Legends seeks to up fan experience with flexible Avicii Arena vision

Premium experiences company Legends International has said a new rigging structure and acoustic technology are among the elements it is working on in order to deliver a new-look Avicii Arena that can better cater to events of all shapes and sizes.

Earlier this month, Legends was appointed to lead the reimagining of the Stockholm venue.

Stockholm Globe Arena Fastigheter (SGAF), owner of the venue, announced a team, led by Legends as project manager, to support it in revamping the performance space of Avicii Arena, in accordance with preliminary decisions made by Stockholm City Council.

Legends has been appointed to deliver project management services, and to lead a team of experts in supporting SGAF, creating a concept design and contributing to the business case, with the focus on enhancing the fan and guest experience and additional revenue generation.

Legends’ appointment came after SGAF called for “innovative and creative solutions” from companies across the world as it seeks to secure the future of the arena for the next three decades.

Avicii Arena, the world’s largest spherical building, opened in the Swedish capital in 1989, but SGAF in March 2020 launched a procurement process to find solutions for scaling down the arena space.

Under ‘Globe 2.0’, SGA Fastigheter hopes to transform the arena into a venue that can quickly adapt from accommodating 14,000 visitors to around 6,000. The core tenets enshrined in the tender remain key to the demands being placed on Legends and its fellow team members two years on.

Martin Jennings (pictured below), UK managing director and head of global planning for Legends International, told TheStadiumBusiness.com: “Yes, the key goals of the project remain the same as those established by SGAF in March 2020 – to give Avicii Arena a way to flex and downscale, so that every concert, every ice hockey game, and every other event in the venue has a performance space bespoke to the needs of athletes, stars, crew and, of course, fans.

“Creating the optimal environment for each hockey game or live event will feed into fan and guest experience, into the atmosphere, and ensure that artists, teams and fans enjoy memorable nights at Avicii Arena for years to come.

“Fundamental to this is working in lockstep with Avicii Arena’s expert operator, Stockholm Live, whose deep knowledge of the arena, the existing venue campus, the Stockholm market for sport and live events, and commercial acumen will be central to the project’s success.”

The new structural concept for Avicii Arena is being divided into five key topics, according to schlaich bergermann partner, the company responsible for this side of the project.

Firstly, the existing structure is being examined in an ongoing process to understand and quantify its structural system, geometry and performance. A 3D as-built model will be created based on execution drawings, old archive maps and photographic analysis. As a result of this model, several components of the existing structure will make way for the new design and therefore will be partially demolished or potentially reused for arena retrofits.

The new structural concept is intended as an extension to the arena that sits on top of the existing structure and its radial ribs at each radial axis. Compression ring, radial bars, undulating inner ring and inner cable net structure form the primary load bearing steel structure.

Structural timber gondolas are suspended from the undulating inner ring as permanent loads, forming a seating area closer to the event floor. For the resulting “stress state”, the structure is numerically shaped and optimised as an efficient, lightweight structure.

Flexible moveable panels intend to serve as an adaptable acoustic interlayer that allow optimisation of the reverberation time for different types of events. When not in use, they can be stored out of sight to allow views into the dome of the arena. The cable net substructure of the panels is being envisioned as a flexible rigging zone, in addition to a new stage rig system.

Regarding the focus on flexibility, Jennings said: “We’re working closely with SGAF and Stockholm Live to determine precisely how best we can build in this flexibility. Currently, we are spending time at the venue and with the teams that operate the building to understand their anticipated event calendar and the unique aspects of such a well-loved architectural icon.

“We are interested in using acoustics, lighting, colour, surfaces, draping, and new rigging structures to bring the space to life – all have a role to play in creating the stage for top performers to continue to choose Avicii Arena as the place to play and for a great ice hockey experience.”

Now over three decades old, Avicii Arena is understandably short of the kind of guest experience the world’s sleekest new arenas can offer. The new rigging structure and acoustics are one example of the latest technology being planned to bring the venue up to modern-day standards.

“Fan and guest experience is central to every decision on this project, and incremental revenue generation is a natural consequence of optimising the venue for experience,” said Jennings. “We are focused on making what is a very large building feel much like a much smaller, atmospheric setting – whether this is making a concert feel intimate, or bringing ice hockey fans even closer to the action. As we work with SGAF to develop these concepts, we’ll no doubt use technology where this can help the venue achieve its goals.

“One of the key interventions in our new concept is to introduce a new rigging structure and acoustics, which feature movable panels to make sure the dome of the Globe can be visible when they are not in use. Both structures are using cutting-edge design and technology, allowing touring productions of scale to load in and out quickly, safely, and easily, and facilitating quick turnarounds between ice hockey and concert modes.”

Regarding the timeline for the project moving forward, he added: “Final approval for the project is currently in process with SGAF and Stockholm City Council. We are planning everything now to be ready to move the project forward once final approvals are made, with the aim to undertake the lion’s share of the work during 2024.”

Main Image: HOK

Exterior Image: Sören Andersson, 2see.se