Case Study: Stannah lifts make sustainable BBC Earth venue accessible to all

BBC Earth documentaries are renowned for bringing the wonders of the natural world into people’s living rooms across the world. If you are a fan of nature documentaries, you may have wished you could step through your screen to get a closer look at the spectacular scenery on show. You can now do just that without having to organise flights or buy any camping gear. All you need to do is plan a somewhat less perilous trip to the Earls Court exhibition grounds to absorb the beauty of our planet on a breathtakingly epic scale. At the new immersive BBC Earth Experience, you can lose yourself in a forest full of fireflies, discover a colourful carpet of starfish and find yourself witness to a four-tonne elephant seal fight.

Featuring bespoke narration from the legendary David Attenborough, the venue, which opened to the public in May 2023, showcases footage and music from the BBC Studios Natural History Unit television series Seven Worlds, One Planet, projected on multiple multi-angle screens using the very latest digital screen technology. 

The Daikin Centre is the home of this transformative audio visual experience where visitors will feel like they have stepped into the natural world, right in the heart of London. The space has been specially designed to be open for two years before being dismantled and either moved to another spot entirely or its components reused for another project - otherwise known as a “demountable venue”, the latest innovation in sustainable event construction.

The challenge

For the building contractors and architects, designing a sustainable and reusable temporary structure is hard enough, but on top of this, they also needed to make this structure a modern, friendly, accessible environment for all. A major challenge for the BBC Earth Experience construction project was to design lifts that would facilitate wheelchair access, but would not require major structural engineering work to install.

The client

ES Global, a leading provider of temporary overlay, demountable architecture and project management services was the principal contractor and designer of the venue for Mooneye Productions, the client ultimately responsible for the production of the show and its content. ES Global project managed the build within the 2400m2 temporary structure, including the three breakout rooms and the front of house design. 

Stannah was selected to provide the lifts by ES Global and WOO Architects, working with them closely to design and deliver the perfect lift solution for the temporary venue. Two Stannah Piccolo platform lifts were selected for the project, each with a capacity of 400 kg. These low-speed lifts manufactured by Stannah in the UK combine the benefits of a platform lift with the features of a conventional passenger lift, including a full lift car with stainless steel finish, sliding landing doors and automatic controls. The Piccolo lift is a popular alternative to passenger and platform elevators, due to the minimal builders’ work required, quick installation and sleek design that allows them to blend smoothly into any building.

“Just over 12 months ago, ES Global embarked on delivering the BBC Earth Experience at Earls Court for our client Mooneye Productions. It was a tall task, but we were confident it could be delivered using our trusted supplier network. Stannah Lifts Ltd took an important role in delivering alongside ES Global.”

ES Global Project Team

The result

Guests can make their way through the immersive main exhibition room to reach a set of stairs where the vista deck and curved screen are situated. They can also witness these moments from above from the balcony that overlooks the main exhibition room. Thanks to the Stannah lifts, this balcony-level view is accessible to all visitors.

“The dedication that Stannah Lifts showed throughout the delivery of the venue is greatly appreciated by all at ES Global and Mooneye Productions. Without you and your team, we would never have succeeded.”

ES Global Project Team

The work from Stannah was delivered on time, on budget and without delays, offering reliable step-free access and an easier travel experience thanks to Stannah’s 150-year lift manufacturing pedigree and the Stannah Promise.