For a unique South African Fanfest 2010
The Fanfest 2010 is about Football Fever and the frenzy that comes with this unbridled love of soccer. It's also about infecting people with the extraordinary energy that is peculiar to South African football fever, and all the cultures and traditions that are unique to the way African fans celebrate the beautiful game.
Reaching Fever Pitch
All pitches start with the discovery of something unique that can be embellished and built on. Our pitch for the FanFest 2010 is no exception – but before we got down to evolving our concept, we thought about the fans.
We considered carefully the passion that people have for the beautiful game and how for most, both locally and abroad, experiencing the World Cup firsthand within a stadium would always remain a dream. But now with the advent of the FanFest comes a chance for fans to experience a different World Cup dream and one that can come true. First and foremost, the FanFest 2010 really is a celebration for soccer lovers.
We also recognised that for us as the host nation, the FanFest 2010 offers a different opportunity – the chance to showcase the personality and culture of South Africa.
What is quintessentially South African? How would we include Africa as a continent? And how would we best showcase this to not only create a memorable FanFest 2010 for local audiences – but international ones too?
We saw it as a challenge to fulfill both the expectations of the fans as well as demonstrate our national pride. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate our creativity – rising to such a challenge through the art of the possible borne out of the love of our country and our craft.
One of our key departure points was to say that the Fanfest 2010 isn’t just about creating a unique and inspiring place where football fans can gather freely to support their teams and their countries. We also saw it as something more – as creating a state of mind. As a way of helping football fans from South Africa, Africa and all over the world reach that emotional high that brings people together in the true spirit of the beautiful game.
We used the layout of a football pitch in creating the venue for the greatest party ever
That’s how we came to brand our pitch the FanFest 2010 Fever Pitch. But our thinking didn’t stop there. We went further. We thought about how to get people to the venue – and how to get them worked up into the right kind of fever. It’s a party after all, so you have to invite people and make sure they come in the mood for a jol! For us that meant designing our invitation as something for everyone, something with universal appeal, something with broad distribution. Something accessible. We found a medium that answered all of these criteria – in a can of Coca-Cola specially produced with a limited edition design that could communicate to all the fans the Fever Pitch concept.
We also suggested complementing this with messages via other non-traditional promotional media such as SMS, MMS and so on – taking the fever airborne so to speak, and warming everyone up by telling them what to expect at the FanFests, where they would be happening and when.
Then we imagined the actual day of a FanFest. As morning breaks on the day of the party, we would send our fans another signal. This time something quite African. Call it a primal beacon. Perhaps coloured smoke signals from flares call fans to join in, something to stimulate their senses and draw them instinctively to the venue.
Fans play the most important position of all – that of supporter
There on the FanFest 2010 Fever Pitch, in the centre of the pitch or venue, will be a circular stage right where the centre circle would be. This is the kick-off point, from where the smoke rises. And as fans flood onto the field vuvuzelas will blast their ears to signal their arrival at the FanFest 2010, audio installations will boom out deep drumming like pounding hearts, and the fiery structure will indicate that this is the hot spot where thousands of football fans jump in celebration as they reach Fever Pitch together.
Literally, at the centre of our concept and our FanFest venue will be a circle of fire – a symbol rooted deep within our African subconscious. After all, fire is central to our African lives – as the inner circle of our community spirit – and fire burns within each of us as our hopes, dreams and our passion. Around fire we come together to share stories – something that has long been a part of Africa’s oral traditions. We cook our food upon fire and it is part of our rituals and rites of passage. Fire invites us in and unites us as we gather together around its warmth. It is like the sun – a circle of both fire and life.
It is the energy that sustains us. It is the origin. It burns hot just like a fever. These are also the reasons why the symbol of fire lies at the centre of our venues. Now at the centre circle of the field, not only does the game itself kick off but also one of the biggest parties in the world.
Other elements of our Fanfest 2010 Fever Pitch also echo the structure of a football pitch
For example, at either end of the venue you'll find huge viewing screens where you would normally find goal posts. This means fans can support their own team on either side of the field if they want – so like a football game, fans can have their own side and surround themselves with their own team supporters too. Corner posts will feature as photo-luminescent cables that will delineate the ‘pitch’ in a 3-dimensional sense. On a practical level, shade-nets have also been included based on learnings from Germany where the FanFests lacked enough shade and because filtering the harsh African sun will be crucial. Perimeter stands have been designed as multifunctional units that not only emphasize the space but are still practical as modular structures for the supply and distribution of food, information, merchandising and first aid – especially allowing for accessibility and people flow.
In keeping with our unique African spirit and our Fever Pitch theme, vending units providing shade will be open and accessible from all sides and designed to look like Fever Trees.
Adding to our practical thinking was that fact that the entire design of the FanFest fields and associated elements are purposefully engineered for replication. In other words, they are expandable in ratio and are modular due to their geometric shape – so that no matter where a FanFest hotspot would have to be set up (from a place like the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Jozi to some small field in a town in the middle of nowhere), a FanFest could vary in size from one field to 20 fields, whichever was required.
In Africa nothing goes to waste
Of course, while the design of our venues for our Fanfest 2010 Fever Pitch is not only intended to enhance the experience and a soccer fever state of mind, it also has a greater purpose – one which good design should be aware of given the dire condition of our planet. Almost every element is designed to be re-purposed, recycled and transplanted.
This means that where a community may have had nothing, after hosting one of our Fanfest 2010 Fever Pitches, elements will remain standing as real football pitches where people can continue to celebrate the beautiful game.
The Fire Drum in the centre circle was also designed to have multiple uses – as a refuse bin, braai, beacon or lantern. After all, nothing in Africa goes to waste. In manufacturing our Fire Drums, we will employ the skills of community craft projects where locals are employed and the proceeds of any sale go back into the community. Afterwards, the Fire Drums could become refuse bins donated to the community, left as beacons and reminders. Fever trees will become shade structures for future fans – and they can be transplanted as trees alongside fields in under-privileged communities. Perimeter stands can be moved to become bus shelters or taxi shelters.
The platform underneath the centre circle fire drum is also a gift to the city, an open air stage that we suggest is purposefully designed for each host city so that they become something of value, a national icon in their specific urban environment where people naturally gather to express their freedom. Even the FanPack comes as a multi-purpose carry bag that could also become a seat and when turned over can be used as a drum – so that it can be bought, taken home and used again.
In this way the design of our FanFest 2010 Fever Pitch was not only intended to create an inspiring experience and leave the fans in Africa and around the world with wonderful memories but when the World Cup Soccer leaves the continent, it will also leave behind something more meaningful for football fans in Africa: a foothold on the future.