O2 Arena London - Vision Guard Sliding Shutters

The O2 Arene in London seen from across the Thames river in blue evening light with a sliver of the waxing moon shining above it

The O2 arena is the first purpose built music venue in London since the Royal Albert Hall was built in 1871. Located in Greenwich on the banks of the River Thames, it's an iconic building, and we've had the joy of installing a set of FlexiGlide sliding shutters to the bars at the O2.

The choice for FlexiGlide sliding shutters

There are 3 large bar areas in the shape of long, curved islands. These needed to be closed off and secured when not is use. traditional roller shutters wouldn't work due to the bars' rounded designs. Flexiglide sliding shutters turned out to be perfect for the job as they are horizontally driven, lightweight and able to accommodate curves. This meant that that the shutters enclosed the island bars fully whilst also offering security and easy operation.

Vision Guard sliding shutters to bar islands

The Flexiglide Vision Guard sliding shutters were specified to close off the 3 isolated island bars for the main O2 event area. The overall lengths of the shutters are one of 20 metres, and two of 15 metres each.

The photos below show the result.

Sliding security shutter closing off a bar island in the O2 Arena. The HVAC system is visible above the shutter. floor to ceiling vision guard sliding shutter full height curved sliding shutter between a reception desk and a pillar sliding shutter hanging from a ceiling support system 90 degree corner detail of a vision guard sliding shutter in the O2 Arena in London Reception area without security shutter Sliding folding shutter closed in front of a round-shaped bar Detail of locking mechanism of sliding shutter Bar area open when sliding shutters are folded away Bar area closed when sliding shutters are in place Detail of sliding security shutter folding around the 90 degree corner of a bar Set of locking posts securing the shutter curtain in place

Vision Guard shutters were the logical choice, because they are strong as well as lightweight (tap the photos for a larger version).

Sliding security shutter challenges

This was a challenging project as there was no support in place and the ceiling height was over 4 metres high. On top of that there was a multitude of structures such as HVAC and lighting, in the way of the shutter support.

The main challenge was bringing support through the HVAC and lighting supports, to hold the sliding shutters in place. This was achieved through a mixture of Unistrut and timber support coming down from the ceiling beam at irregular intervals. The design involved a structural engineer and our engineer team to create a suitable design to hold the shutters in place.

To add the challenge, once we had worked out all the supports to the shutters, new retail structures had been created on the bar which caused an additional redesign before installation.

Why FlexiGlide sliding shutters were the perfect solution

The bar-islands that the shutters needed to enclose are located away from walls and other supports. In practise this meant that traditional roller shutters could never work, because there was nothing to fix them to.

FlexiGlide sliding shutters are top-hung and don't need any support on the side. They lock into floorsockets at regular intervals, creating a secure curtain. When not in use they slide out of the way, leaving the opening completely free.

Additional advantages

  • FlexiGlide sliding shutters can follow any curve, so they are perfect for rounded and curved openings;
  • Our sliding shutters are made from strong but lightweight aluminium, so they need much less support than traditional roller shutters;
  • FlexiGlide shutters hang down from a 42mm high top-track. Compared to roller shutters (that typically need around 300mm at the top) this is a minimum amount of headroom;
  • We supply sliding shutters in various designs, from fully closed off to completely transparent and everything in between. There's always a sliding shutter that will work well in your situation.
  • FlexiGlide sliding shutters work without the need for a bottom track. So there is nothing on the floor for people to trip over.

Full list of FlexiGlide sliding shutter advantages.

Closing thoughts

The resulting shutters work well and we're very happy with the result. It was a privilege to be able to work on one of London's prestigious building projects and we're proud that FlexiGlide sliding shutters were specified.

If you're visiting the O2 Arena for a show or concert, keep an eye open for the sliding shutters at the bar areas.

Birds-eye view of the O2 Arena with the river Thames going around and the skyline of the city of London in the background in fading evening light

More information

And of course, if you're also considering sliding shutters for a project, we want to hear from you. We're always happy to meet on site or work from design drawings. Contact FlexiGlide to talk to an expert and find out how we can help you.

Photo credits

O2 Arena photos courtesy of AEG Europe UK Press Office. FlexiGlide Vision Guard photos © HVP Security Shutters Ltd.

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