Dezeen Magazine

Thomas Heatherwick's vision for London's Olympia revealed in new renderings

Visualisations have been released showing Thomas Heatherwick's plans to transform the Olympia events centre in west London into a major hub for the creative industries.

The £700 million project will see the 130-year-old exhibition venue completely overhauled, creating over 55,000 square metres of offices and studios for creative businesses, and more than 6,000 square metres of space for co-working.

It will also create large new areas of public space, along with restaurants, hotels and cinemas.

The plans show a new, contemporary facade facing Hammersmith Road, which will front new space for theatre and performing arts

Olympia's owners, Deutsche Finance and Yoo Capital, first announced plans to develop the site in September 2017. At the time Heatherwick Studio was revealed be to be on board, along with fellow London studio SPPARC, but no details were given about the proposals.

The companies have now released renderings showing the vision.

One shows a new, contemporary facade facing Hammersmith Road, which will front more than 6,000 square metres of new space for theatre and performing arts.

Another reveals plans to pedestrianise Olympia Way – the road on the east side of the building – and to restore the historic facade.

The plans also involve pedestrianising Olympia Way – the road on the east side of the building – and restoring the historic facade

The overall aim is position Olympia as "a centre of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in the UK" – a move that could be seen as a response to the threat posed to the creative industries by Brexit.

Olympia's owners said that the renovation will create an events centre to rival those of other European cities.

"This is an exciting time for Europe's exhibitions and events industry, with cities such as Frankfurt and Paris investing in its sites and continued annual growth across the creative industries," said Gavin Neilan, co-managing partner of Deutsche Finance International.

"This investment heralds a new era in Olympia London's history, with the opportunity to set itself apart on the global stage."

John Hitchcox, chairman of Yoo Capital, added: "As caretakers of Olympia London, we are investing to protect this iconic site and promote it on the global stage as a world-leading destination for the creative industries."

Built in 1886, Olympia was designed by architect Henry Edward Coe. It was originally called the National Agricultural Hall, and its key features are a vast arching roof and a huge domed window supported by ironwork.

Today, the six-hectare venue hosts over 200 exhibitions and events each year, including London Design Festival trade fair 100% Design.

Olympia was built in 1886. Its key features are a vast arching roof and a huge domed window supported by ironwork

According to the project team, the designs were developed in response to feedback from event organisers, exhibitors and visitors. They are set to be showcased in a public exhibition, ahead of a planning application in September.

"This extraordinary investment will ensure our visitors, event organisers and exhibitors continue to have the best experience possible for years to come," added Nigel Nathan, managing director of Olympia.

Thomas Heatherwick ranked at number 18 on Dezeen Hot List 2017 and is also a judge for the upcoming Dezeen Awards.

Based in London, he is working on several other projects include the city, including Google's HQ and the Coal Drops Yard shopping centre, both in King's Cross. He was also the designer behind the controversial Garden Bridge, but the project has now been scrapped.

Main visual is by Ars Visualis.