Tell us about the early design brief
We were commissioned to develop a family of landscape interventions in the Olympic Park. These interventions were part of the Olympic Delivery Authority’s Arts and Culture Strategy that aimed to integrate art and culture as a core element of the Olympic site. The proposals are collectively entitled ‘Fantasticology’ and were designed to reveal the factual and incredible and the local and universal in the new landscape of the park.
Working closely with the Parklands and Public Realm team and the Olympic landscape designers, the team developed Fantastic Factology, planting designs for wildflower meadows in the park’s south-east corner opposite stadium island and distinctive entrances to the Greenway at Wick Lane and Canning Town.
What inspired your design concept?
Our aim was to reveal ‘hidden’ knowledge in the park and find moments of creativity among the large scale proposals.
What challenges did you face along the way?
We were engaged early in the ODA’s work to find ways to integrate creativity in the parklands. The momentum and drive created by their early work should continue through transformation and into the future – the challenge is to continue to excite and enthuse people about the long-term activation of areas in and around the Olympic Park.
The challenge for our team was to engage people in small, intimate moments in a large park. Fantastic Factology was designed particularly to do this. For example, in response to one of the facts: “If you turn some species of shark upside down they will go into a trance-like state called ‘tonic-immobility’ lasting approximately 15 minutes”, we witnessed a debate between two children about exactly how you might turn a shark upside down. These delightful moments, along with the stories about local history and local memories of the area, are important in successfully engaging people with their surroundings.