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Visiting the James Bond 007 ELEMENTS installation in Sölden

12 July, 2018

On July 12th 2018, 007 ELEMENTS, a new, officially licenced James Bond experience opens in Sölden, Austria, on the Gaislachkogl at 3,050 m (10,000ft) above sea level. Two days before the public opening, Bond Lifestyle joined fellow Bond fans on a preview mission on the mountain in the Austrian Alps.

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007 ELEMENTS is a cinematic installation based in a building specially designed for the purpose inside the Gaislachkogl mountain in Sölden. The futuristic looking building extends over an area of 1300 m² across two floors and is situated directly alongside the ice Q Restaurant, the location of the Hoffler Klinik in SPECTRE where James Bond (Daniel Craig) meets Madeleine Swann (Léa Seydoux) for the first time and the spectacular pursuit with the Land Rovers and Britton Norman airplane begins.

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007 ELEMENTS is built into the permafrost of the Gaislachkogl mountain
photo © Bond Lifestyle

007 ELEMENTS is a joint project of EON Productions, MGM and Bergbahnen Sölden.

For the pre-opening visit, a group of 20 Bond influencers gathered at the Gaislachkogl mountain cable car on 9.30 am on Tuesday 10 July. After getting our badges we went up in small mountain gondolas to the Middle Station of the climb.

Bond Lifestyle Remmert van Braam Solden 007 Elements

This second cable car station is actually a SPECTRE filming location: this is where Q is being chased by the bad guys (he’s holding on to his Clevo P151SM1 laptop and Barbour x Land Rover briefcase bag).

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Gaislachkogl Middle Station, SPECTRE filming location seen from above from a cable car
photo © Bond Lifestyle

In the middle station, a Range Rover SPORT SVR is on display. This Range Rover with fake dirt and a control cabin on the roof for the stunt men to commandeer the vehicle was used during the filming of action sequences for SPECTRE.

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A Range Rover Sport SVR used by stunt drivers in SPECTRE is on display at Gaislachkogl Middle Station
photo © Bond Lifestyle

The next gondolas to the top of the mountain are bigger than the first ones. Make sure to wait for one of the two 007 ELEMENTS gondolas (one of them should come by every 5 minutes or so). These are gold coloured with 007 ELEMENTS logo on the side, and play Bond film music inside on the way up (but not on the way down) to get you in a Bond mood.

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Make sure to get a gold coloured 007 ELEMENTS gondola for your ride up the mountain
photo © Bond Lifestyle

The ride up to the mountain takes about 20 minutes and is very smooth. The view from the cable car is stunning and gets better and better the higher you go - depending on the weather of course.

We are lucky with the weather conditions during our visit with sun and only a few clouds, although the temperatures are still low, so an N.Peal Cable Roll Neck or N.Peal Mock Turtle Neck sweater is recommended.

On top of the mountain, the Gaislachkogl cable car station looks very futuristic. After stepping out the cable car, it’s only a few steps to reach the ice Q Restaurant. The 007 ELEMENTS structure is built into the mountain and only a small part of it can be seen from the cable car station.

For our pre-opening day, we are led to a bar inside ice Q Restaurant for a briefing by Neil Callow, Creative Director of 007 ELEMENTS, and Art Director on the Bond films Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, SkyFall, SPECTRE and Bond 25. Callow kept a watch over the realisation of his artistic vision as an art director in Sölden. Also present were Tino Schaedler, Head of Design Optimist Inc., Jack Falkner, CEO of Bergbahnen Solden (together with EON and MGM the owner of 007 ELEMENTS) and Hans Obermoser, the architect of 007 ELEMENTS. Obermoser Architects were also responsible for the Gaislachkoglbahn, ice Q Restaurant and the new Giggijochbahn in Sölden.

Entrance - Barrel of the Gun
After the introduction it’s time to visit 007 ELEMENTS. Via a small path behind the restaurant we reach the “gun barrel” hallway, the entrance of the 007 ELEMENTS installation. This is a long dark hallway with a video playing on a large screen at the end.

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007 ELEMENTS entrance hallway
photo © Bond Lifestyle

Naturally, 007 ELEMENTS focuses primarily on SPECTRE and the scenes filmed in Sölden, but it also covers other Bond films.

Plaza
Neil Callow and Tino Schaedler designed the 007 ELEMENTS experience on purpose with the idea of contrast between light and dark, something that was also a theme for the SPECTRE movie. The contrast is immediately clear in the second space of the 007 ELEMENTS, the outside “Plaza”, a terrace with magnificent views. The blinding bright outdoor light on the terrace is in stark contrast with the dark entrance tunnel.

