The late Ian Fleming would have loved the first official James Bond museum: The 14,000-square-foot building is perched atop the summit of the Gaislachkogl Mountain, 10,000 feet above sea level in the Austrian side of the Ötztal Alps. It’s ensconced in a breathtaking, two-level Brutalist shell composed of panoramic glass walls, concrete, and steel. It could easily be mistaken for a film set from the movies.
That’s because it nearly is. The museum, 007 Elements, is near two buildings–the futuristic Gaislachkoglbahn Mountain Gondola terminal and ICE Q restaurant–that were used as locations for 2015’s Spectre. The latter, another modernist glass and steel structure, was featured prominently in the movie, doubling as a high-tech hospital at the service of the evil organization’s chief.
The new museum was designed by the architect of the restaurant, Johann Obermoser, and when it opens to film fans (and unsuspecting skiers) on July 12, you’ll be able to arrive at the summit in a gondola, go to the museum, and then have lunch at ICE Q overlooking the Alpine range. In fact, the museum is a joint venture between the producers of the Bond films–EON and MGM–and the company that owns the cable car line and the restaurant, Bergbahnen Sölden.
Inside, immersive media installations will walk visitors through all the locations and iconic elements of all 24 Bond films, with a combination of interviews, film clips, behind-the-scenes shots, archival footage and artwork, set design, and bespoke graphic animations. For example, one fascinating installation is an inside look at how the large-scale sets used to make old Bond films, like Moonraker and You Only Live Twice–with its iconic Blofeld’s Volcano Lair–were built at the legendary Pinewood Studios in England.
Two of those large installations were designed and developed by Territory Studio, a London-based independent design and visual effects studio. The creative director for the museum, Neal Callow, was art director on the films Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre, making the space a true extension of the film empire. He worked on this project in collaboration with Tino Schaedler, head of design at the creative agency Optimist Inc.
[Images: Territory Studio (left), MGM (right)]
If you want to visit, you’ll need to fly to nearby Innsbruck to grab a cab–or just rent an Aston Martin and drive, like Bond would–to Sölden, the ski town at the base of the Gaislachkogl. The only downside to the museum’s stunning Alpine location? The weather. I would have chosen an oceanside site somewhere in the south of France or Italy, with an underwater wing that would allow you to pilot Bond’s submarine car, while sipping Campari and watching British spies fighting sharks with laser-gun-equipped Rolex watches. But this is the next best thing.