Fast Company Names Populous a 2018 Most Innovative Company

February 20, 2018

Populous was recently named in Fast Company’s 2018 Most Innovative Companies list as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Live Events. This year marks the fourth listing of Populous in Fast Company’s annual Most Innovative Companies list, having previously received recognition in the architecture (2013) and sports (2009 and 2010) categories.

The three live event innovations which earned Populous a spot in this year’s list include bringing safe-standing space to the MLS with Orlando City Stadium, first-to-market team viewing areas for fans and the design of the world’s first purpose-built eSports venue.

“Innovation is always easier said than done, and seeing our efforts recognized in the 2018 Most Innovative Companies list is an honor,” said Populous managing director Earl Santee. “We develop our designs out of a passion for creating better experiences for anyone who visits our buildings. It’s not the easy way, but we believe it’s the only way.”

Safe-standing space was a long-time staple for soccer fans in Europe, and through research, technology and lessons learned from decades of stadium design experience, the firm revived a key component of soccer history for the MLS. This standing-only space, coined “the wall” at Orlando City Stadium encourages active cheering through all 90 minutes of gameplay and fosters a sense of comradery with surrounding fans.

Team viewing areas offer fans a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite teams and players, blurring the boundaries between the player and spectator experience. New glass walls and floors offer fans never-before-seen views of teams as they prepare for games in training and locker room warm up spaces, or as they traverse between team areas and field through the player tunnel. Populous offers these innovations in designs for collegiate and professional ballparks, arenas, stadiums and more.

eSports themselves turn the traditional spectator model upside-down, commanding design which bridges the gap between digital and physical to provide a powerful experience. From LED-clad entrance tunnels to premium seating areas featuring real-time player data, the future eSports venue, unveiled by Populous at SXSW in 2017, was recognized for redefining the immersive live event experience of the future.

Honorees of Fast Company’s live events category of Most Innovative Companies include Live Nation, WeWork, the Museum of Ice Cream, and several other companies focused on providing unforgettable live experiences.

“This year’s MIC list is an inspiring and insightful window into how many companies have embraced innovation and are working to make meaningful change,” said Fast Company deputy editor David Lidsky, who oversaw the issue with senior editor Amy Farley.

Most Innovative Companies is Fast Company’s signature franchise and one of its most highly anticipated editorial efforts of the year. It provides both a snapshot and a road map for the future of innovation across the most dynamic sectors of the economy.


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