After an exhausting day on the sand at Horse Guards or in the giant whale in the Olympic Park, where can the athletes go to kick back and chill out? Where does Bradley Wiggins get his gelato fix? Where can Oscar Pistorius fill his spare time with some FIFA? And where does Victoria Pendleton find a familiar red telephone box to catch a breath in? Well we’ve found just the place.
Click images to enlarge.
Having provided athletes with legendary eye protection since 1980, Oakley have arrived in town to provide the perfect solution. Creating the plushest of settings for Oakley-endorsed athletes to catch some respite during London 2012, they’ve popped-up at The London Design Museum with their very own ‘Safehouse‘, the perfect place to spend some downtime away from the hullabaloo of the Olympic Park or the athlete’s village.
Cuan Petersen, Director of Performance Sports Marketing for Oakley, explained the concept to i-D online, “we try to create a space for athletes to come and really be themselves where we essentially guarantee them safety and a sanctuary away from the limelight, away from the media. We open it to their family and friends and really they can just come and enjoy our hospitality.” As they prepare to perform under intense pressure on a global stage, getting the athletes to relax is by no means easy, and its the personal touches that make the place feel like home. With members of Team Oakley flying in from their H.Q in Orange County, L.A, all hands have hit the deck to cater to their sportsmen and womens’ every need. Gelato comes in abundance courtesy of Covent Garden iced-treatery La Gelatiera, many a celebratory glass of Tattinger fizz is on hand should the occasion be called upon, there’s TV screens left right and centre for the athletes to kick back and watch their teammates on and this still leaves photo-booths masquerading as telephone boxes, a fully staffed and serviced restaurant and one very special centrepiece…
At the heart of the Safehouse is what Oakley’s Durdam Rocherolle describes as “the nucleus of the project.” Within the hub, athletes are invited to create their very own pair of 2012 Olympic Oakley glasses. Fully customisable by the athletes to suit their exacting sporting needs as well as their aesthetic preferences, Oakley Design Engineer Ryan Calilung explained athletes can “colour co-ordinate or colour contrast, depending on the personality. They can match their eyewear to their own unique personality and we think it gives them a little bit extra comfort.”
As the private Safehouse reigns supreme on the upper floors of The Design Museum, Oakley have also partnered with the museum to curate a public exhibition celebrating design innovation within sport appropriately named, ‘Designed to Win’. Oakley Creative Director, Brian Takumi revealed to i-D, “We’ve had a history of doing the Safehouse at the Olympics with the first one being in 1996, Atlanta. So for this one we wanted to evolve that concept. And the topic came up of doing something more than just the Safehouse, I think that was the biggest evolution of having something more than just where the athletes can go. Having public involvement means giving people the opportunity to see the innovation first hand.”
With a keen for eye for perfection, no detail dodged and a members’ list that’s packed with the world’s most powerful sportspeople, the Oakley Safehouse is most definitely the safest house in London right now.
Text and film: Declan Higgins
Photography: Henry Gorse