The 600 square meter EDF Pavilion is described by MET Studio as "a giant, semi-open tensile structure made of recyclable materials and covered in a perforated mesh". It was created to stand for the duration of the games, from the opening ceremony right through to the end of the Paralympics on September 9th 2012.
The MET Studio team was briefed to showcase and celebrate EDF’s involvement with London 2012. "The over-arching theme", explained MET Studio Associate Peter Karn, "was to communicate to visitors how essential electricity is to our everyday lives. Every exhibit and graphic within the Pavilion links back to our experience of electricity at a human level and this forms the organising principle behind the exhibit."
Information from MET Studio:
The visitor experience begins outside the Pavilion in the approach area, where four huge-scale totems are located. One features a welcome message, another a greeting from a young girl who is to become the ‘host’ of the indoor experience and the final two feature two athletes from the games (Team GB cyclist Victoria Pendleton and French swimmer Yannick Agnel). Visitors are given instructions on how to download and use a special augmented-reality phone App which allows them to take a real-time, highly-realistic photo with the athlete, which appears to show the athlete walking out of the totem towards the visitor. The App then has many further features which can be used within the interior experience. These include holding the phone up to images which come to life and play videos.
Once inside, the brand experience begins with a short film commissioned by EDF and art-directed by MET Studio, with direction by Gary Shaw, which runs on a timed-entry loop on a semi-circular, 140 degree wraparound screen. The film centres on the dreams of a young girl who wants to be an Olympic athlete and shows how electricity brings her dream to life via television and the internet, or its use in powering athletics’ training or powering the Olympics stadium itself. At the heart of the film, human emotion and aspirations are featured rather than more technological explanations of electricity production.
The interior of the Pavilion is dominated by a massive, 60m-long ribbon structure, made of a steel and tensile sub-frame with a digitally-printed fabric cladding, featuring a story on each side. The shape of the ribbon is inspired by EDF’s occasion-specific branding for the Olympics, representing the flow of electricity. As well as flowing through the space with visitor access to either side, the ribbon also dramatically sweeps up to the 6m-high ceiling at the far end in order to wrap around and highlight the second major internal feature of the Pavilion – the interactive area.
Hubert Blanquefort, director of the EDF Pavilion project, commented "We’re really pleased with the response from visitors to the EDF Pavilion. We want to share the magic of electricity through a really fun approach – the dance pads, using hand pedals to power thousands of LED lights – and everyone has really got into that. We have designed the building to be modern and sustainable making the best use of up to date, energy-efficient technology. It’s all about entertaining, informing and inspiring our visitors. We’ve had lots of families finding out about low carbon energy and it’s been great to meet so many people here for the Games."
*Leading experiential design agency MET Studio has created the exhibit for EDF, the official partner of and electricity supplier to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, housed in a purpose-built Pavilion (designed by architects Schmidhuber) within the London 2012 Olympic Park. MET Studio joined a team of leading European creatives on the project, including Schmidhuber and event management company Iluka, who co-ordinated the overall project on behalf of EDF.
Photography Credit: Gareth Gardner
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