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Art Director Neil Callow at the 007 ELEMENTS Plaza and James Bond's family crest in the background
photo © Bond Lifestyle

The designers of 007 ELEMENTS told us they were very much inspired by the set designs of Ken Adam, who is famous for his designs many of the early Bond films. This influence is perhaps most visible on the outside plaza, where angular lines of the concrete building contrast sharply with the rugged mountain rocks. Truly a stunning architectural feat and the construction of the whole space was extremely difficult, according to the architect, especially during the harsh winter conditions. It’s almost as mad an enterprise as the world domination plans of a Bond villain.

A nice detail is the large metal James Bond family crest ("Orbis Non Sufficit") on one of the walls of the plaza, which reflects beautifully in the circular mirror at the center of the plaza.

Lobby
After the bright terrace, we are led back into the building again, through another door, to the “Lobby”, a chamber that looks like a villains lair with again Ken Adam inspired design. In this chamber, visitors can sit on heated concrete chairs and watch an introduction video presented by SkyFall and SPECTRE director Sam Mendes.

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Mirror Room
The next chamber is a mirror room, reminiscent of Scaramanga’s mirror game room in The Man With The Golden Gun, with double video projections making it even more visually impressive.

Naomie Harris presents...
The next chamber is inspired by a MI6 control room and Naomie Harris on a 360 degrees screen explains more about the SPECTRE filming using video and a 3D map.

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Panorama
Then visitors are led through a hallway with huge panoramic windows which provide amazing views on the surrounding mountains and the road where the SPECTRE chase with Land Rovers, Range Rover and the airplane was filmed.

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Stunning view on Rettenback Gletscher and Glacier Road where SPECTRE was filmed
photo © Bond Lifestyle

Tech Room
The following “Tech Room” is a chamber inspired by Q’s lab in SPECTRE, with several interactive screens and a display of real movie props. The props include Omega gadget watches from several films (Omega is the official sponsor of 007 ELEMENTS): four James Bond OMEGA watches including the Omega Seamaster 300 from SPECTRE, the Omega Seamaster laser watch from GoldenEye, the Omega Seamaster from Tomorrow Never Dies, and the Omega Seamaster with Piton watch from The World Is Not Enough. EON Archivist Meg Simmonds was present during the pre-opening event and explained that she selected some of the props to show how, just like the Bond movies itself, the gadgets evolve throughout the series.

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Original movie props and gadgets selected by Meg Simmonds in the Tech Room
photo © Bond Lifestyle

The side walls feature ‘caverns’ in which interactive touchscreens and motion activated screens give people a chance to discover more about how the Bond films are made or give more details about James Bond’s gadgets.

At the center of one of the walls, a large artistic sculpture of one of the SPECTRE cars is beautifully made, but might be a bit too abstract for some visitors. It has some interactivity with a large moving monitor in front of it, controlled by a touch screen.

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Movie props display case and the stylised SPECTRE Jaguar in the background
photo © Bond Lifestyle

Action Hall
After the Tech Room, we enter one of the most impressive spaces of 007 ELEMENTS: the “Action Hall”. This currently features a truly amazing installation of Bond’s wrecked airplane from SPECTRE, suspended between pieces of cabin wood. Set against huge panoramic windows which let in bright light, making the plane and wood stand out like black silhouettes: a truly artistic work of genius.

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The most impressive installation of the 007 ELEMENTS: the suspended airplane from SPECTRE
photo © Bond Lifestyle

In the same hall, in huge long glass display cases, beautifully crafted stylised miniatures show a three-dimensional storyboard of the action sequence of the airplane and Land Rover chase from SPECTRE.

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Three-dimensional storyboard of the SPECTRE action sequence in Sölden
photo © Bond Lifestyle

The Action Hall features a large ‘hatch’ in the high ceiling, allowing the museum to replace the airplane in the future with other vehicles or set pieces.

Screening Room
In the “Screening Room”, a large projection screen shows visitors the aforementioned action sequence from SPECTRE of the airplanes and Land Rovers and Range Rover, which was filmed on the mountain roads nearby.

Legacy Room
The experience ends in the “Legacy Room”, which features a merchandise shop and more touch screens. The screens allow the visitor to scroll through hundreds of Bond film posters, watch behind the scenes recordings and a Making Of video of 007 ELEMENTS.

