Adidas Turns 100-Year-Old Frat House into Cozy Lounge
When it came to designing a lounge for its athletes participating in the 2008 Olympic Track and Field Trials, adidas looked no further than its Olympic ad campaign slogan, “Impossible is Nothing,” for inspiration. To prove the point, it transformed a 100-year-old frat house into an inviting space where the athletes could relax and recharge their batteries between meets and invite the press for private one-on-one interviews.
The event took place at the Sigma Chi fraternity house, centrally located near Hayward Field on the University of Oregon’s Eugene campus. The century-old building needed to remain unchanged on the outside and anonymous to passersby. The inside of the house, however, needed a temporary makeover to appeal to the athletes.
Drapery, lighting, carpeting, frosted Plexiglas, metal accents and an array of plants created a cool, tranquil vibe throughout the house. Cases in the entryway displayed limited-edition shoes that adidas created for Beijing Olympians. The lounge featured large white couches, laptops, iPod docks and plasma TVs. A game room offered pool and foosball tables, sports games on a Wii station and oversized beanbag chairs. And how about that massage room upstairs for athletes and trainers, a screened-off basketball court out back and a complete press room, with stage, backdrop, drape, audio and lighting. And, of course, the athletes’ favorite foods were waiting in the house when they arrived for refueling.
The lounge was open for 11 days and held one major press conference for Tyson Gay, who in the first quarterfinal heat of the men’s 100 meters won in a time of 9.77 seconds, the fastest 100m ever run by an American. Other athlete guests included Olympic gold medalists Allyson Felix and Jeremy Wariner.
“The goal was to create an environment that provided the athletes with a place where they could escape the pressures of the track and have some down time,” says Michael Browne, Running Business Director at adidas America. “A relaxing environment is key to any athlete’s success, and we were committed to helping our athletes return to the comfort of the lounge again and again throughout the week to relax, watch TV, listen to music, use the Wii, get massages or refuel with a healthy snack.”
The athletes kept coming back throughout the week, which is a sure sign the lounge was a winner.