Designing for Change

March 12, 2016

Populous’ London office and streetfootballworld are working together to design and deliver amazing events that engage new audiences and help to promote football as a force for good. Populous Associate and Project Lead Emiliano Cevallos tells us about the process so far, and how the design for streetfootballworld Festival 16 is coming together.

The relationship between Populous and streetfootballworld initially came about through a meeting with streetfootballworld USA Managing Director Mike Geddes. I had just been awarded a Populous Fellowship grant, to support my research into how sports architecture could be a catalyst for social change and disaster support around the world. Immediately, streetfootballworld seemed like a perfect fit, both for my research proposal, and with Populous’ experience in designing places where people come together through a love of sport.

Populous and streetfootballworld have very similar ideas around the passion that football creates, and how this can be harnessed for meaningful change. In combining our expertise, we can reinforce streetfootballworld’s fantastic work in supporting and celebrating the field of football for good. Our design goal is to provide uncomplicated yet creative solutions that go to the root of the game, and to the heart of streetfootballworld. This is what we’re very proud to be doing in Lyon this summer.

Over the past 30 years, Populous have been fortunate enough to design events for the Super Bowl, FIFA World Cups, and 13 Olympic and 7 Paralympic Games, giving us some amazing experiences and insight into what makes for great events. Although they might seem different in scale, we always use exactly the same approach, whether for the Olympics or streetfootballworld Festival 16.

For us, it’s all about working out how temporary structures can create safe and efficient designs – and in turn, unique and potentially life-changing experiences – for both participants and spectators.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Festival 16 design, and one of the key challenges, has been in providing spaces that serve as both educational facilities and sporting areas, to meet the needs of streetfootballworld and their unique event. These requirements have meant thinking quite creatively about designing spaces that promote full interaction between players, teams, volunteers and spectators to create a fun and encouraging environment for all participants.

In particular, the ‘central pitch stage’ erected at the heart of the site will serve various important functions throughout the week. As well as hosting a full orchestra and 100-person choir during the opening ceremony, it will provide space for educational teambuilding activities during the first days of the festival, before transforming to facilitate key tournament management areas and shaded socialising space; a functional and central hub from which all participants can enjoy the atmosphere of the tournament.

We’ve been working really closely with both streetfootballworld and Sport dans la Ville to make sure that our designs not only enhance the running of this amazing event, but also create new opportunities for everyone involved and provide a strong legacy for future streetfootballworld events. We’ve also been able to bring one of our overlay specialists from our London office, Soaad Islam, into the project team. Soaad worked as part of the London 2012 overlay and events team, as well as leading Populous’ designs for key venues in the 2015 European Games in Baku.

Populous are really excited about streetfootballworld Festival 16, and being able to be part of an amazing event team. We can’t wait to see the design being used – see you in July!


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