Posted in Events
Pass the Vodka – Sochi House
he first thing I noticed when arriving at Sochi House was all the great Sochi 2014 branding that was plastered all over, helping transform what locals know as Science World to a different venue. A huge fan of the logo and branding of the 2014 games, Sochi House does a good job of positioning itself within this already identifiable brand.
After admiring the outside of the building, my admiration soon turned to horror when I saw the line up to get inside. It took me about 5 minutes to find the end of the line because it twisted and turned so much. I decided to suck it up, my Olympic experience thus far has taught me that I would be waiting in line no matter where I went. The line moved really fast and in about an hour I was inside.
After passing by the countdown to Sochi clock, which had 1453 days remaining, I was greeted by friendly staff which were for the most part Russian, speaking very little English. Much of the main floor was dedicated to the promotion of the Krasnodar Region, which is the region that is home to Sochi city. Pictures of rolling green hills and picturesque beaches were used to promote the area. Who knew Russia was so beautiful?
A large 3-D model was laid out to show the planned lay-out of the 2014 Games. The set up looks great conceptually but it will be interesting to see how practical it turns out to be; apparently a majority of the venues still need to be constructed.
The highlight of the first floor is the live Russian music. There were ladies in traditional costume, singing and playing percussion, an accordionist and guitarist. They put on a great show and had the whole crowd clapping and involved. There was also a picture opportunity to hold the torch with a former torch-bearer.
The second floor was one giant advertisement for the sponsors of 2014. Megafon, Audi, Volkswagen, Cbepbahk, Rosneft energy all had large sections solely dedicated to advertising. These areas could have been more interactive but instead were passive, static advertisements. The second floor did have some unsponsored activities including a Nintendo Wii set-up, virtual hockey, box hockey, and 5-6 display cases with hockey paraphernalia from past international competitions. All these activities, scattered in between the sponsored sections were very cool, loads of fun, but quite sparse.
There was also a big Team Russia store where you could purchase all kinds of Russian branded clothing, including the flashy gear that the athletes have been wearing.
The Sochi night club looked like it would be a good time, though it is not operational until after 5pm, when the Sochi house is closed to the public.
On the third floor the Imax theatre was being used to play Russian films. There were not many people in the theatre when I checked it out; I’m guessing the time commitment needed to watch a full film had turned most visitors off.
All in all I had fun at the Sochi House. It seemed that the organizers struggled a bit to use all the space, as this is a huge venue, but scattered throughout was enough to do to keep me entertained for about an hour. I probably spent more time in the queue than I did in the venue, but I still think that it was worth it. Between the Russian entertainment, Russian-speaking staff, Russian advertisements, I definitely felt like I was having a Russian experience, all that was missing was perhaps some Vodka.