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We are a London-based design studio working in products, spaces and strategy.
We were asked by Selfridges to design and develop an installation for display in the prestigious departments store’s Oxford street window during the London Design Festival 2008. The aim was to create an exciting and engaging installation that captures the company’s rich history in showcasing state-of-the-art technology and design.
When Selfridges opened in 1909 it displayed the Bleriot XI, the first aeroplane to cross the English Channel from Dover to Calais. This marked an era of glamorous association between travel, technology and luxury goods.
The Concorde brought this era to its pinnacle, and its grounding and removal from service also brought the era to a close. The fastest commercial aeroplane ever engineered couldn't keep up with political and economic changes that made it untenable to operate, relegating it to the status of technological dinosaur for use only in museums and books. Olympus is a celebration of the tremendous technological feat of Concorde and also a eulogy for the elegance and aspirations that died with it.
Using a maintenance manual purchased on Ebay for £6 and a lot of styrofoam, paper and glue, we engaged in a bit of recent-past archaeology to construct a full-scale model of the Rolls-Royce/Snecma Olympus 593 jet engine from the Concorde. Taking the form of an abstracted, three-dimensional technical drawing, it presents the beautiful technical perfection of the engine and shows the distance between today's budget-airline reality and the era of technological optimism Olympus comes from.