Chatham House - St James’s Square

Fileturn was commissioned to refurbish the conference hall and a number of function rooms at London's famous Chatham House, home to the Royal Institute of International Affairs and originator of the 'Chatham House rule' guaranteeing free speech by protecting the anonymity of the speaker. Fileturn was also appointed to carry out an external upgrade package.

Fileturn's skills and experience in handling conservation work were vital in overcoming the three major challenges the project presented.

The first was the need to preserve and restore the original style of the historic Grade I listed building – which dates back over 250 years and was home to three Prime Ministers in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Chatham House had not been updated for some time and featured anachronistic details such as surface-mounted cables and plastic switches. The building's lighting also needed to be improved. Fileturn sourced the highest quality heritage paints, fabrics and fittings and worked sensitively to accommodate modern comforts while conveying faithfully the building's Georgian style.

The second challenge was the need to minimise disruption to the work of the Royal Institute, which regularly hosts ministers of state and international VIPs at its discussion forums. Night work was made more difficult by restrictions on noise in the area during the hours of darkness.

The third challenge was access. The main Joseph Gregaro Hall, used for conferences, was in the basement of the neighbouring building with awkward access. In addition, Chatham House's location in a heritage area in the heart of London meant that parking was not allowed outside and access for deliveries was limited.