Following on from our success at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, in June of 2013 we were asked to tender for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Our brief was to reproduce St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow as a floating group of 15 domed towers coming together, as well as 30 large sealed ground based characters. These latter units were a mixture of animals and articles brightly artworked with a famous Russian pottery design that is the equivalent of Wedgwood in the UK. We were given some basic scenic images to work with at the tendering stage, but little information as to how they would be used/handled/interacted with on the Field of Play.
There were 15 domes all together that would come together to create St Basils Cathedral. They had a small amount of print on them and the rest was hand artworked. We had 2 artists working 7 days a week for 3 weeks along with others helping out as much as possible. Knowing that nothing like this had been done before we had a lot of prototyping and test lifts to do. The helium filled domes had a big weight to lift with the skirts attached.
Some of the domes were 3D, We were able to create this effect in production and then hand paint the necessary areas. The one below was made up of hundreds of individual chambers, the base was then painted a pantone matched blue to leave the chambers yellow. We had decided with the client that these units had to be in a very durable PVC tarpaulin material (like bouncy castle material) because they would have to last through months of rehearsals and interaction with lots of inexperienced cast. Again we had to consider how the units would be carried onto the Field of Play, and how they would be handled during the Show, as well as how they would be stored when not in use. A month before the Opening Ceremony the client decided they would like 20 more of the sealed units, but made in the lighter weight PVC and with slightly different artwork. Because of the complexity of these shapes, there was a lot of hand artworking involved with these too.