summer 2015 edition (yep, it’s spring Down Under) blends advertorial-esque copy (an editor’s letter from ICC Sydney chief executive officer Geoff Donaghy, promoting the center; a feature focusing on the center’s architecture) with Q&As with a local “serial entrepreneur,” and the director of the Sydney Festival; a walk-through of the Sydney Fish Market with ICC Sydney executive chef, Tony Panetta; and articles such as “A foodie’s guide to Sydney precincts.” Yeah, it’s marketing, but delivered in a stylish, engaging format that makes you want to keep Sydney Views on your desk for awhile rather tossing it into the recycling bin.
Sydney Views also paints a picture of a convention center that will serve to anchor a thriving creative and lifestyle hub. In his editor’s letter, Donaghy notes that the convention centre “is a short walk to the CBD, set on sparkling Sydney Harbour, and is positioned to be the beating heart of a rejuvenated Sydney.” Yet sometimes, unrivaled physical position and a striking design isn’t enough: A venue needs to build its relationship with clients and delegates — and in a world where meetings are booked years in advance, it’s never too soon to start.