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Prada’s store, Tokyo ... Their aim was to redefine the concept and function of shopping by turning it into a sort of futuristic experience.
F R O M T H E I N F L ATA B L E B O AT TO THE BIRD’S NEST They then turned their eyes towards sports. They started in Munich, designing a science-fiction football stadium that shocks, delights and takes your breath away. If you take the highway from Munich’s airport towards the town in the evening, you’ll suddenly spot an illuminated shape that looks out of this world. You may even wonder if the Martians have landed. The shape can be white, red or blue, depending on which of the city’s teams is playing on the pitch. As you come closer, you may even be reminded of an inflatable dinghy. In fact, the residents of Munich have nicknamed the Allianz Arena “inflatable boat” (Schlauchboot). Herzog and de Meuron used 2,874 air-filled EFTE-foil panels, usually used for glass houses due to their low weight and good insulation properties, to build the facility, which hosted some of the 2006 FIFA World Cup matches. On the other side of the world, they cooperated with dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei to create an even more amazing Olympic stadium, nicknamed the Bird’s Nest. While designing the national stadium, the artists looked for inspiration both in nature as well as in traditional Chinese pottery and porcelain. They devised the building as a bird’s nest, inside of which rests the stadium, shaped like a bowl with red stands. >>
The box-shaped and bent structural elements are welded at the edges and intersect at different angles. This allowed the architects to achieve the effect of reeling in a thread and creating a structure that is reminiscent of a bird’s nest. The firm is constantly busy around the world. Its current major projects are in Hamburg and New York. The harbour city in northern Germany will soon be graced with the Elbphilharmonie. The building, which is designed to evoke Hamburg’s ship-building tradition, will have three concert halls, with the largest boasting more than 2,000 seats. Meanwhile, New York’s TriBeCa quarter, and specifically Leonard Street, will be the site of a residential skyscraper, the inspiration for which comes from rock formations in Utah. The architects, whose firm currently employs almost 200 workers and has its main office in Basel with additional offices in Hamburg, London, Madrid, New York and Hong Kong, still swear by their original philosophy: “Every building is unique, which is why we want to create something that hasn’t existed before with each of our projects.” So far they’ve been so successful in doing that that they walk around the planet in real-life, like a dreamy child navigating the map with its fingers.
“Every building is unique, which is why we want to create something that hasn’t existed before with each of our projects.”