It takes more than athletes to create a successful Olympics.
By Janice Kleinschmidt
A lot has changed since 776 B.C. (the first written record of the Olympics)—and even since 1896 (the first “modern” Olympics). These days, the games entail building permanent structures (i.e., stadiums), as well as temporary structures used before, during and after the extravaganza, held every four years.
BC Lottery Corp.’s 2010 Winter Games Dome illustrates the breadth of the Olympics’ reach. Leading up to Feb. 12, 2010, the name of the game(s) is promotion with a capital “P.”
“We wanted something unique and new, so the idea of just pitching a big tent and throwing a circus in it wasn’t enough,” says Christopher Fairclough, corporate communications officer for BCLC, an Official Supporter of the Vancouver games.
In May, BCLC’s Dome began touring British Columbian communities to allow the public to “experience” the games from the athletes’ perspective. After receiving their “credentials,” guests can try their hand at simulated sports, including biathlon, hockey, bobsled and sit-ski.
Over five months, Ideal Canopy Tent & Structure Ltd. of Delta, B.C., Canada, designed and fabricated the structure, in which each dome can operate independently.
“The client’s vision and technical requirements called for a durable material that would address the issue of light bleed for the multiple A/V installations,” says Raj Pooni, senior sales and marketing director. “Our solution was double-colored [charcoal inside and white on the outside] blackout fabric featuring a PVC high-gloss laminate designed for digital graphics. It was manufactured by Snyder Manufacturing of Dover, Ohio.” Ideal used its Roland SOLJET PRO III XJ Series 74-inch printer for branding and sports imaging. “For increased longevity, rugged scratch-resistant ECO-SOL MAX ink was used,” Pooni says. “Once printed, the graphics were applied directly onto the sectioned fabric and were RF welded.
“[It] needed to be lightweight for transport and had to be set up in as little as six hours,” Pooni says. “The tent needed to be fitted with a number of bracketing and truss systems to allow for the A/V components to be supported by the tent structure. The tent features many advertising panels, plasma displays, digital interactive activities and LCD projectors.” Custom brackets and fittings were fabricated for each A/V component. Other considerations included ventilation, lighting and flooring.
“The flooring was made of high-impact polyurethane plastic made of 60 percent recycled material,” says Cary Campbell, owner of EventStar Services of Surrey, B.C., Canada, which supplied the flooring. The EventDeck system, made by Signature Fencing & Flooring Systems of New York, typically comes in beige rectangles. EventStar provided Pantone® numbers of BCLC’s corporate colors for different areas of the dome. To ensure water would not enter the tent from a deck that extended beyond the four domes, EventStar custom-cut the flooring into circles and recycled the excess.
After the Olympics, BCLC plans to do some recyling of its own by switching out the image panels and repurposing the tent for its next road show. “We will use this tent for years and years to come,” Fairclough says.