The 007 Elements James Bond visitor experience, the first dedicated Bond building in the world and an extraordinary feat of architecture, is set to open on July 12.
The cinematic visitor experience has been masterminded by production company EON (Everything or Nothing) in partnership with MGM Studios and Bergbahnen Sölden. 007 Elements, influenced by set designs from the films and famed Bond designer Sir Ken Adam, perches a staggering 10,000 feet up Austria’s Gaislachkogl mountain. The spectacular setting echoes the James Bond movies in pushing the boundaries of what is humanly and technically possible.
The structure was designed by award-winning Austrian architect Johann Obermoser. He planned a pure villain’s lair tunnelled right into the mountaintop. Very little is visible from the outside – just the entrance and exit, two windows that project outwards and a plaza that gives panoramic views of the surrounding peaks and valleys. He also designed the cable car station and the glacially beautiful ice Q restaurant (which featured in Spectre).
Never say never again
The build was far from simple. “The permafrost at this elevation, the geological fault lines, and the exposed location on the peak created huge challenges during the build,” says Obermoser in a report by Architectural Digest. “Crew could not work there for more than a few weeks at a time, meaning we continually needed to rotate them.”
Then came winter, one of the harshest the region has experienced recently. “The snowfall prevented us from getting vehicles to the site, so we ended up having to fly the concrete in by helicopter,” Obermoser recalls. “It is a deceptively large structure—320,000 cubic feet in volume.”
The incredible building has to be kept at a chilly 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit. This is to avoid the risk of disturbing the ice-bound foundations.
A palette of concrete, glass and steel
UK-based art director Neal Callow worked on all the Daniel Craig Bond films. “We paid particular attention to textures and contrasting light and dark,” says Callow. “Using a reduced palette of concrete, steel, and glass, we marked out the various spaces using oversize stainless steel doors and suspended ceilings of perforated black steel that enhance the soundproofing. Inspired by Ken Adam, we set out to elevate the visitor-going experience to the artistic level.”
A walkable movie experience
Designer Tino Schaedler of design studio Optimist says the goal was to shift from the conventional museum experience to “an immersive spatial sequence that speaks to the senses and feels more like a walkable movie—a cinematic experience. There is the ability to interact with exhibits, some of which show how the action sequences from Spectre, shot in the area, were choreographed. So visitors will get an insider’s look at the making of these iconic films.”
He explains that visitors enter the experience through the Barrel of the Gun, an anteroom given over to the movies’ classic title sequences and legendary music. They then embark on a journey through nine chambers. “They lead imperceptibly downward,” he says. “Through various theatrical presentations and soundscapes”:
- The Plaza is an open-air structure with imposing angles framing the mountain panorama
- The Lobby is the archetypal Bond antechamber. A film narrated by director Sam Mendes (Skyfall, Spectre) takes the visitor on a journey through the history of the Bond movies.
- The Lair features immersive digital theatre, showcasing characters from the movies.
- The Briefing Room features a film narrated by Naomie Harris (Moneypenny).
- The Valley Passage is a glass viewing space.
- The Tech Lab explore the technology behind Bond.
- The Action Hall features the Bond special effects and stunt departments.
- The Screening Room lets guests watch the action sequences from Spectre.
- The Legacy Gallery offers an extensive 007 archive. Merchandise is also on sale here.
007 Elements will open to the public on July 12th.