LocationRio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Architects in ChargeBen van Berkel, Wouter de Jonge, Imola Bérczi and Aurélie Hsiao, Olga Kovrikova, Wing Tang Man
Overall Project AdvisorCheil Worldwide
ClientSamsung Electronics, IT & Mobile Division (Seoul, Korea)
Text description provided by the architects. Following an international competition to design the main Samsung showcase at the Olympic Park Pavilion, UNStudio was engaged to develop a design that builds on the brand’s history with the Olympic Games.
Samsung Electronics has been a Worldwide Olympic Sponsor in the Wireless Communications Equipment category since the Nagano 1988 Olympics. The design goal for the Samsumg Galaxy Studio was to develop an immersive visitor experience that incorporates pivotal design elements from the Samsung Galaxy brand philosophy.
The Galaxy Studio was specifically designed to help visitors embrace the excitement of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and celebrate the Olympic spirit, enabling them to create, capture and share their own experiences.
“The showcase exemplifies the theatre of multi-sensorial experiences that become possible when culture meets commerce. Providing an immersive retail experience that shifts from transaction to entertainment, the Samsung studio invites the visitor to experience the brand through storytelling and the simulation of real-world experiences. At once a theatre and a gallery, the pavilion demonstrates what we can look forward to in the future of retail.”
The creative guidelines from Samsung Electronics called for a design that is clean and that uses simple lines, taking visual cues from the contemporary product lineup. As a result UNStudio developed a series of interpretative designs that aligned with the brand’s vision in 2016.
“The aspiration for the architecture was to facilitate a canvas for imbedded technology, interaction and memorable sensorial experiences for the visitors.” - Ben van Berkel
‘Unpacking Samsung’ was the thematic idea that influenced the simple articulation of the façade, with a subtle tilt in the framing of the entrance as a start to the visitor experience.
The shape of the exterior took this cue of ‘unpacking’ as a singular gesture that could allow for both a digital display which exemplified the digital environment within, in tandem with the composition of a reflective surface (through the use of obsidian glass) to mirror the famous colours of the Rio context.
The façade duality is a play of two realities in tandem, as well as one of inversion from day and night: the reflective surfaces from the day become transparent in the evening, allowing for clear visibility of the activities within.
With attendance at the Olympic Park anticipated to be near 70,000 during peak hours, the Samsung Galaxy Studio at Olympic Park was designed to facilitate 1000 visitors an hour during the height of the games.
Visitors to the showcase are concentrated through a more intimate entryway that opens up to a set of distinctly immersive experiences, organised around a prominent Gear VR 4D Experience that enables attendees to be absorbed into the distinctive virtual content created for this milestone event.
Six individual areas are devoted to various elements designed to deliver fun, unique and premium experiences, including a music zone, wearables zone, and a photography installation, amongst others.
The showcase is designed for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as intended to have a purpose after the games, with considerations for both reusability and repurposing of building elements. To this end, the main shell of the building was designed to be disassembled for repurposing or recycling.