I initially didn’t know where to hold a launch party for One Aware. Sam and I had discussed having a party at length - but as the days rushed past and the magazine costs went up, a party looked more and more like something we'd have to say farewell to. I was looking into different bars in London, but didn’t feel happy about what I was finding. I was working on a tight budget and needed the venue to be aligned with the brand’s values. For some reason, I had failed to consider Qbic until this one day I was browsing Instagram and saw a post about Friday’s at their bar.
The bar is quirky and stylish, without being one of those places that is ‘trying too hard’. And because it is part of London's most sustainable hotel, they are already aligned with Be For Change values in everything they do - down to using metal straws in their drinks!
Making preparations with Qbic was surprisingly simple and painless. Their Community and Social Manager, Nathalie, was there for me every step of the way and made me feel confident in how things were being handled ahead of the event. From making the cocktails vegan to re-arranging the furniture, my requests were quickly turned into reality. The two following photos were taken at our meeting the week before launch - and yes, I did finish one of those cocktails... You know, just to make sure that every last drop of it was delicious ;)
On the day of the launch I took plenty of photos ahead of the event... but completely forgot to grab my phone or camera anytime after the first guests arrived! So here's a mix of my photos and those taken by our guests - there's even a surprising number of photos with me in them (something really has changed here!).
This was not my first time at Qbic London - I initially found out about them when I was looking for the perfect set for the photos in the article 'My Relationship With Desire'. I knew I wanted every aspect of the magazine to be sustainable, including the bedroom setting of our photos. After considering ordering new bed linen to use in someone's house (would anyone let me photograph their Airbnb property for free?), I thought 'how about a hotel?'.
My first instinct was to question that thought. 'Does London even have a sustainable hotel?!' I decided to Google it. 'Is this search going to show me all the green-washing advertisement of big chains?!' I wondered as I typed. Google gave me a list of 'sustainable' hotels, and I was breathing deeply to calm myself as I undoubtedly entered into a goose chase. I opened the first five websites into separate tabs, and stupidly started from the bottom. As I read the third website, I was actually feeling calmer - this one doesn't look too bad! It genuinely looked like they were making progress in the right direction. The fourth was even better! And by the time I opened the 'sustainability' tab of the last one, I realized my mistake in not looking at it first.
As surely you've guessed it by now, this tab belonged to Qbic. I was immediately impressed by their long list of 'Green Credentials'. Solar panels on the roof, recycling done independently from the burrough, no plastic bottles in sight, 100% chemical free cleaning products,... the list goes on! Their water and energy savings probably rival most households, let along what is the industry standard. Just to put things into perspective, in 2016 they saved: enough electricity to boil 321k+ kettles, enough water to fill almost 217k bathtubs, enough gas to bake 216k cakes and enough CO2 to drive around the world 125 times!!!
And... drum roll... they have recycled bikes that their guests can use for free! (I want that in every city I go to, please!)
If you ever find yourself in East London, I highly recommend stopping by Qbic. In fact, I highly recommend going to East London on purpose - make a date of it with your favourite friends, because their zero-waste cocktails are worth it! (and each cocktail is a fiver during happy hour *wink wink*). Is there anything better than an amazing new find that is aligned with your values and fairly priced? Life just doesn't get better than this.
While you're there, help yourself to a copy of One Aware and have a look! They are there to be read :D