LONDON — It has been a long time coming, but the refurbishment of 195 Piccadilly, the dilapidated headquarters of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, is finally done and dusted.
Chairman Duncan Kenworthy is quick to stress that “it would be hard to exaggerate the complexity of coordinating, completing and paying for two major building projects,” referring to the upgrade of the run-down interiors as well as the restoration of the sieve-like glass roofs, the responsibility of the building’s landlords.
Funding the $3.7 million project has been particularly troublesome. BAFTA is set up as a charity and relies on members’ annual subscriptions, coin from the nine BAFTA award bashes, corporate backing and the generosity of donors to stay afloat.
In addition to making the premises a more pleasant place to work, the relaunch aims to position BAFTA as the premier private members media clubhouse in the West End. The press blurb promises a “new hospitality philosophy” for BAFTA. The philosophy is the brainchild of new general manager Sion Parry, formerly of the Royal Festival Hall’s People’s Palace eatery.