The merchandise includes 007 ELEMENTS branded keychains, backpacks, mugs, t-shirts and hoodies, Corgi model cars, Orlebar Brown shorts, books, Swarovski James Bond jewellery, and Bogner (official uniform supplier of 007 ELEMENTS) skiwear. The room also features three original Bogner ski outfits worn by James Bond, taken from the Bogner’s own archives: a blue Bogner jacket as worn by Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, a The Spy Who Loved Me yellow skisuit and red backpack (from the EON archives), and a white snow suit as seen in A View To A Kill.

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Original Bogner suits in display at the 007 ELEMENTS merchandise store
photo © Bond Lifestyle

After the inside experience at 007 ELEMENTS, there’s more to see outside (apart from the amazing views of the surrounding mountains). One of the Land Rover Big Foot Defenders used in SPECTRE is perched on a rock in front of the ice Q Restaurant. Easily reached during the summer months (you can even touch it), and an impressive guard of the start of the ski slopes during the winter months.

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Original SPECTRE Land Rover Defender Big Foot on display on a rock in front of ice Q Restaurant
photo © Bond Lifestyle

Of course the ice Q Restaurant itself is worth a good look and visit, as its modern exterior was featured in SPECTRE as the Hoffler Klinik. Note that the interior scenes were filmed at Pinewood Studios, so the bar where Bond meets Q, and the room where Bond meets Madeleine Swann do not exist. Also the Hoffler Klinik entrance was built temporarily for the film and is not there anymore.

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ice Q Restaurant
photo © Bond Lifestyle

The food at ice Q is outstanding (during our pre-opening visit we were treated to a very tasty lunch) and the view makes the Bond style mountain experience complete.

The amazing architecture mixed with the stunning natural surroundings is perhaps the greatest accomplishment of 007 ELEMENTS. An incredible building, solely built for the purpose of giving visitors a Bond experience on a real Bond filming location. This makes 007 ELEMENTS unique: it’s currently the only officially licenced Bond museum/installation on a Bond filming location.

The experience relies heavily on the use of videos and animations on screens and projections. And while the videos and visuals are well made, one sometimes longs for more tangible elements. The designers explained that they didn’t want to make a theme park style experience, but more an immersive structure where you feel that everything is high-end and classy just like Bond himself. Designs are highly stylised, and not plain entertaining like a fair ride. And while 007 ELEMENTS succeeds in the perfection of the architecture, interior and visual design, visiting 007 ELEMENTS is more like visiting a James Bond art gallery, rather than a museum or entertainment attraction. That's why 007 ELEMENTS is aptly called a "cinematic installation".

Practical information
007 ELEMENTS will be open daily in the summer (12 July - 30 September 2018) and in the autumn/winter (26 October 2018 - 01 May 2019) from 9.00am to 3.30pm.

You need to book one of the time slots: 9 am to 11 am, 11 am to 1 pm or 11 pm to 3.30 pm.

Recommended minimum age: 12 years.

Ticket Rates:
Adults €22.00/ Youth €17.00 / Children €12.00
The admission ticket does not include the uphill and downhill ride on Gaislachkogl Mountain Gondolas I + II. Guests without a valid mountain gondola ticket (e.g. skipass, Ötztal Card) can purchase a Combined Ticket that includes also the uphill and downhill ride on Gaislachkogl Mountain Gondolas I + II and the admission to 007 ELEMENTS.

Combined Ticket Rates:
Adults €54.00 / Youth €49.00 / Children €30.00

For more info and tickets, visit 007elements.soelden.com

Or visit the 007 Elements page on the website of 5-star hotel Das Central for more photos and information.

See photos of Naomie Harris opening 007 ELEMENTS

What to see in Sölden
If you're visiting Sölden, these are the film locations that are worth a visit:

Gaislachkogl Middle Station: triple rope mountain gondola terminal (scenes with Q)

Gaislachkogl: ice Q restaurant and mountain summit (Hoffler Klinik where James Bond meets Madeleine Swann)

Glacier: Road Tunnel connecting Rettenbach and Tiefenbach Glacier and adjacent Glacier Road (chase scene)

For more information about Sölden, visit www.soelden.com

If you have the chance to visit the Alps, the 007 ELEMENTS experience could fit it perfectly with other Bond location visits like Cortina in Italy (For Your Eyes Only), Piz Gloria in Switzerland (OHMSS), and nearby attractions like Bregenz (the open air theatre from Quantum of Solace) and Vienna (The Living Daylights).

With many thanks to EON and Sarah Callam for the invitation.


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