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“However, their desires are the same. They still want to get lost in a magical world for a while and we now have the technology to achieve more authentic results.” “During the last few years, we have seen again a growing interest in original narratives; audiences of all ages demand experiences not only fun and visually appealing experiences, but also immersive. Good storytelling is key to any theme project,” says Diego Cid, creative director, Scruffy Dog Creative Group. He continues: “Entertainment is more and more present everywhere at global level; at restaurants, museums, exhibits, gyms, retail and public spaces, airports, etc; people expect to be surprised, learn new things, an interact with leisure contents. “Edutainment, Retailtainment, Foodtainment, are some of the current trends, theming has crossed beyond the boundaries of amusement parks, blending with architecture, interior design, urbanism and landscape as never before, and we have more to come.” Philipp van Stratum, CEO and creative director, P&P Projects comments: “What we see is that the current trend again involves a lot of immersive theming. We also see the need of media used in rides. We have seen rides where media was getting the upperhand, we now see the balance is moving toward to physical showsets in combination with screens, and to blend them even more than was done so previously.”


ShowTex is a leader in inventing, manufacturing and installing drapes, backdrops, curtain tracks, projection screens, glassless mirrors, scrims and accessories for achieving the creative vision of event and entertainment professionals.“Creativity and durability are key when dressing any amusement park,” says the Jan Blomme, managing director, ShowTex, Asia. “Whether you need to prepare a theatre stage for daily shows, decorate thrill rides, create a certain atmosphere or mask off backstage areas, fabrics are essential for any theme park concept. From extravagant flame-retardant textiles and giant holographic projection surfaces to fairytale-like star cloths and waterproof printed backdrops.


“Of course, the holograms and immersive experiences are very much in demand at the moment. Covering complete rooms in immersive projection surfaces or XXL printed backdrops are a relatively simple way to pull visitors into that fantasy world. The fact that ShowTex offers materials that are certified to be fire retardent is an asset that becomes increasingly important as well. “We also notice increased use of glassless mirror foils in theme parks. The lightweight alternative to glass mirrors is extremely versatile and more convenient to set up. By playing with light on and behind the reflective surface, mirrors are a great way to create amazing optical illusions. They trick visitors by challenging their sense of space and understanding of visual reality, giving them an experience to remember.”


The process


Asked what’s involved in bringing an immersive experience to life, Unlimited Snow’s Kees Albers comments: “For us the story is leading the experience with an eye for detail while new adventures in the story (also as AR, VR) can be added at any time. Our main rules to create a great guest experience are: 1) guest friendly operations, 2) WOW factor, 3) fun to do activities, 4) safety.”


WINTER PART 1 2021


Liseberg Underlandet 2, P&P Projects


Ocean Park, Hong Kong, ShowTex


Walltopia’s Konstantin Karamfilov agrees: “The first thing is to create the story behind the attraction or simply put – entangle the theme and the attraction. Some themes are based on IPs and others are completely new; both these approaches hold a certain appeal and have their pros and cons. However, in both cases in order to create a good immersive attraction, one has to come up with all the intricate details and story points and make sure that they are believable in order to speak to the public. For example, in our Angry Birds attraction we have connected the Rollglider which is a zip coaster ride to the flight of the birds in a way that the rider in a way becomes the bird. This brings us to the last part – execution. It must simply be meticulous. Every detail is important and everything needs to look as authentic as possible in order to trick the mind of the public. We should never forget that the magic behind themed attractions is very easily broken. This is especially true if the attraction is based on a beloved IP. In these cases, one is not only competing with reality but also with the imagination and expectations of each and every single visitor. This is precisely what makes the job very demanding and why creating a themed attraction takes a village – architects, engineers, user experience specialists, operators and enormous doses of patience and dedication from everyone involved.” “First and foremost, you need imagination and courage,” says MK Themed Attraction’s, Lars Nielsen. “If you do not really believe in your experience or do not put the necessary effort in doing it right, the experience will have a hard start. Secondly you need a lot of inspiration including best practises that you should strive to make even better. Finally, it is truly important to have suppliers


Angry Birds in Doha, Walltopia


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