YONEX ATHLETE LOUNGE 
‣ SPATIAL DESIGN

Client
  • YONEX
Role
  • CONCEPTION
  • PRODUCTION
  • STRATEGY
  • ART DIRECTION
  • SPATIAL DESIGN
  • GRAPHIC DESIGN
Deliverables
  • SPATIAL CONCEPT
  • ARTWORK
  • SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
Date
  • 12 Mar 2024

For two years in a row, monopo london has been invited to concept and develop an athlete hospitality lounge for the YONEX All England Open Badminton Championships.

It has provided a relaxing and educational space for the athletes to experience the prestige of the tournament.

/01 BRIEF

Elevating the athlete’s experience of the most prestigious tournament.

The Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships is the oldest running Badminton tournament in the world. With over 100 years of history and established in 1899, each year the global elite of athletes will compete for a chance to win the title of Champion. 155 matches and 50 hours of live badminton are played in front of a passionate and international audience.

The tournament’s key sponsor, Yonex, approached us to create a new perspective for the 2023 edition by elevating the experience it promotes for their athletes. One key area of opportunity for promoting a more engaging experience is their participation in not just the sport, but everything that lies in between. On and off-court. 

Yonex and monopo identified an area of opportunity to be the Athlete’s Lounge – a private space away from the public eye and fans, and therefore often overlooked. The lounge has many functions for the tournament; it is where athletes arrive to pick up their racquets, equipment, Yonex Apparel Innovations kit and interact with other players. The time spent here by the athletes would be equal to, if not more, than their time on the courts. 


For the 2024 edition, monopo built on this core idea to evolve the lounge and athlete experience even further.

/02 CONCEPT

Crafting a space athletes want to spend time in.

We set out to uplift the athlete lounge into a dynamic, engaging and branded physical space that cultivates a feeling of prestige and omotenashi; a Japanese word translating to ‘looking after wholeheartedly’. We focused not only on servicing the unique needs of the athletes, but to go far beyond ordinary.

The athletes lounge consists of five individual areas each focusing on these essential needs. Our first consideration was to holistically feel how each area can serve a true purpose, as well as contribute to the overall experience of the lounge. One key aspect of this was ensuring a strong design and brand identity flowed throughout the space.

“The lounge needed to function as a multipurpose space. One key aspect of tying all these areas together was cohesive design that feels aspirational and cosy at the same time. In 2023, we took inspiration from our clean, technical and future-forward art direction built for the Yonex catalogs. For the 2024 edition, while keeping a similar base in the look and feel of the space, we injected bolder colours (blue and green) inspired by the electrifying new identity of the tournament. This allowed us to create a cohesive identity across the wall designs, posters, furniture choices and other interior design items."

-
Mélanie Hubert-Crozet, Creative Director

/03 ZONE 1

Motivational Wall

In 2023, when athletes entered the lounge, the Motivational Wall sporting the quote ‘Beyond What I See’ would greet the athletes, ready to be decorated with their own polaroid photos and signatures. The quote represented the ability to ‘rise above and achieve what might seem impossible’, which became an important tagline for Yonex throughout the rest of the year. For the athletes, taking a photo, signing it, and ‘leaving their mark’ on the wall served as a pledge to fully embrace the spirit of being a Yonex player. Polaroids also became the perfect social media asset for players to share on their own channels.

Building off of this same spirit, in 2024, we created a Motivational Wall that consisted of a display of over 200 shuttlecocks, one for each of the athletes competing in the tournament. Just like they did with the polaroids in 2023, athletes were encouraged to sign one of the shuttlecocks and hang it up on the wall. These shuttlecocks were later used in a giveaway for fans during the final two days of the tournament. In this way, Yonex athletes who ‘left their mark’ on the wall were helping inspire the next generation of badminton fans and players.

/04 ZONE 2

Central Pillar

Dominating the centre of the lounge was the Central Pillar; a custom built metallic structure decorated with vintage racquets, archival photographs and historical facts printed onto perspex panels. The 360° designed pillar invited athletes to walk around, engage and celebrate the 40 year historical partnership of Yonex and The All England tournament. 

“We wanted to impress from the second the athletes enter the space. Our central pillar served as an over-sized celebration of all the times athletes and Yonex made history during this iconic championship.” 

- Maud Dedecker, Creative Producer

In 2024, working with illustrator Edward Tuckwell, we re-purposed the metallic structure of the Central Pillar to create a graphic novel. Consisting of three panels (“The Dream”, “The Thrill”, and “The Legacy”), the pillar captured the different dreams that every athlete has throughout their life and career. Even if some of the dreams felt beyond reach at the time, the aim was to inspire the athletes by reminding them of how much they had already achieved.

/05 ZONE 3

Player Support

The ‘Player Support’ area, where athletes collected their equipment, became a premium in-store experience with a Yonex representative on-hand to deliver their tools.

We visually empowered this space by adopting the Yonex Apparel Innovations brand identity; an identity that runs through Yonex stores globally, and celebrates the technical innovation of Yonex products through the use of strong clean graphics, macro textures and iconography.

/06 ZONE 4

The lounge area

To encourage friendly conversation and ensure the athletes felt attended to, we developed a space for relaxation with views of the live on-court performances via a TV screen. We ensured that every detail down to the sofas, planters and rugs was curated specifically to enhance and compliment the brand vision of Yonex. 

/07 ZONE 5

The Games Center

Finally, the Games Centre featuring a Nintendo Switch encouraged friendly competition off-court between all athletes, featuring blue neons to light up the space. 

/08 ENGAGEMENT

How the tournament became a source of shared inspiration 

Although the Athlete’s Lounge was off-limits to fans and attendants, the Badminton community was still invited to participate through social media sharing.

Badminton England, Yonex and the athletes themselves indulged their audiences in walking tours, selfies and videos around the lounge.

“We were thrilled to see so many of the athletes use their social media to invite their audience to experience the athletes lounge digitally, alongside them. It was a huge boost for engagement on the Yonex Badminton Instagram specifically.”

- Teagan Pease, Yonex Global Social Media Manager

Credits

The team

  • Creative Director: Mélanie Hubert-Crozet
  • Strategy Director: Mattijs Devroedt
  • Creative Producer: Maud Dedecker
  • Graphic Designers: Ferdaws Alizada, Jack MacKinnon, Luna Gooriah
  • Project Manager: Mary Wu

Partners

  • Production partner: DPI
  • Production Assistant (2023): Anetta Nalinska
  • Illustrator (2024): Edward Tuckwell

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