A representative of Coca-Cola's Happiness House pavilion gives us a quick tour
Coca-Cola have a long history with the Olympic Games as a sponsor, in particular as the key supporter of the Olympic Torch Relay (set to touch down in Host City Vancouver tomorrow), which has been an unqualified success for Canada's 2010 Games. A company like Coca-Cola knows a lot about user experience, which is why they can set the bar for interactive facilities like Happiness House at LiveCity Yaletown. On Tuesday afternoon, CityCaucus.com was afforded a whirlwind "first look" of Happiness House, most of which we captured on video here.
It would appear that Coca-Cola are responding to the times with a big emphasis on sustainability. The pavilion has several displays that describe new technologies that are helping to reduce the carbon footprint of their products, and as well visitors get to get active in a "virtual recycling" interactive game.
Happiness House feels like a giant interactive game. After you pass through a small but impressive front lobby that feels like a Coca-Cola history museum, full of photos, old bottles and past Olympics uniforms (the silver boots from Calgary '88 are the real keepers), you enter a darkened cinema space. A pretty impressive 6-minute video with tons of footage from the 45,000km Torch Relay trek are added to an upbeat music track.
Then there's "the reveal" – a big wall is drawn back to show Happiness House. It's a big fun zone with impressive bottle art and various stations with interactive games. At least 2 of the displays have direct legacies for British Columbia, with funds going to a local aboriginal youth society (earned from the sale of Coca-Cola bottle art), and the giant recycling game helps to pay for a sport court in East Vancouver.
You also get to post with the Olympic Torch (yes, a real one but without the flame) and the photos will be automatically uploaded to a Facebook page (if you have an account). The roof of the giant "Coke can" pavilion pulls back at night to reveal a pretty cool projection of images and graphics that shine through the top.
I got my hand on a cute little plastic "glow bottle" and carried it home for my kid. I didn't realize until I got back that by clicking a switch at the bottle of it that it begins to shine in multiple colours. Kind of a lava lamp for the age.
Happiness House is going to be a huge draw of the incredibly impressive LiveCity Yaletown site. The concert stage and surrounding pavilions will no doubt be a huge draw for all members of the family. Best way to get their is via Canada Line, and getting out at Yaletown-Roundhouse station. Happiness House and LiveCity Yaletown opens
Thursday, February 11 Friday, February 12th to the public.