Rest of the World
We set our sights on the Alpine resort of Sölden and its 007 Elements exhibition.
James Bond has been skiing down mountains to elude villains for decades. The snow chase scene is almost a trademark of the movie franchise with ski sequences appearing in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (George Lazenby) and The World is Not Enough (Pierce Brosnan).
Rob Chilton

Roger Moore, however, was king of the mountains, starring in some memorable ski scenes in For Your Eyes Only, The Spy Who Loved Me and A View to a Kill. Who can forget his dramatic jump in The Spy Who Loved Me when he rips open his British flag parachute.

The snow chase was memorably revived in 2015’s Spectre with Daniel Craig as Bond, tobogganing down an Austrian mountain in an aeroplane, wearing Vuarnet goggles and Danner alpine boots that instantly became lusted-after items for every male Bond fan.

Moments before the action scene Craig, as the cold-hearted British spy, had been probing – and flirting – with Dr Madeleine Swann, played by Lea Seydoux, in her office inside the Hoffler Klinik, a minimalist complex of steel, concrete and glass on top of the mountain.

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That building has been expanded and has recently opened as a high-tech, immersive James Bond theme park called 007 Elements that takes visitors through this rich
cinematic universe.

Perched more than 3,000 metres above sea level on top of the Gaislachkogl Mountain in Sölden, eastern Austria, 007 Elements spreads across a 1,300 square metre space that’s filled with screening rooms and interactive galleries.

The creative director behind the installation is Neal Callow, who was art director on Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre.

“We want to use this incredible location to place our guests into Bond’s environment and tell the story of the making of 007 films in an ultra-modern, emotive and engaging way,” Callow says.

We want to use this incredible location to place our guests into Bond’s environment and tell the story of the making of 007 films in an ultra-modern, emotive and engaging way

Designed by Tyrolean architect Johann Obermoser of Obermoser Architects, the beautiful piece of architecture is embedded into the mountain and stretches across two levels. It’s stabilised at 1ºC, so as not to affect the permafrost. The Ice Q restaurant – not named after James Bond’s gadget guy – is where Bond’s scene with Dr Swann was filmed.

The futuristic feel of the building was inspired by the work of legendary set designer Sir Ken Adam, who created avant garde Bond villain lairs for seven Bond films in the 1960s and 1970s including Thunderball, Goldfinger and Diamonds are Forever.

Guests – who are advised to wrap up in ski wear for their visit – are serenaded by Sam Smith singing the Spectre theme song, The Writing’s On the Wall, as they enter the tunnel that leads to the lobby.

Inside a mirrored disc covers burning coals as a video of Spectre director Sam Mendes greets visitors. Classic clips from Bond movies play on screens and rooms house displays that explore Bond music, characters, stunts, gadgets, props and the cars. Thrillingly, the wreckage of Daniel Craig’s plane that was last seen crashing through a barn in Spectre, has been pieced together and hangs from the ceiling. And yes, there’s a gift shop.

“We wanted people to feel like they’re walking through the world of James Bond while learning about how the films are made,” adds Callow. “It’s more a cinematic installation than your archetypal museum. The infamous Bond villain Blofeld could easily live here.”