Wembley Stadium kicks off with Mather & Co store

Wembley Stadium has finally opened the doors, as Mather & Co nears completion of design plans for the venue’s retail store and visitor attraction.

Wembley Stadium has finally opened the doors, as Mather & Co nears completion of design plans for the venue’s retail store and visitor attraction.

The consultancy has worked on the design and installation proposals for all concourse retailing and the stadium’s flagship store for the past 18 months, alongside graphic design consultancy 1977 Design. The shop, which will open in May, is the first phase of the project.

Work will then begin on the visitor experience. This will include a museum featuring artefacts, a visual presentation, various displays and interactive elements, and a temporary exhibition space, leading on to the entrance for the stadium tour.

The emphasis for the retail store is on strong visual impact, according to the project designer at Mather & Co, Anthony Chadwick. He says that the process is at the concept stage at present and construction will begin next month.

The consultancy has been tasked with respecting the existing architecture and taking into account the interchangeability of fittings.

A floor-to-ceiling protective timber wrap frame will display the latest Umbro and England football kit, under a photograph of Bobby Moore’s 1966 FIFA World Cup-winning team.

The walnut flooring at the entrance is contrasted with black rubber flooring inside the store to emulate the original walkway to the stadium. Exposed concrete on the existing structure replicates the old building exterior.

Features such as graphic imagery, illuminated merchandise display cases, plasma screens showing golden football moments and a timeline wall commemorating great moments in Wembley history will be set against a backdrop of the perimeter walls of the store. The store will be illuminated by directional spotlights, with Dan Flavin-inspired light batons creating a strong visual impact.

1977 Design was appointed by Mather & Co to create the graphics within the retail space and the external retail space. It will also carry out the graphics for the visitor experience tour entrance.

1977 Design partner Jonathan Beacher says, ‘We have been tasked with creating something iconic that captures the whole history of Wembley, and which does not just focus on football. I know Evil Knievel once jumped there and I would like to feature something on that, rather than just 1966 memorabilia, although that will be included. At the entrance of the tour, I was toying with the idea of a stained glass window.’

Wembley Stadium has been designed by architects HOK Sport and Foster & Partners. The developer is Multiplex.

The stadium, which has been beset by problems since the beginning of construction in 2002, is opening a year later than planned, at a cost of £800m.

• Multiplex handed the keys to Wembley Stadium on 10 March
• The stadium has long-term staging agreements with the Football Association, the Football League and the Rugby Football League
• The stadium staged a community day last Saturday for local Brent residents to view the ground, and the England under-21s against Italy football match takes place this Saturday
• George Michael will be the first artist to play at Wembley in June

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