ABBA Arena raises the bar for temporary architecture
A new 3,000 capacity venue at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London has opened to host ABBA’s return virtual tour.
The temporary solid wood ABBA Arena is designed by STUFISH Entertainment Architects and is specially designed for concerts, where the band’s virtual avatars will perform their songs for the first time in 40 years.
Removable and reusable, the hexagonal room is designed so that it can be transported to other venues and reused once the London performances are over.
The London Legacy Development Corporation approved the pop-up arena – which is adjacent to Dockland Light Railway’s Pudding Mill station – in March 2020. It will occupy the land in Stratford for five years, after which the area will be given over to housing. The caveat to its endorsement was that quality and materials could not be compromised in the name of its impermanence. “The design of the building, including its materiality, must result in a structure that is not only beautiful, but also durable,” insisted the review committee.
Stratford Arena intends to blur the lines between live performance and “Avatar” technology. ‘ABBAtars’ performs the band’s songs created by George Lucas’ visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic. The motion capture technology worn by Benny, Bjorn, Anni-Frid and Agnetha means the stage performance accurately mimics their mannerisms and movements.
STUFISH was founded by the late British architect Mark Fisher and has a history of ambitiously staging musicians and immersive concert experiences. Elton John, Lady Gaga, U2, Beyoncé, Madonna, the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd have all performed in their permanent and semi-permanent structures.
The London and Hong Kong-based practice has also been working on a new vertical theater project that embraces social distancing – beyond pandemic regulations imposed on entertainment venues – as a design for the future and a new era. Parks.
The production of the ABBA Voyage concert is by Svana Gisla, who has previously collaborated with artists such as David Bowie and Beyonce.
ABBA VOYAGE is currently on booking until May 28, 2023. See ticket prices and information.