London has a new tourist attraction, but for 5 years only. Located at Queen Elizabeth Park where the 2012 Olympics took place you can find the 3,000-capacity ABBA arena. This is home to the unique ABBA voyage experience where you can view digital avatars of the iconic band from Sweden.

This gives visitors the opportunity to experience ABBA live in concert as if they were performing at the peak of their musical powers. The whole experience is breath-taking making use of cutting-edge modern technology to give the feel of a “real-life” performance. And the surreal feeling of going back in time to the 1970s when ABBA dominated the European charts.

It is a space-age virtual ABBA experience enabling the audience to see a band as they were at the height of their career. A totally mind-blowing show giving the crowd a near-to-life view of this great band, playing all the classic hits at their peak.

The ABBA members themselves had great input into the ABBA voyage experience by taking care of small details such as handpicking each of the hits which feature in the 90-minute concert. The aim of the band was to create the kind of concert they always wanted to perform for their fans.

With 7 shows a week spread out across Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, thousands of music fans will be able to soak in the ABBA experience. This is a great new attraction the capital city of England now offers to visitors.

A standout feature is attention to detail throughout the project. Designed by Stufish Entertainment architects. The intention was to create one of London’s top cultural destinations. The hexagonal steel and timber frame wrapped around an ABBA LED logo was designed to provoke the curiosity of all those who could see the arena. Interestingly, this is the world’s largest demountable structure and is only set to stay in London for 5 years before moving to another destination.

The venue’s roof and walls were specially designed to serve the dual purpose of minimizing noise to those in residential areas surrounding the arena, whilst providing the best acoustics for those enjoying the concert. Two layers of insulated panels were used in the construction of the walls to optimize the thermal and acoustic performance of the external envelope.

For the roof, Alphateq Waterproofing was used as a consultant as to which of the available waterproofing systems was suitable for this project. Due to the hexagonal shape of the flat roofing creating multiple angles, a hybrid system was needed to reliably waterproof potential weak points. The challenge here was to use a waterproofing system that was durable, aesthetically pleasing, and with great elasticity. It was advised liquid waterproofing for flat roofs with such requirements was the most suitable solution. The product recommended was Mariseal 250 with a Mariseal 400 top coat. 

Mariseal 250 is a single component permanent elastic liquid-applied polyurethane coating. It is highly elastic and comes with a sleek seamless finish. This allowed the flat roof of the ABBA arena to look good and meet its design requirements. The level of detail put into this even went down to changing the standard color of the Mariseal 400 topcoat with a special black color created just for this project.

Black was required due to the way in which the show is projected. It needed complete darkness in the surrounding area, so black was chosen to prevent any light reflection from impacting the experience of the concert.

This special waterproofing finish was installed by leading liquid roofing contractor RJ Evans Flat Roofing Ltd who has worked on prestigious projects such as the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace.

This level of detail carries through to the interior of the arena, with the timber structure reminiscent of Scandinavian architecture to pay homage to the band’s Swedish roots. Thought is also given to the environment with the use of materials with sustainable credentials. The interior has a clean modern look, with a 70-meter uninterrupted space that enabled a 360-degree viewing experience for the audience.

The first performance at this new tourist attraction was attended in May, by celebrities such as Keira Knightley, Kate Moss, and members of the Swedish royal family. Since then music icons such as Mick Jagger have labeled the experience as a ‘technology breakthrough’ opening the door for other iconic bands to offer similar concerts.

If you are a music fan and are close to London at any time in the next 5 years this is an experience you should not let pass by.