An Olympic-themed brief
The FdA Production for Live Events and Television is a dynamic course run between LCC and Wimbledon. It offers its students the chance to obtain the hands-on skills necessary to work in TV or live events. When it’s happening on their doorstep, it seems only natural that the course would look to the London Olympic Games for inspiration.
Course Director Candida Moriarty, working with tutor Iestyn Williams, posed the ‘Olympic Events’ themed brief to the second year students. Called ‘Exhibition and Display Design’, it is modelled on the Olympics handover ceremony – you may remember the much maligned Boris Johnson / London bus display at Beijing in 2008. “The idea is the students have to design a prototype for a gift that’s handed over from the mayor of London to the mayor of Rio de Janeiro,” explains Iestyn. “There are certain pieces of information they have to have on them – they have to represent at least 26 different sporting events, to wish good luck to the mayor of Rio and to have movement in some way, whether that’s moving image, lights or sound. It has to represent London and also some kind of reference to the culture of the Olympics.”
“So it’s quite a broad brief, with many boxes to tick. The first step is to produce a mood-board. Research. Grab an idea, adapt it, then question it, make decisions. The student’s workbook reflects the journey of the design of the gift – we’ve got all sorts of things from crowns to small objects, to jewellery, they’re an imaginative group. Not only do they have to think of a gift, they have to think of a way the gift will be presented. How is it going to get from Boris’s hands to the new mayor’s hands? There’s all kinds of ideas of baby elephants walking into the arena… to lasers… Obviously it has to be integrated into the production for live events and television criteria, so they’re very much associating a product with an event. It’s another way of thinking.”
We spoke first to student Christine Vidgren, whose model is “inspired by Tower Bridge – because it’s one of my favourite buildings in London and a powerful landmark.” Her bridge is designed to resemble old wooden speakers, and Christine has added a swinging sixties twist by playing songs from iconic British acts like The Kinks, The Beatles and David Bowie. Other London landmarks referenced in an unusual way include Joshua Sperring’s version of the London Eye and Sabina Rosenblad’s street lamps of London – “I wanted to have an Oliver Twist, old Victorian feel,” she says.
Genevieve Baker used a small – but ubiquitous – London object to inspire her. “I was thinking about how in London it’s the Oyster Card that brings people together,” she says. “This hand is meant to represent the Oyster shell, and then you’ve got this pearl inside.” Genevieve demonstrates the clapped hands of her model opening wide. “In the actual event it would have projections coming from inside which communicates all the information about the 26 sports”.
Daisy Goddard took her own influence from cigar boxes – “because that’s the usual gift that businesses used to give to each other, so I took inspiration from the actual boxes.” She decorated the box with a painterly map of the Thames (“it looks like paint dripping”) and placed inside the box a head-dress “to represent the history of the Olympics.” The words Buena Suerte – Portuguese for good luck – are inscribed inside.
Other students had fun concocting wild and wonderful ideas for the event itself, including Anne Thormann, whose gift is a laser-cut wooden charm bracelet depicting all 26 sports. “For my ceremony I’ve decided to combine the whole Olympics idea with a circus theme as I really like the idea of having a Disney type ceremony,” she explains. “I thought a circus would work well. I made a storyboard to show how it will be… so we’re in a stadium and then there’s going to be a blackout, 20 people are going to run on to the stage. Then the lights blast on, shining everywhere and there’s David Cameron and the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, in the middle of the stage. Next we’ve got acrobats coming in through Entrance 1 and horses coming in through Entrance 2. Then we’ve got people on unicycles and people on wheels, and then people jumping off poles; then we’ve got a few on hula hoops followed immediately by elephants. Then Boris Johnson on an elephant, with my box! So, the elephant stops right in front of Dilma Rousseff and David Cameron and Boris Johnson gives the gift to the president.”
For Kemey Lafond, London equals tall buildings, patterns and shapes and she came up with a show that will take place in the Aquatic Centre, rather than a typical stadium. “I researched the Olympic Games and I started to focus on Zeus and his thunderbolt, which was characteristic and a symbol of power. I was playing with this idea of relay and exchange, and something that is tall and has pattern involved in it, something that represents the exchange and really representative of London – what’s it going to be? I thought I’m just going to create something that contains water – Thames water. So that’s the idea – experimenting with shapes and trying to be dynamic in the design itself. I’ve been through a nightmare to create the work, but it’s a great way to learn, I loved it!”
Solomon Wilkinson came up with the London Torch “which stands for London to Rio Cultural Hub,” he reveals. “I tried out a number of designs and thought I don’t want to engrave all the sporting characters… so I started to imagine a film that is presented by the mascots (voiced by Fearne Cotton and Joe Pasquale for some reason!). It has a travel style-guide to Asian Olympia and a little bio of Pierre de Coubertin, a travel guide to London, a live twitter feed and a countdown clock, which at the moment is on 4 years!”
Before this project and like many people, perhaps, Solomon wasn’t particularly interested in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. “With this project, I’m doing a lot of research and there’s Pierre Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games and he wanted to make an event that combines all culture and education. So it’s not just about sports, it’s about culture and celebrating culture – celebrating the culture of your city and your country.” Like many of the students we spoke to on the course, Solomon wants to get into TV production after his degree and so a project that inspires such lateral thinking and multi-tasking are surely fine building blocks.
Tuesday, March 13th, 2012