With a location that you almost missed, BMW’s 8,500-sq.-ft. floating brand pavilion scores high on both design innovation and experience. The gigantic, eye-popping branded barge, which floats on the Waterworks River in front of the Olympic Stadium and Aquatics Center, boasts a huge LED strip across its front center section while water from the river beneath flows down its sides.
The main floor, dedicated to showing off the “future of personal transport,” welcomes consumers through a main entrance at which brand ambassadors give out green rubber bracelets. Guests enter and are led into a sleek, modern information gallery featuring a timeline of innovation and history, as well as six touchscreen totems showing off the innovation behind so many makes and models. (BMW Group is the official automotive partner at the Games.)
A MINI-branded section on the other side of the main floor features a car folks can sit in and an interactive London phone booth. Guests and friends are invited to go in the booth and are taped cheering for their favorite team. The footage is then uploaded to a “virtual stadium” shared online and across social media platforms.
Next up, the bracelets gain admittance into a BMW cinema, where a high-energy “Driving the Future” movie shows off the car giant’s ties to innovation and performance—a natural tie-in with the attributes of the Olympics. The movie begins with several minutes of BMW content and then transitions to MINI footage, a nice way to activate multiple brands with a singular Games sponsorship. Once the movie wraps, consumers are escorted to a rooftop deck, the massive al fresco showroom in which they can see and learn amid a nine-vehicle collection of the car maker’s vehicles. (Each vehicle is positioned next to an information totem emblazoned with a QR code for more information, and brand ambassadors on hand to answer questions.)
The striking design was absolutely a top conversation at the Games, and the use of water as both a creative element and infrastructure supporting role (the Waterworks River provides water for the design aesthetics but is also used to cool the building before returning into the river) was solid. Designed by: Serie Architects.