In late September 2014, BMW held an exciting event in the centre of Beijing to celebrate the launch of the brand new BMW i3 and BMW i8, and to display all its car models in a unique fashion. The launch was held on Olympic Park Avenue and housed in a massive temporary building situated between the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube. Taking the form of a gargantuan steel-framed letter ‘i’, the huge building was spread over 10,000 sq. m. – a full 8,000 sq. m. of which was the steel structure.
Our team had to work to a tight schedule and overcome numerous complicating factors to deliver this colossal project. The primary complication was that the main part of the steel structure could not be built on a foundation due to the geography of Olympic Park Avenue. The solution proposed by our structural engineer was bold and imaginative – an enormous, pillar-less edifice. At 170m long, 38m wide and 15m high, the steel-frame structure resembled an aircraft hangar divided into three zones – Storytelling, Launch and Concert.
Each zone had its own particular challenges and requirements. In the Storytelling zone, our teams needed to create gigantic, remotely-controllable blinds which were 47m tall by 26m wide, a process which required several design attempts. In the Launch zone, we created another huge deliverable: a 47m high by 38m wide oval-shaped 360-degree curved screen installed on a steel and wooden-framed structure. This was a particular success, as our craftsmen installed the massive screen on a floor with 50cm drop height (front/back) and 20 cm drop height (left/right). The concert zone was situated in the ‘dot’ of the lower case ‘i’. The irregularly-shaped, open design was made even more complicated due to the lack of supporting cable stays.
During the intense 23 days of this project, we successfully delivered the construction of the steel structure, the interior decoration and the installation and adjustment of electrical equipment, allowing the client’s rehearsals to proceed on schedule.
From customer’s point of view, the highlight of the event was the stunning view when the ‘i’ lit up and became a temporary Beijing landmark situated between the Bird's Nest and the Water Cube. From our team’s point of view, completing a project of this size, with its tight time frame, challenging deliverables, and complex logistics was simply an incredible achievement.