The Olympic Experience at the Olympic House in Montreal gives the public a hands-on opportunity to discover what it takes to become an Olympian. Here’s how we designed this dynamic branded experience for the Canadian Olympic Committee.
Our brief from the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) was to design, build and produce a highly technological, interactive and engaging Canadian Olympic Experience at the head offices of the Canadian Olympic Team. There was a particular objective to engage young audiences, not only in sharing the Olympic legacy, but also in inspiring them to get active themselves. We developed a main message for the exhibition with a focus on how the COC supports Canadian athletes, as well as fosters a sense of well-being amongst Canadian through sport.
“Our goal was really to create a connection between the audience and the Canadian Olympic Committee, but also the athletes themselves.”
The space that we had to work with posed some obvious challenges. Located on the ground floor of a downtown office building in Montreal, the experience takes place across three distinct zones, connected by a shared public lobby. We decided to use this feature to our advantage rather than fight it, in developing a three-tiered experience. In the first zone, My Profile, visitors discover their athletic aptitudes through a series of feats, from jumping to strength tests. They are then matched with specific Olympic sports based on their results, from fencing, bobsleigh, to skiing. In zone two, Their Journey, participants learn about the rich history of the Olympics through archival footage and artifacts featuring some of Canada’s most illustrious Olympians. The depth and complexity of Olympic preparation, from diet to psychological training and everything in between, is also explored. In the final zone, Our Moment, we experience the emotional rollercoaster of an Olympic performance through a fast-paced immersive multimedia show. Visitors share the intensity of an athlete's experience, from the moment they enter the arena, to the finish line.
Our content strategy was informed by access to thousands of Olympic artifacts and close collaboration with teams of researchers, scientists, athletes and coaches. We wanted to ensure that our interactive experiences were not only fun, but backed up by science. In the second zone, we curated a selection of approximately 2,000 archives and 500 photographs which together, convey over 100 years of Olympic history through a multimedia timeline.
“One of the things that we always knew we needed in the space was a conductive element to link these three physically-disconnected spaces.”
In terms of art direction, we were inspired by the bold graphics of team jerseys and race tracks. With three high-ceilinged but narrow spaces to connect, we conceived of an installation of stripes and wires that not only draw the eye upwards, but create a cohesive look across the three exhibition spaces.
“Rather than simply present the visitor with a text, or a screen or a poster, we found strategies to integrate the content into an engaging interactive, where they can get involved and create their own experience."
Anne Le Bouyonnec
Media & Interactive Producer
Our approach to the inclusion of technology was to translate the complexity of Olympic athletic preparation into fun, intuitive interactives. Large-scale installations featuring sports simulators, media components and immersive content are used to enhance the narrative rather than dominate it.
“The final result exceeds our expectations. From the initial project to where it is today, the quality that we were able to achieve is so much deeper, greater. To see it taking form and coming alive, we’re really proud.”
Executive Director of Sport, Canadian Olympic Committee
We’re proud to have played such an integral role in bringing visitors closer to Canadian athletes and the spirit of the Olympics. Branded experiences like these allow us to flex our creative muscles in different ways than on museum exhibition design projects. Whereas museum exhibition design is steeped in close collaboration with curators, branded experiences are all about translating the spirit of an organization into a vivid narrative. We loved the challenge of bringing the Canadian Olympic legacy to life, and look forward to seeing how audiences react as the Olympic Experiences opens to visitors.
“We hope that the experience will be an inspiration about the importance of sports in our day-to-day lives, and also as an open door to the Canadian Olympic team, celebrating the athletes’ achievements and Olympic spirit.”
Project Director, Olympic Experience, Canadian Olympic Committee