Southbank Centre Case Study
Southbank Centre was built in 1951 to house the Festival of Britain, and has a long tradition of connecting arts, in sometimes obscure forms, to people. By 2007, however, it was fragmented, with great expertise within each of its four venues—Royal Festival Hall, Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward Gallery—but little to celebrate the greater whole. Its ambition was to unite these venues under a new purpose.
Wolff Olins helped create a new idea for the organisation. “Arts new chemistry” encapsulates the mission to create new types of relationships across art forms, and new types of relationships—less static, less one way—with audiences. It means a new kind of venue, in which particular arts are not confined to particular buildings, nor performances to a stage or audiences to seats. Instead the whole site is fluid and ever-changing. Hence our visual identity, born from mixing pure singular elements to create an ever new series of outcomes.
In partnership with the organization’s new artistic vision, the new brand is having a transformative effect. Southbank Centre is now the instigator and producer of events, not just the receiving house. Visitors have a more integrated experience, which leads them across the site and encourages return visits. Southbank Centre is becoming a destination—a regular haunt for Londoners and an even more desirable partner for performers and artists from all over the world.