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Pico Play shares experiences of delivering ‘fun-making’ projects

Pico Play shares experiences of delivering ‘fun-making’ projects
July 30, 2022

With ongoing projects at theme parks and museums across the Asia-Pacific region, Pico Play has shared its experiences of its “fun-making projects”.

A leader in the planning, design, development and construction of themed attractions and entertainment, the Gold Coast-based company has a contract to design and build a new attraction at Vietnam’s upcoming Sam Son theme park and has worked with Dreamworld to theme sections of its new Steel Taipan rollercoaster.

Another recent project saw it Pico Play has recently help the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! franchise on the Gold Coast to mount a giant orange octopus over the entrance to its Gold Coast location.

Working with the company’s engineers and manufacturers, Pico Play’s design team mustered a fibreglass and steel structure, embedding it with lighting effects and draped its tentacles securely over the Surfers Paradise venue’s entrance.

Leading the team as Pico Play’s Creative Design Director, Greg Holt explains “we offer the full suite of design work from concept design and master planning to construction and manufacturing drawings.

“What this means is we have creative concept artists who can illustrate an idea - like a vision for a new themed attraction or an iconic sculptural element – and instantly, a client understands what the vision looks like; through to technical designers who come in and structurally engineer the idea so it’s safe and holds its shape.

“That’s the hard work behind the scenes that nobody sees but it’s so important because we need to give our builders the correct drawings and precisely scaled construction documentation to turn the vision into a reality.”

Recognising market demand
Holt began his career in Macau over 20 years ago as a concept artist and designer, initially working on casino fit-outs before diverging into amusement parks and themed attractions.

He spent seven years doing this in Malaysia before transferring to Pico Play’s Gold Coast site in 2016.

The company is currently working on 20 projects around the world with its staff based throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Pico Play plans to increase its presence in the region with a new regional office and fabrication facility opening in Hai Phong, Vietnam, later this year.

Holt notes “a large number of our design team works out of the Malaysian office in Kuala Lumpur which is a great central base for our designers to easily undertake site visits across Asia and understand the lay of the land.

“One of the greatest benefits of living and working in Asia is the ability to understand different cultures and recognise the importance of cultural sensitivity, not only in design but when interacting with people in general.”

Explaining that Pico Play uses a tried and tested process with its projects, long before the first site visit or drawing takes place, Holt goes on to say “a feasibility and market study is hugely important from a design point of view as it identifies the target demographic, the per capita spend of this market, a realistic project budget and the client’s expected ROI.

“Once we have all that information, we can progress confidently to the concept stage and design something realistic, buildable and ultimately in the client’s best interest.

“Clients invariably want the biggest, best, never-been-done-before attraction and we need to use the data in the feasibility study to design a concept that will give them a point of difference as well as a return on their investment.”

Looking forward
Holt is predicting two key trends that will impact the future of themed entertainment design, the first being a move towards the development of unique IP properties rather than licensing existing IPs, such as film franchises or animated TV characters.

Holt also foresees an increase in technically-detailed 3D models during the initial concept phase.

He concludes “the use of existing IP can be very expensive and tightly controlled so when we develop new IP for a client we get to create the characters, decide how to portray them and tell their story so a guest can easily understand.

“CGI models and renders used to come in the later master-planning stages but clients are increasingly asking for them in the early concept stages, so they can visualise what we want to do.”

Pico Play was also a recent winner in the Tourism, Hospitality and Events category at the Gold Coast Business Excellence Awards.

Pico Play is part of Pico Group, a global leader in total brand activation specialising in engaging people, creating experiences and activating brands.

Images: Pico Play concepts for the Darwin waterpark (top) and Action Park Hong Kong (below), and the company's Creative Design Director, Greg Holt (middle).

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