Saturday, 26 July 2014
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Land Design creates O2 British Music Experience

By Emily Pacey

Land Design Studio has revealed details of The O2 British Music Experience, a £9m permanent digital interactive exhibition due to open at London's former Millennium Dome in March.

Occupying a 2000m2 space on level two of The O2 bubble, BME will be the venue's first permanent exhibition.

The US-based Anschutz Entertainment Group, which operates The O2, appointed Land in 2007, following a creative unpaid pitch against three other consultancies. AEG briefed it to develop 'graphics, architecture and concepts', according to Land creative director Peter Higgins.

Upon entering the new space, visitors will watch a five-minute 'highly designed' video on how to use the exhibition, narrated by TV presenter Lauren Laverne, says Higgins.

He describes the space, which is split down the middle by a giant yellow supporting pylon, as 'very complicated'. 'We decided to use the pylon as a starting point, making it the centrepiece and wrapping a circular screen around it,' explains Higgins. The installation will explore different aspects of music, including the evolution of the music video.

Radiating out from the pylon will be 'edge zones', which will depict different pop eras using soundless projections of pop legends and 'dinner party tables'.

Strewn with original memorabilia and artefacts, the tables will feature screens showing pop stars including Joe Brown and Cliff Richard 'discussing' music.

As they leave, visitors will pass through a three-sided audiovisual projection that aims to give them the sensation that they are performing on stage. 'It is an experiential box, highly immersive and full of sound and visual effects,' says Higgins. In the evening, the exit zone will transform into a corporate events space that can seat up to 300 people. Land is working with three software design groups that it recommended to AEG/ Studio Simple, Clay Interactive and ISO Design. It is also working with sound designer Peter Key and lighting designer David Atkinson on the exhibition.

The O2 is looking for a new owner, it emerged at the weekend. Property advisers acting for The O2 site's owners, Quintain Estates and Lend Lease, are seeking new investors for the venue, which claims to be the most popular live music venue in the world, last year bumping Madison Square Garden in New York from the top spot.

The British Music Experience will open on 9 March.

History of the o2:

• In the mid-1990s, Imagination made a joint bid to design the first exhibition ever to be held at the Millennium Dome

• Imagination's early ideas included creating an exhibition in 12 separate pavilions

• Consultancies HP:ICM, Imagination and Zaha Hadid, Eva Jiricna Architects and Jasper Jacob Associates were engaged to create the Millennium Experience exhibition, which ran from 1 January to 31 December 2000

• In 2007, The O2 attempted to prove its capability as an exhibition venue by hosting Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, designed by Mark Lach, senior vice-president of Arts and Exhibitions International

• The O2 is currently hosting Body Worlds

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