By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio’s Chamber of Commerce (ACRJ) announced on Tuesday the winners of the Rio 2016 Olympic Hospitality Houses awards. Hungary won in the innovation category, Qatar in the culture category and Switzerland in the socializing category. Other winners included the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and the U.S.’s NBA house, which won the popular vote for best theme house.
“The result surprised everyone,” said Ney Valle, partner at Dupla Design, and one of the creators of the Hungary House, set up in a 3,000 square meters area at Rio’s Jockey Club during the 2016 Games.
“The Hungary House showed the new moment of this amazing country, with its history, culture, and tradition in Olympic sport. It enchanted visitors with a tribute to the Danube River and its bridges, and also with the famous Rubik’s Cube transformed into a sculpture,” added Valle.
According to the executive the technology for the panoramic TV studio was brought over from the European country to show a little of what it can produce. Hungary’s capital, Budapest, is a candidate to host the Olympic Games of 2024.
The Swiss House, whose hospitality house was created on the banks of the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, was one of the most favorite houses among the younger crowd, serving Swiss chocolates and allowing kids to ice skate and practice their baseball skills.
The Qatar House transformed a former art museum, Casa Daros, into an Arab market where guests were able to sample shawarmas, try on traditional garments and get their hands painted with henna.
In the legacy category, the winner was not a nation house but the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB). “We are delighted to win this award,” commented FIVB President Ary Graça on the Federation’s website. “It is humbling to have this recognition for our commitment to leave a sustainable legacy in Rio.”
In all, 54 countries set up hospitality houses in various locations throughout the city of Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics, with some, including the Swiss House, remaining open also during the Paralympics competition.