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Heatherwick Studio to revamp Olympia as 'world-leading arts and leisure district'

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During this first phase we are beginning to talk to people, particularly local residents and visitors, to learn more about Olympia London
– Thomas Heatherwick

Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC Architects have been announced as the lead design team who will comprehensively revamp London’s historic Olympia exhibition centre.

The owners of the 130-year-old building, Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance, want to transform the site into a “world-leading arts, entertainment, exhibition and experiential district whilst staying true to its original heritage as an exhibition business.”

Olympia London, located in Kensington, was designed by architect Henry Edward Coe in 1886 and built as the National Agricultural Hall. Formed of seven connected spaces, today it hosts more than 220 exhibitions and events each year, including the Olympia Horse Show and 100% Design.

Heatherwick Studio have been tasked with enhancing the communal areas and retail units while retaining the most important architectural features. They will also work with SPPARC to add a host of new leisure buildings to the 14-and-a-half-acre site, with a hotel, theatre, museums and restaurants all mooted.

“My studio's passion is improving the public experience of cities for everyone,” said founder Thomas Heatherwick. “During this first phase we are beginning to talk to people, particularly local residents and visitors, to learn more about Olympia London and are looking forward to working on the project."

Lloyd Lee, managing partner of Yoo Capital, added: “Our Victorian forefathers first conceived Olympia London to be a destination for all people to see, learn and experience major exhibitions, events in culture, music, technology, arts and sports.

“We’re listening to local stakeholders Hammersmith and Fulham Council, the Greater London Authority, exhibition organisers and the local community to ensure Olympia London achieves its original vision.”

Yoo Capital owns over 1.7 million square feet across Greater London in hospitality, leisure, retail, commercial, residential and real estate operating companies. It is an umbrella organisation of Yoo, a global real estate conglomerate operating in 34 countries; building design-led leisure and residential projects with the likes of Philippe Starck, Marcel Wanders and Sussanne Khan.

The announcement of the project marks the continuation of a year of mixed fortunes for Heatherwick Studio. The practice has completed the well-received Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) in Cape Town, South Africa and seen its ambitious plans for Google’s London HQ win planning approval. However, it has also seen the high-profile scrapping of its Garden Bridge project in London and Pier 55 public park in New York.

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Heatherwick Studio and SPPARC Architects have been announced as the lead design team who will comprehensively revamp London’s historic Olympia exhibition centre.
Located in Kensington, the London Olympia venue was first built in 1886 as the National Agricultural Hall / Sophie Mutevellian

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