The £7m fabric wrap is sponsored by Dow Chemical, though the company’s branding will not be shown. Populous, which was respsonsibe for the main wrap design, appointed Smallhorn to the project prior to the announcement of Dow’s sponsorship in summer 2011.
The wrap is formed of canvas banners that run from the top to the bottom of the stadium’s exterior, creating 300 smaller ‘doorways’. Each banner is assigned a different colour from a palette of 56 colours in total to create an undulating effect.
Smallhorn was briefed to emphasise the four main brand colours used in the Wolff Olins Olympic logo – green, blue, pink and orange, with each colour designating one of the four stadium entrances.
The other colours are arranged without any deliberate hierarchy, aiming to create a ‘dynamic rhythm of colour and energy’ to reflect the excitement surrounding the games, according to a spokesman for the artist. The colours will also act as navigation tools within the stadium.
Sophie Smallhorn says, ‘For me, colour is an international language, understood by all on many levels. To be given the opportunity to breathe colour into this iconic Olympic building and to influence how people might approach and interact with it has been truly inspiring.’