Volvo Ocean Race Village Model - Abu Dhabi

Updated: Mar 2, 2020

The Volvo Ocean Race was diverted though Abu Dhabi who was one of the major competitors in the race and sponsors of the race that year. It was decided that a Race Village model was to be built a few months in advance of the launch as part of a marketing package promoting the event.

Modelart was chosen by TDIC to model the occasion. Our normal process requires a design that is resolved and documented by architects, planners, engineers, industrial designers and the like. In this instance we had a basic master plan layout of buildings on a pier as reference with the surrounding context derived from a Google map. Most other material was of an advertising/ marketing nature, comprised of rendered concepts and perspectives. Much of the work was Modelarts interpretation based on the material provided to us.

The project required two models. Scale 1: 200 showing the yacht mooring area in a fairly high level of detail and 1: 400, extending outwards to include adjacent horseshoe shaped bay where many of the local boat owners moor their craft. The second model helped to contextualize the scale 1: 200 zoomed in version with landmarks that would be familiar to those with knowledge of the area.

One of the outstanding features of the village was that the architecture was made almost exclusively from used shipping containers. The clever arrangement and modification into functional spaces cloaked in branding gave the impression of modern permanent structures. The idea at the time was that once the show had passed, the containers would be dismantled and stored in a cluster for re-use in the years that would follow. The pier would then be able to return to functional normality.

There was an area set aside along the peninsular for rock concerts. A dry dock where the yachts could be hoisted onto trestles for running repairs with public viewing areas adjacent. The vast communal area included restaurants, exhibition spaces, video lounges, augmented reality experiences, and a portable Imax theatre. There were elevated and terrestrial viewing platforms for those wanting to get a real life glimpse of the action that surrounds this most prestigious maritime event. Special effects lighting was in important feature in developing the fanfare for those visiting after dark; as people do in the Gulf region.

The two models were displayed on bespoke mobile presentation platforms. Each was mounted on an aluminum frame and encapsulated in toughened safety glass covers. To enhance the scale model experience, we attached a sound actuator to the inner glass top of the larger model. The actuator transfers the sound resonance into the glass. The effect is that the glass surface becomes a large speaker that is clearly audible no matter where one stands to view the model. It is difficult to discern the source of the sound as it appears to be all around and most effective. Linked to an MP3 player there was a continuous flow of race updates, interviews, race history, technical subjects, what to expect when the yachts finally land in Abu Dhabi and more.

The models were securely packed and delivered to Cowes Week. Cowes Island is situated off the South Coast of England and hosts the annual maritime sporting event known as Cowes Week. This gathering is etched into diaries of the Who’s Who of the global yachting fraternity and has been in existence since 1826. The models on display would help tell the story of the inclusion of the Abu Dhabi Leg into the race. From Cowes, the models were re located to Alicante in Spain to be part of their race start celebrations and then onto Abu Dhabi in anticipation of the event coming to town before departure on the next leg to Cape Town. Modelart managed the logistics and installation at each destination.

Model projects with a high level of prestige such as the Volvo Ocean Race require special attention in order that the story is well told. The sentiment echoed in an email from Stephen Hafer commenting on the response from the CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, reassure us that we were able to achieve the desired result.

From:Stephen Hafer

Hi Megan and Mark,

First off just want to let you know that the model was very well received at Cowes Week in the UK. Apparently, the CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race commented that it was the most accurate VOR host city model he’d ever seen. Nice job!

Founded 1988. “the original Modelart”

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