Returning to Paris, France, for their 33rd edition, the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games will mark the 100-year anniversary of the city’s last outing in 1924 as the host for one of the most high-profile events in the arena of global sport. With over 800 days to go till their commencement, this iteration of the age-old athletic spectacle has been promoted as a triumphant return to form for the Olympic Games, in the wake of the pandemic-constrained Tokyo Olympics that occurred last year. With swarms of spectators and residents expected to flock to Paris and observe the scintillating displays of athletic prowess on show, the city is pulling out all the stops to ensure that the event lives up to all the hype that has been gradually building up after a stellar handover ceremony at the conclusion of the last Olympics in Japan, that reportedly saw an audience of over 5,000 in attendance. As the countdown begins for the return of sport’s most celebrated stage, STIR offers a curated selection of some of the most intriguing architecture and design endeavours as well as larger initiatives that will enliven the city of lights in two years’ time.
1. Opening Ceremony
In order to create a truly immersive spectacle to inaugurate the Games, the organising committee has resolved to transform the format of the opening ceremony, moving it from the confines of a stadium to the urban landscape of the city itself. Conducted along the banks of Paris’ main waterway – the River Seine – the festivities will include a parade over the water’s surface, featuring athletes as well as stage performers, alongside light shows, holographic projections, and other immersive installations and showcases, in what is set to be the largest such event in the Games’ history. Following the course of the river over a stretch of six kilometres, the parade will pass by a number of important venues, including the Place de la Concorde, the Esplanade des Invalides, the Grand Palais, before coming to a halt at the Trocadéro for the ceremony’s emphatic finale.
2. Emblem Design
Channelling the iconography of the Olympic Games through the image of Marianne, the personification of the French Republic, and one of the country’s most recognisable symbols, the new emblem for Paris 2024 is restrained in its design yet exuberant in the sense of identity it portrays. Borne from an abstracted fusion of the Olympic flame and medal, as well as the quintessential image of a Parisienne as embodied by Marianne, the graphic design of the emblem was developed by Ecobranding headed by French designer Sylvain Boyer. The product of this venture is a brand identity that is refined yet relatable, sophisticated yet subtle, and bold yet unembellished.
3. Eiffel Tower Site Redevelopment by Gustafson Porter + Bowman
Having emerged as the winner of a design competition titled Site Tour Eiffel, London-based landscape architecture practice Gustafson Porter + Bowman’s proposal titled OnE, envisions a new unified axis that places strong emphasis on what is likely the world’s most famous wrought iron structure. Celebrating the tower as the focal point of the redevelopment between the Palais de Chaillot at the Place du Trocadéro and the École Militaire at the Place Joffre by enhancing the sense of perspective through a central axis described as a ‘landscape of power’, this new urban design venture will introduce a host of regreened public spaces under its scheme. These will include an amphitheatre at the Trocadéro, additional public space at the Varsovie Fountains, two new squares at either end of the Pont d’Iéna – which will be reimagined as a green bridge, a planted landscape beneath the tower itself, as well as elevated lawns for the Champ de Mars.
4. Olympic Medal Design concept by Philippe Starck
Reflecting the Paris 2024 motto ‘Made for Sharing’, Philippe Starck has envisioned a concept for the 2024 Olympic medal that can be split into four. The French industrial designer and architect developed this innovative take on a longstanding Olympic tradition while considering the increasingly collaborative nature of contemporary sport, where even individual athletes are backed by teams of professionals working to optimise their performance. Describing it as a tribute to the power of team spirit, Starck’s medal design consists of a disc featuring the Olympic emblem emblazoned on one of its surfaces. The disc itself can be broken into three additional sections that are identical, for winners to share with their mentors and loved ones.
5. Olympic and Paralympic Village – Dominique Perrault Architecture
French architect Dominique Perrault and his eponymous studio have imagined the Olympic and Paralympic village in association with a number of other firms to house athletes for the Games, with a design approach that prioritises sustainability, and a strong grounding in the history and existing geography of its 51-hectare Seine-Saint-Denis site. With good connectivity to venues and major attractions throughout the larger metropolitan area of Paris via road or rail, the project fosters connections between its context and the larger city as well as a perpendicular relation to the trajectory of the River Seine, in accordance with the area’s present urban grain. Under its scope, the venture will integrate public spaces, parks, and mixed-use areas, laid out in a configuration that echoes the anchoring of six boats anchored along the banks of the river. Moderating density with a link to the human scale, the project is expected to transform into an urban district of its own accord, melding with the fabric of its surroundings after the Games in 2024.