14 Sep 2021 • Hospitality
Off-field: This football-focused entertainment venue by Gensler doubles as a community hub
Leisure, sport and technology combine at TOCA Social, designed by Gensler as an ‘inclusive, immersive football experience’ in London’s O2 Arena.
Part bar, part entertainment venue, the concept takes visitors through the ‘journey of a footballer’ by playing on the typologies of space found in stadia; beginning in the changing rooms, leading through a multi-sensory tunnel of bright lights, before arriving into the playing area. At just shy of 38,000 sq-ft, the venue includes 17 immersive pitches, three bars, two selfie booths, a desert room and a bathtub. This range of spaces gives visitors a large array of activity choice, allowing them to be as engaged – or not – as they’d like. Bold and confident design, enhanced by feature lighting and sports paraphernalia brings the concept to life in a dynamic environment of fun games with a football theme.
Aside from the cool interior design and dedicated implementation of the concept, what makes this such a successful venue is the considered merger between the sport and social aspects, ensuring a fun time for all visitors regardless of their age, ability or level of interest. As we emerge from a highly restricted 18 months, experiential venues like TOCA Social will play an important part of bringing people back together in new and interesting ways, as people look for group activities that go beyond the norm. The incorporation of AI technology games and multi-sensory spaces takes entertainment to the next level, while still creating a comfortable environment that encourages people to come together to socialize and play.