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Canary Wharf: How The Pelligon breathes new life into the East Wintergarden

Broadwick has refurbished and renamed Cesar Pelli’s events space, making it a blank canvas for organisers

The East Wintergarden has been renamed The Pelligon – image Henry Woide

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Having served the Canary Wharf estate for 21 years, the East Wintergarden is no more.

Well, not exactly. The exaggerated steel and glass barrel vault of the events venue’s roof will continue to preside over functions – but new operator Broadwick has given the place a makeover.    

The Pelligon – renamed for the building’s architect, Cesar Pelli – has seen its original interior replaced with a more functional, blank canvas – leaving clients free to dress and adapt the space to their needs.

Gone is the zig-zag marble floor, the warm brown panelling, the glass balustrades and Cesar’s trademark stainless steel.

Instead Broadwick has gone for white cladding and a practical dark rubber underfoot with a lighting rig tastefully sprayed in unobtrusive matte black. 

“Canary Wharf Group is quite keen on developing culture on the estate and, now we’ve moved our office to Wood Wharf and launched Broadwick Studio underneath, this looked like a good opportunity to bring the East Wintergarden into the 21st century,” said Simon Tracey, group CEO at Broadwick, during a sneak peek of the venue this month.

“We’ve gone for a very simple palette, trying to make it as neutral and hybrid as possible, that is our strategy.

The interior of the venue has been given a neutral makeover with new spiral staircases so guests can easily access the mezzanine level – image Spaces And Stories

“You could do literally anything in this space and we’ve installed state-of-the-art production facilities to make that as easy as possible.

“What we try to do is to imagine making events simple for organisers – so The Pelligon has got great access and is a totally blank canvas space, allowing brands to put their stamp on the place – it’s very exciting.

“We’ve done three things to the building itself.

“We’ve simplified the colour scheme and brought it up to date.

“We’ve improved the flow of the venue – the mezzanine used only to be accessible from outside the main hall, so we’ve put in two staircases and we’re also now using the front doors as the front doors.

“Then finally, we’ve updated the back of house facilities including extending the kitchen facilities, which were previously too small to cater for the kind of events people wanted to do here.

“We’ve given it everything it needs to operate as a modern day venue with a vibrant feel.”

Following its rebirth as The Pelligon, Wharfers can expect a number of public events as well as private affairs – delivering a bit of a cultural boost to the southern edge of the estate.

“The original East Wintergarden was designed as a utility space for Canary Wharf, but I think even they would say it’s a fantastic location in need of updating,” said Simon.

The mezzanine level can now be accessed from the main hall – image Spaces And Stories

“What they were interested in, when talking to us, was preserving it as an amazing space for conferences and weddings, but also attracting brand experiences and launches.

“We’ll also be working to our skill-set in terms of music and consumer-led awards ceremonies, jazz festivals and gigs. 

“Now the space is more of a blank canvas – it opens it up and Canary Wharf is turning into a place where people don’t just come to work, but also to visit, to live and play.

“We’re very much part of that journey.

“Because of the type of business Broadwick is, when people come to our offices, they are routinely amazed by what Canary Wharf has become.

“From a predominantly financial business district, it’s changed into something entirely different and a thriving residential area.

“People need culture and – Broadwick believes that and Canary Wharf Group believes it. Collectively we can bring that to the estate.”

Located minutes from the main Jubilee line exit and a short walk from Canary Wharf’s Elizabeth Line station, The Pelligon is well placed for incoming audiences as well as local businesses who may wish to use the waterside venue for their own events.

It’s a venue Broadwick is keen to see thrive, having relocated its operation to the Wharf while British Land works on updating Printworks London at Canada Water – part of a 12-year regeneration of 53 acres on the other side of the river.

But the completion of that project – expected in 2027 – won’t see Broadwick abandon the Wharf.

“We will be moving our entertainment team back there, because it will once again become a big venue – but we’ll be retaining staff here,” said Simon.

“We have a lot of venues across east London and there seem to be a lot of opportunities in this part of the capital.

“Broadwick has its heritage in festivals and we’re still in that world, but those events can be very up and down.

“One wet date and it takes the business a couple of years to recover.

“What running venues does is enable you both to control the weather and to finesse what it is you’re doing in those places every single week.

“With annual festivals you have a debrief, you learn things, but it takes an entire year to put them into practice.

“With a venue, we can sit down right away and analyse what went well and what didn’t. Did we have enough bars?

“Were there enough toilets? What was the customer experience like?

“Were the staffing numbers right? What was the feedback on socials?

The Pelligon dressed for an event – image Spaces And Stories

“We’re fanatical about that process and we can react immediately.

“What’s most important for Broadwick is creating amazing experiences for people and running venues allows us to do that better.

“We’re also a property development company at heart.

“We’ll look at opportunities, develop spaces, turn them into events and leisure venues – then put our own content in and take them to market.

“We’re always interested in talking to as many people as possible because we’re not big enough on our own to activate all our venues. 

“Fortunately there’s a whole world of brands, corporates, film and TV companies who we love to work with.

“Our model is to build these spaces and develop them so they are as good as they can be. Then we’ll back them by using them ourselves and work with other people as well.”

Into that mix drops The Pelligon.

But what will Broadwick’s clients do with it?

key details

The Pelligon is now available for event bookings including conferences, brand launches, performances and weddings.

The venue can accommodate up to 1,000 guests depending on the set-up and extends to some 900sq m of space.

Find out more about The Pelligon here

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- Jon Massey is co-founder and editorial director of Wharf Life and writes about a wide range of subjects in Canary Wharf, Docklands and east London - contact via
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