TRAVEL - INTERVIEW
Thursday, August 2, 2018
Ronald Ndoro, Founder of LIBRARY Private Members Club London
TRAVEL - INTERVIEW
by Beren Dere
LIBRARY is located in the heart of London’s theatreland. Ronald Ndoro is the Founder of LIBRARY and he describes LIBRARY by this words "LIBRARY is created for members to be able to stay the whole day without having to leave for anything. They can work here, meet friends, have business meetings, hold or attend an event, get a hotel room for the night, grab a coffee and a bite for lunch and then stay for dinner and a cocktail. We essentially want the members to feel that LIBRARY is a home away from home". In order to learn more about LIBRARY, I talked to Ronald Ndoro, Creator of this idea and Founder of LIBRARY.
Ronald, before start talking about LIBRARY, I would like to learn more about you. Could you briefly tell us about your 20 years of professional career and your successes as a serial entrepreneur?
I started my career with the Financial Times, had a short legal stint at Slaughter & May and helped to set up Digitaldance.com during the dot com boom. Digitaldance.com evolved into Clubtickets.com, the UK and Ibiza’s largest club ticketing website. In 2009 I founded and set up MyCityVenue.com a website to source and find venues which were sold and acquired by SecretEscapes.com in 2014.
I am currently working on around 9 projects across 4 continents. I’ve worked with global luxury brands, musicians, artists, celebrities and even brought the oldest running show in the world to London - Crazy Horse - and was featured on ITV during the news at 6pm and 10pm.
Alongside my more creative roles, I maintain a key role in Ndoro Children's Charities, which focuses on rebuilding and funding small communities in Africa with an initial focus on Zimbabwe and as Director of Ibex Earth, an organisation committed to developing projects and raising awareness of threatened ecosystems’ and habitats.
How did you decide to establish LIBRARY? Could you tell us the story behind the idea of LIBRARY?
Prior to LIBRARY I opened private members club Apartment 58 in the CenterPointbuilding, but as a result of the redevelopment in the area, I went looking for a new space and fortunately stumbled upon the building which has now become LIBRARY.
Up until that time, I had also been running the charities from our offices in North London, but decided to relocate. The only problem was that we had thousands of books that needed to be put somewhere. So, I brought all the books to the club and started putting them up. I love books but don’t have time to read them, so I thought why not surround myself?
I think that you designed LIBRARY as a place that people would like to be in. How would you define LIBRARY? Could you tell us about LIBRARY and overall concept?
I would define LIBRARY as transformational. We spent a lot of time building the space. The focus was to try to create dark and light zones, with the concept ‘out of the dark and into the light’. The idea behind it was to design a space that transforms throughout the day and the evening and at the same time, it transforms you as a person by allowing you to experience your own personal journey. In fact, at LIBRARY you can come in, pick up a book that inspires you and take it home. Everything from the space, the events, the food and our lifestyle offering is curated to facilitate a transformative journey for everyone that uses the space.
When it comes to our values, we spent a lot of time ensuring we build and grow sustainably. We upcycle and recycle a lot. Most of the furniture was sourced from a charity called Out of the Dark based in High Wycombe. Before we opened Library we hosted a number of events, taking all the used bottles and crushing them to create our two bars.
Where is LIBRARY located? Could you tell us about the historic building that you are located in and its design details?
We are located in Covent Garden. The building was erected in 1891 by Walter Emden. The building was under many occupations including cabinet makers, lamp makers, picture dealers, and art dealers. Where our bar and mezzanine live used to be a courtyard, when I took it over it was basically a building site. I created the club from scratch and when you eat in our restaurant, St Lukes Kitchen, you can see the remnants of the courtyard.
Please tell us about LIBRARY Membership. How many different plans do you offer? What are the benefits and advantages of being a member?
We offer 5 memberships. Annual, special, under 30s, and corporate along with day passes for visitors to sample what the club has to offer. Member benefits include access to our reciprocal clubs around the world, a spectacular cultural calendar of events, complimentary theatre tickets, a unique points rewards scheme, partnerships with the English and National Opera, Gymbox, NIMAX Theatres and more.
