For the London 2012 Olympics, Asif Khan & Pernilla Ohrstedt have designed the Coca-Cola Beatbox, a pavilion which will also acts as a musical instrument, combining experimental architecture and cutting edge sound technology to create a stunning visual and sensory experience.
The Coca-Cola Beatbox takes inspiration from Coca-Cola's global platform for London 2012 — Move to the Beat — a campaign which aims to bring teens closer to the Olympics by fusing sport with their enduring passion for music. The creative concept will enable people to 'play' the Pavilion through interacting with sounds embedded within the architecture itself. Visitors will be able to create their own beat for London 2012 by remixing sounds of Olympic sports captured for an anthem that is being created for Coca-Cola by Grammy award-winning producer Mark Ronson.
"We have sought out some of the most innovative engineers in the UK to work with us to realise our vision – a building with a beat" Ohrstedt says of the project developed with structural engineers AKT II. "The Coca-Cola Beatbox is a sensory experience that fuses design, music, sport and architecture. It is something that people have never seen or heard before!"
The solution for the Beatbox was a process which required extensive coordination between Asif Khan & Pernilla Ohrstedt and AKT II to meet the combined requirements of access, visibility, interactivity, aesthetic and structural stability.
"The ETFE garlands structural stability is based upon a reciprocal frame system of three interacting cushions bracing against each other" states AKT II associate Ed Mosely. "The depth of the system means that by itself it is still unstable and it is only when the next unit of three is interfaced with it that each pillow achieves the minimum three connections it needs to become stable."
"Once this base principle was established the units were mapped out on the surface of the pavilion," continues Mosely, "rotated to give texture to the profile and trimmed to suit the visibility requirements for the different aspects of the pavilion. This still had a rigidity in the grid which didn't capture the essence of the project, but this ridged system had created redundancy that allowed distortions to be introduced including the removal of some elements, rotation of elements within the grid or translational movements along the pillows axis." The building contains 200 interlocked air cushions.
The visitor's experience is focused on the Anywhere in the World track, a kaleidoscope of sampled sounds by young Olympic athletes from which producer Mark Ronson has constructed the song's beat. Asif Khan & Pernilla Ohrstedt decided that in line with this, they wanted to create a "building with a beat" rather than one that merely contains some kind of beat. "We decided to take the sounds and rhythms that structure the track and deconstruct them, spreading them around the pavilion into sound cushions which envelop the building. This then allows visitors to recreate those loops as they like and interact with them as they walk up to the building's terrace at the top of the building" explains Pernilla Ohrstedt. "Visiting the building is never quite the same experience, as the soundscapes that you experience whilst navigating the space are in a constant state of flux".