The refreshed Olympia will be London’s newest creative hub. A destination for superlative art, culture, entertainment, exhibitions, music, education, incredible offices and studio spaces, and the best food and drink in town. The re-development of such a destination in the UK capital’s cosmopolitan west is – in 2024 – right on cue.
Gold Winner — Transform 2022 — Best Place or Nation Brand
Silver Winner — Transform 2022 — Best Use of Visual Property
Olympia Exhibition Halls, also known as Olympia London, is an iconic exhibition and event space located in West London.
First opened in 1886, it has played host to The Barnum & Bailey Show, Jimi Hendrix, Miss World and The Great British Beer Show, as well as London Fashion Week.
The site is now being re-developed not only to enhance the existing exhibition and events spaces but also to create a new cultural hub for West London. This will include seven new buildings on the existing site comprising the largest new theatre in London since the National Theatre in 1976, a 4,400 capacity live music arena, 630k sq ft office and creative studio space, dining, two hotels and new public spaces.
The iconic arches of Olympia National and Olympia Grand Halls, both Grade II listed, are being incorporated into the site’s redevelopment and will continue to host events while works are taking place.
Heatherwick Studio | SPPARC Architects
We created both a brand strategy and visual identity for the Olympia masterplan and destination brand, positioning it as London’s upcoming hottest hub for creativity, hospitality and experience — telling everyone ‘It’s Showtime.’
Inspired by the iconic arches of the Olympia Exhibition Halls, the new destination wordmark – crafted in collaboration with Miles Newlyn – showcases Olympia – Simple, bold and designed for longevity.
The visual assets were formed under the simple idea of “‘O’ is for Olympia”. In collaboration with the team at weareseventeen and 3D artist Ingrid Tsy, we developed a series of 3D CGI assets that showcase the multiple offerings the area provides its visitors, tied together by a signature ‘O’ shape.
Whether for food & beverage, arts, culture or hotels & offices, each HerO asset was carefully considered and developed to represent each unique aspect. All were created as a detailed still as well as a short looping animation to encourage a sense of ambience and atmosphere within each one.
To accompany the new logo-mark and HerO assets, a flexible system was needed to develop and change as much as Olympia would in years to come.
The primary typeface chosen is Right Grotesk by Pangram Pangram Foundry, which provided the perfect amount of flex due to its variable nature and multiple weights. Inspired by vintage exhibition posters for Olympia, contrasting styles were used to provide space for emphasis and a sense of spectacle.
In a similar fashion, our colour palette had to also allow for a level of flex, and so a palette of rich darks combined with soft brights was developed. The combination of the bright colours overlaid on top of the dark backgrounds also gives a sense of light and shadow, promoting the ‘showtime’ strategic positioning through a subtle hint to spotlighting.
With SomeOne’s proven experience in destination and development identity, I knew we were not only in safe hands but also that we could push the work creatively to make an identity that completely reflects our ambitions, but one that can flex and adapt as the development grows.
From our HerO assets to our photography, we maintain a consistent circular visual language as a common thread across our communications. Central and singular, a simple circle device houses our imagery, with our colour palette and typeface providing that key Olympia brand recognition surrounding. We use short and sensory headlines to communicate to visitors, letting our HerO assets and imagery take centre stage.
Brands may come and go – but buildings last. Being part of such an iconic development to rival King’s Cross in terms of its impact on London’ future brings out feelings of great excitement and responsibility in equal measure.
The O system is designed to continually evolve and develop, just as the site and venue will too. In the short term it needs to showcase what is to come, whilst construction is underway.
With the construction on-going and the opening predicted to be in 2024, Olympia’s brand will be ever-developing and evolving. Whether applied to a business card, a website or hoarding around the area, the brand has been created to adapt and change over time.
Once the largest show-space of its time, the new Olympia branding leverages from its history and helps revitalise the area as a leading international venue, showcasing the very best in art, culture, music, entertainment and hospitality.
The Olympia brand combines the best parts of system, flex and luxury. The HerO assets capture the elevated experience visitors will find within the new development, which is supported by a solid foundation of a considered design system — all pinned under a bold, definitive logo-mark.
Olympia is a crucial part of our mission to make Hammersmith & Fulham a global hotspot in STEM industries, the arts, fashion and culture.