Olympia has commissioned a series of artworks from leading UK artists to recognise its 125th birthday this year.
The venue opened on 26 December 1886 with the Paris Hippodrome Circus and has opted to celebrate 125 years in 2012. One of its first initiatives is a series of artworks commemorating the anniversary.
The first, released this month and pictured here, was produced by Rob Ryan and highlights the barrelroof and Olympia’s first circus event.
“At an exhibition, the Grand Hall is full of busy little streets of shops and then you look up to the vast and grand light-filled giant cavity, which is impressive,” Ryan said. “I remember watching military tattoos on TV in the 1970s as a child, with hundreds of sea cadets running around with cannons and balancing on top of each other. My design for my Olympia poster stems from these memories.”
Ryan’s work will be followed by Sir Peter Blake’s interpretation of the iconic venue. Blake’s work includes On the Balcony and the record sleeve of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, both of which helped establish him as the Godfather of British Pop Art.
Half-Finnish, half-English illustrator and printmaker Sanna Annukka will then create her own visions of the venue later this year.
All of the artwork will feature in an advertising campaign in select industry titles, on the Olympia website and will be produced as limited edition posters. Earls Court and Olympia (EC&O) is working with branding and design agency Form on its 125-year project and will unveil further developments in coming months.
“Over the last 125 years, Olympia has proved itself more than simply a venue: It’s a cultural institution that has hosted every type of event imaginable and is adored by the nation,” EC&O head of marketing Tom Lambregts said.
“This campaign, along with the opening of the new-look West Hall, marks the start of what is to be a momentous year for Olympia and the UK event industry.
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