The Czech Embassy in Notting Hill was transformed into a light installation and all-sensory showcase of the best of Czech, to toast its reopening after a two-year, £4.1m refurbishment.
Ambassador Libor Secka, Czech Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Martin Smolek and Lord Anderson of Swansea kicked off proceedings with the ribbon cutting, after which the party got into full swing.
The raspy voice of Czech pop sensation Lenny beguiled guests who were then engrossed by the theatrical performances of artists František Skála and Petr Nikl and dazzled by light installations Resonator and Monolith. Even passengers driving by on the 148 Bus in Notting Hill Gate were thrilled by the illuminated façade of the Embassy building in the colours of the national tricolour.
No Czech party is complete without loads of food and drink including Pilsner Urquell beer and Moravian wines. The world-renowned theatrical mixologist Pavel Tvaroh (left) concocted his potions dressed, appropriately, as a construction worker in a hi-viz vest. On the menu was a cocktail made of becherovka and tonic, called Beton (which also happens to be a type of concrete). The stuff was mixed in industrial quantities – in a concrete mixer!
Those interested in the nuts and bolts of the reconstruction of the 50-year-old Brutalist monolith – which retains its avant-garde edge – could head to the renovated underground cinema for a documentary by architect Adam Gebrian.
At the end of the evening, guests piled into the photo booth, Fotonaut, to take a memento of an unforgettable evening.
The new building reunites all the Czech agencies under one roof – ready for the grand centenary celebrations in 2018.