Senior Principal, Chief Global Strategy Officer / London
Nicholas is Chief Global Strategy Officer, Director in Populous’ EMEA region and member of the firm’s Global Board of Directors.
Nicholas has worked on a diverse portfolio of innovative and iconic projects around the world, specialising in the design and transformation of iconic major stadia and arenas. He has long explored the strategic opportunities for Populous to evolve into a broad design practice within sports and entertainment through their Interiors, Brand Activation, Event and Consultancy offering. In his CGSO role he is responsible for driving the businesses strategic growth in new and existing services lines and becoming the market leader in digital technologies and sustainable design.
His 25 year career at Populous began with the Sydney Olympic Stadium, focusing on the adaptability of the stadium between events and its post-Olympic transformation.
On his return to London, Nicholas worked on a range of signature projects including the Centre Court at the AELTC, and the Oval cricket ground. He was Design Director for the O2 Arena, a revolutionary scheme involving the construction of a 20,000-capacity arena within the Millennium Dome in London. The project transformed the entire Greenwich Peninsula and since its opening in 2007, has become one of the highest grossing arena in the world.
As Director in charge of the transformation of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, Populous converted the iconic building from its successful games use to its long term multi-functional legacy. Moveable lower tier terracing, enhanced hospitality provision, spectator facilities, and a 360-degree LED façade wrap were added as part of the transformation as well as structural roof changes. Additionally in his stadium portfolio sits the 60,000-seat Groupama Stadium design for Olympique Lyonnais FC, featuring an adaptable concert capacity from 20,000 to 60,000 spectators.
In 2004 he founded Populous’ in-house brand activation and experiential design studio, which specialises in connecting brands to sporting and entertainment venues, delivering commercial value. Notable clients include City Football Group, The Premier League, Chelsea FC, O2 and Cadburys.
Nicholas is passionate about the next generation of live entertainment venues. He leads both MSG Sphere projects, in Las Vegas and London, two state-of-the-art $2bN entertainment venues revolutionizing live experience for audiences. The façade of the Sphere is a dramatic illuminated surface and inside, a High-Tec immersive sensory experience is driven by a 360degree hi res LED surface and beam forming acoustic technologies. He is also the Design Director for the Oak View Group’s Co-Op Live arena in Manchester. It’s cutting-edge approach towards technology, sustainability and multifunctionality places live music at its core and sets the bar for future live music venues.
Nicholas is a regular speaker around the world on the architecture of sport and entertainment buildings, including a TED talk and a wide range of industry conferences, covering their social impact and the role that branding and sponsorship plays in defining their design.