Exclusive: Architect behind 'The Giant' reveals big picture for ambitious plans
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Exclusive: Architect behind 'The Giant' reveals big picture for ambitious plans

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Kieran Stanley, founder and CEO of Dan Pearlman architects has revealed new details about the upcoming Giant project, due to take its first big steps in Berlin in 2017.

The Giant – which comprises a multi-storey sculpture mounted on a plinth housing a museum – has been touted as “the visitor attraction for the 21st Century”. The sculpture itself will take the form of a mythical giant, with moving limbs and eyes, and the ability to take the form of any person in history using tens of thousands of LEDs.

We’re looking for inner cities, so prime locations,” said Stanley speaking exclusively to AM2. “We’re also very definitely open to unusual locations which are in need of development.

“In Berlin, we’re looking to develop the pilot project because it’s a very eclectic city with its different pop-ups that can become really cool places to be all of a sudden. London is a little bit like that but maybe at a slower scale. It depends really on what the location can offer, but quite generally we’re looking for places that are in the city and that have a lot of footfall,” he said.

The Giant is expected to draw around 500,000 visitors each year, generating annual revenues of around €12m (US$12.7m, £8.4m). Each Giant will cost between €10-30m (US$10.6-32m, £7-21m) to develop, depending on location and size of giant, which is variable.

“The concept is an androgynous figure so that it can become literally anyone,” said Stanley. “At night it can even become a three-dimensional billboard if you so choose.

“It’s an open structure so that the wind can go through it, which is important to the design which can be lightweight and flexible. The base is not just exhibition space, it’s also got the structural foundation within the box itself for easy development in an inner-city context.

“When you go up on top you get this viewpoint of the city, which allows you to literally stand on the shoulders of giants. To take it to that level is why we’ve designed it the way we have. That’s why you can’t go in his head and stick your head out his nose or something. It’s important that you are standing on his shoulder and that you’re peeking over his shoulder.”

Stanley described the observation point as “the icing on the cake” for the attraction at the end of the experience, which focuses on each individual city and “awakening the giant in you”. The exhibition itself will start with a generic approach to giants, observing myths such as David and Goliath and the perception of giants through time.

As you walk through the attraction, the perspective will change focus to the visitor, when part-way through an interactive sculpture of Einstein will tell the visitor that being a giant is all relative. As they venture further, bespoke interactive exhibition pieces will try to find out each visitor’s unique talent, with examples including sport, architecture, music, and the creative arts. When they leave the attraction, they are supposed to understand “the giant in them.”

“Each individual exhibition will be completely tuned to each location,” said Stanley. “It has to be very relevant to that context and offer real experiences for anybody visiting that city. That’s why content is king, but context is the one which wears the crown.”

Each giant in individual cities will have its own style and personality, with Dan Pearlman’s design able to go as high as 20 storeys and pose in any position. At present, Giant Company CEO Paddy Dunning is in discussions to bring giants to Amsterdam, Istanbul, New Orleans and San Francisco, as well as locations in Russia, Australia and Mexico.

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Kieran Stanley, founder and CEO of Dan Pearlman architects has revealed new details about the upcoming Giant project, due to take its first big steps in Berlin in 2017.
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