Conveniently located on the ground floor of our elegant Mayfair venue, the Conversation Room is a large versatile space with a modern twist on our traditional regency décor.
This contemporary-styled space offers floor-to-ceiling bookcases, high quality integrated AV and expansive windows, allowing natural daylight to fill the room.
The Conversation Room has always been a space to learn and discuss albeit not in its current form. While many of the rooms in 21 Albemarle Street were transformed when the Royal Institution took up residence the ground floor spaces to the right of the Grand Entrance were not initially altered. The nearest space to the grand entrance was used for the reading of foreign newspapers and the further space used as a temporary library. Circa 1866 the partition between these rooms was removed together with a staircase connecting the old library to the basement and one large space was created.
In 1935, after cracks began to appear in the upper spaces on the Albemarle Street side, a steel frame had to be inserted into the building. As part of this major reconstruction the fine plasterwork ceilings were introduced ‘to preserve and extend the Adam style of which the existing Staircase Hall was such a fine example’ as a Building Committee Minute of December 1929 put it. The Grand Staircase was strengthened and the Conversation Room remodelled to its present form.
The modern style and colour scheme harks back to the Regency era with sumptuous magenta carpets, marble fireplaces and floor to ceiling bookcases. The Royal Institution is a unique historic venue that blends heritage spaces with modern design to create an exceptional event environment. Perfect for couture fashion shows, private viewings, product launches, board meetings or evening receptions; the Conversation Room is a great space to bring people together.
When you hire the Conversation Room, you'll also have exclusive hire of the Mezzanine, a modern event space which acts as the perfect drinks reception venue for a corporate dinner event in the Conversation Room.
Before a major building refurbishment in 2008, the Mezzanine was a chemical laboratory and part of the Davy Faraday Research Laboratory (DFRL). Home to some of the most significant chemical discoveries from Professors of the Royal Institution included Davy's isolation of sodium and the declaration of chlorine as an unidentified element. Sodium, Chlorine and Iodine and just three of the elements discovered here and each has played a key role in modern society.
The Mezzanine is also home to the striking spiral sculpture which consists of 69 scientific objects from the Spottiswoode Collection, part of the Faraday Museum’s collection. William Spottiswoode worked with his father for the Queen's Printer, before becoming fascinated with experimental physics and researched light polarisation. He was Treasurer of the Royal Institution from 1865, before becoming Secretary in 1873.
In 1899, 16 years after Spottiswoode's death, his son Hugo donated his father's fascinating collection of scientific instruments as a gift commemorating the centenary of the Royal Institution’s founding. In 2008, this dramatic ceiling structure comprising of some of Spottiswoode's collection was installed, and it remains a focal point of the Royal Institution’s Mezzanine space for your guests to enjoy.