What’s the best piece of design work you’ve seen around the Beijing Olympics, and why?
I believe the most dramatic designs at the games are the bold architectural statements seen in the stadiums, probably none more so than that seen in the National Aquatics Centre. I love the fact that the inspiration is based on the irregular organic patterns of bubbles and the concept of using multi-sided cells to maximise space. The interior is equally striking, taking the occupants into the athletes’ underwater domain.
Alan Gilbody, Creative director, Slice Design
OMA’s CCTV tower is a pretty extraordinary contribution to both Beijing’s already jazzed-up skyline and to the history of skyscrapers. CCTV has a strange, almost ancient iconography to it. Engraved with irregular slashes, the whole thing loops around, without beginning or end. I love the way it jumps out as you drive around it, changing profile depending on your relation to it. It has been dogged with political controversy, and has come to emblemise the uneasy rules of engagement we have to make with the new world order.
Shumon Basar, Critic, curator and director of cultural projects, Architectural Association
Olympic design usually leaves me pretty cold. However, for a country that didn’t have a word for ‘graphic design’ until the 1980s, China is doing a better job than London’s 2012 efforts. My favourite is a series of pictograms based on 2000-year-old Jingwan script; quintessentially Chinese, but translating effortlessly into an international visual language.
James Hilton, Founder, AKQA
We have been here in the Olympic Green for the past six months creating a Samsung Spectator and Athletes Centre. Every day we witness the excitement that this site creates. For months, families, friends, and travellers alike have come to promenade outside the security fences and peer in trying to glimpse the iconic buildings as they reveal themselves. The Bird’s Nest, The Water Cube, The Dragon, The National Stadium, The Media Centre and many more, the scale takes your breath away. For me the key is in the sum of the parts – they all contribute to a greater whole.
Sally Crabb, Creative director, sports and entertainment, Imagination