Is it possible to live the atmosphere of LIBRARY without having any membership?
If you are invited to LIBRARY you’ll get a glimpse into what it means to be a member but, in to get the best experience and receive all of the benefits you’ll need to become a member. I’d recommend anyone considering joining to purchase a day pass and come and enjoy some food and a cocktail and get a feel for the space.
LIBRARY is host to St. Luke's Kitchen. Could you tell us about St. Luke's Kitchen and the Chef Michal Zajac? What are your favorite dishes in St. Luke's Kitchen?
The stained glass at the bottom of the stairs leading down from the Mezzanine and down to the restaurant was sourced from a Church in Yorkshire.
One of them bears St Luke and hence the name St. Luke’s Kitchen. Chef Michal is an excellent chef and consistently keeps the menu fresh and exciting, bringing new dishes in each season. My favourite dishes on our current summer a la carte menu would be the burrata salad and the Chicken Liver and Foie Gras Parfait served with charcoal brioche & pickled onions.
What kind of events do you host?
We have what I think is one of the best cultural engagement programs in the UK. We have a fully curated events calendar ranging from cerebral to hedonistic, which means that every day there is something for members to engage in. Our content is created by and for the members, and includes book launches, live music, art workshops, panel discussions, guest DJ’s and much more.
What features of LIBRARY sets it apart from other clubs in London?
I think our focus area is different to anyone else. We engage people passionate about literature, theatre and design and given our central location we have an authentic voice in that space. Because of our location and our emphasis on the literature we attract a unique membership that sets us apart from the competition.
There are different sized rooms in LIBRARY. What are their features? Is it possible to stay as a non-member?
There are about 10 000 sq. ft. arranged over 7 floors, including 2 levels of ground floors. At the top of the building, we find the six bedrooms. They are open for everyone to book, though members have priority and get a 20% discount. Moving to the floors below, there is a lounge with a mezzanine and beneath that, there is the main ground floor with a stage and the main bar. On the next level of the ground floor there is our restaurant and on the lower ground floor, you’ll find a versatile space which can be used for members events, private hire, working and so on. Finally, there is a reception in the front of the building that is filled with books and gifts which is open to the public.
Please tell us about your services and amenities. How could your members spend time at LIBRARY? What type of different experiences could your guests live in your club?
The space is created for members to be able to stay the whole day without having to leave for anything. They can work here, meet friends, have business meetings, hold or attend an event, get a hotel room for the night, grab a coffee and a bite for lunch and then stay for dinner and a cocktail.
What kind of additional services do you offer for business travelers?
We offer meeting rooms, hotel rooms, free wifi, work space and an exquisite food and drinks menu.
How can travelers make their individual or business/group reservations?
They would make their reservations with our membership manager or reception by calling the club or contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which is the top season for travelers who want to visit London? What is the reason? What are the most famous attractions near you?
That’s a hard one because of course summer is one of the best times to visit London. London in the summertime is vibrant, everyone is happy and we all know how miserable it can be when it’s pouring with rain but, in winter you have winter wonderland which is round the corner in Hyde Park and who doesn’t love the atmosphere at Christmas?! The most famous attractions near us are Trafalgar Square, Chinatown, Piccadilly Circus + a few more, we are in the heart of central London everything you may want to see is literally within 5 minutes.
If you have only one weekend in London as a first-time visitor, in this limited time, what are the best things to do?
This completely depends on one’s taste - London has become quite foodie-centric so there are lots of great spaces to eat including our restaurant St Lukes Kitchen. We are also in London’s theatreland so we are surrounded by theatres and there are lots of great shows on all the time.
How do you describe London in one sentence?
London is by far the most cosmopolitan, diverse and eclectic city in the world, not to mention its rich history, heritage and architectural beauty - there is no greater city in the world!
Thank you Ronald for this enjoyable interview.