Fourteen months before the 2nd Brunei Darussalam International Defence Exhibition and Conference (BRIDEX) was to be held between August 12 and 15 last year, not a few people expressed concern over whether the new conference and exhibition centre would be completed on time.
All the worry proved unfounded when the sultanate’s newest events venue was unveiled with great aplomb. Royalty from Brunei and Jordan, headed by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and King Abdullah II, as well as top-ranked military guests from around the world, attended the opening of the BRIDEX show.
The purpose-built BRIDEX Centre, the permanent home of the defence and security show, has become an instant landmark with its easily recognisable dome structure, separating the east and west wings of the exhibition hall.
The BRIDEX Centre sits on a 10.52ha prime ocean-facing site in Jerudong. The centre is built within the lush surroundings of the Royal Brunei and Polo Riding Club.
The centre is around 15 minutes’ drive from Brunei International Airport and a 20-minute drive from the central business district of Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei’s capital.
The BRIDEX Centre comprises two parts: a two-storey building housing the Conference Hall and a one-storey Exhibition Hall. These two structures stand in close proximity, although it requires a short walk on an unshaded path between the buildings.
“Despite the global economic downturn, there has been an impressive take-up rate for the event,” said Lieutenant Colonel Amir Hamzah Bin Haji Hanafi, chief executive of Royal Brunei Technical Services, which is the organiser of the BRIDEX show.
There were 250 exhibiting companies from 25 participating countries at BRIDEX 2009, completely occupying the 10,000sqm Exhibition Hall with military equipment ranging from weapons, uniforms, tents, mobile kitchens and army tanks to naval boats.
Despite the heavy machinery on display, exhibitors did not have a difficult time with the set-up and tear-down periods. Both the East Wing and the West Wing of the Exhibition Hall are column-free and have a 3m-high ceiling, specifically designed to accommodate heavy military vehicles.
With its vast floor area, the air-conditioned hall was able to comfortably contain the massive displays in the booths, the exhibitors as well as 300 VIP delegates from 40 countries.
The BRIDEX Centre also boasts a 5,000sqm outdoor area, which makes it a suitable venue for open-air events. At the 2009 BRIDEX, it was the site of an impressive air show that featured the latest lines of fighter and military planes.
The Conference Hall next door serves as the venue for opening ceremonies, welcome and gala dinners as well as meetings and conferences. The main banquet hall, located on the ground floor, can sit 700 guests for a dinner and can accommodate up to 1,000 people in theatre-style seating.
At the recent Asean Tourism Forum (ATF) held at the centre in January, the banquet hall was used for a variety of purposes. Among them was the TRAVEX component of the event, which brought together 400 hosted buyers and 400 sellers for one-on-one business meetings.
Another event was the Malaysian Night, which transformed the hall into an elegantly decorated ballroom.
The second floor of the Conference Hall has six function rooms for breakout sessions and smaller meetings. During ATF, the area was used to house the media centre and press-briefing rooms.
The BRIDEX Centre also has a fully equipped business centre, a mobility park, a marina and a 700-space car park. A key feature is its high-speed connectivity that allows visitors – both delegates and exhibitors – to go online anywhere within the centre.
Within six months of opening last August, the two high-profile events held at The BRIDEX Centre show that the facility is a flexible venue that can be configured to meet the requirements of event organisers for meetings, conferences and exhibitions.
Banquet Hall: 700 for sit-down dinner and 1,000 people in theatre-style-seating
Exhibition Hall: the 10,000sqm space divided into an East and West Wings
5,000sqm outdoor area, business centre, a marina and a 700-slot car park
The BRIDEX Centre
The Royal Brunei Polo and Riding Club
Negara Brunei Darussalam
tel: 673 2 383718