Learn how to design exciting, believable, authentic themed spaces!

Scott A. Lukas, famed industry expert on designing themed spaces, brings you
a book focusing on the imaginative world of themed, immersive, and consumer
spaces. Whether you are involved in designing a theme park, themed restaurant,
cultural museum, shop, or other entertainment space, you will benefit from the
insider tips, techniques, and experiences highlighted in this practical guide. The
book features possible design issues and current trends, case studies and interviews
with real-world designers, and further reading suggestions. The book also includes
a companion website, www.ImmersiveWorldsHandbook.com, to complete your
learning experience.
• Practical charts and tables, offering clear and concise summaries of key concepts
• A variety of case studies to inspire you: current, real-world, historical,
conceptual
• A research break, to provide insights on how to use research to develop and
maintain more effective themed and consumer spaces

• Companion website, www.ImmersiveWorldsHandbook.com, contains useful
links, extended and additional expert interviews, printable handouts for many of
the exercises in the book, and more in-person discussions of these issues
Scott A. Lukas is a key writer, speaker, and consultant on themed entertainment.
He has written numerous books and articles on the subject of theme parks,
shopping malls, themed spaces, video games, and other contemporary consumer
spaces. A recognized authority in the field, Scott has provided keynote addresses
and workshops in Germany, Orlando, and California, including at the Themed
Entertainment Association conference and has consulted with major theme park
and entertainment companies. He has been recognized with four teaching awards
in his field.

www.focalpress.com

www.ImmersiveWorldsHandbook.com

designing theme parks and consumer spaces

scott a . lukas

• Interviews with expert voices in the field covering practical hard-won techniques
including: Joel Bergman (Bergman, Walls & Associates), Kelly Gonzalez
(Royal Caribbean Cruises), Anna Klingmann (Klingmann Architects and Brand
Consultants), Bob Rogers and Carmel Lewis (BRC Imagination Arts), David
Rogers (The Jerde Partnership), Nancy Rogo Trainer (Venturi, Scott Brown and
Associates), and many others

the immersive worlds handbook

Computers / Interactive & Multimedia, Computers / Virtual Worlds

the immersive worlds handbook

scott a . lukas

THE IMMERSIVE WORLDS
HANDBOOK

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THE IMMERSIVE WORLDS HANDBOOK DESIGNING THEME PARKS AND CONSUMER SPACES S C O T T PRELIMS. L U K A S 23-06-2012 PM 04:30:57 .indd iii A .

Milton Park.06’8—dc23 2012019867 Notices Knowledge and best practice in this field are constantly changing. or other means. 3. compounds. Lukas to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright. Themed environments—Design. Architecture—Physchological aspects. ISBN: 978-0-240-82093-4 (pbk) ISBN: 978-0-240-82098-9 (ebk) Typeset in DIN Regular Typeset by MPS Limited. any information. 1968The immersive worlds handbook: designing theme parks and consumer spaces/Scott Lukas.. including photocopying and recording. 2. or in any information storage or retrieval system. Suite 402. pages cm 1. Abingdon. mechanical. India Practitioners and researchers must always rely on their own experience and knowledge in evaluating and using ITR. I. Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Lukas.L85 2012 791. Amusement parks—Design. GV1851. an informa business © 2013 Taylor & Francis The right of Scott A. Burlington. Designs and Patents Act 1988. Title. methods. All rights reserved. As new research and experience broaden our understanding.—First [edition].First published 2013 by Focal Press 70 Blanchard Road. 4. MA 01803 Simultaneously published in the UK by Focal Press 2 Park Square. Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks. Senses and sensation in architecture. changes in research methods. Chennai. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic.indd iv 23-06-2012 PM 04:34:22 . Oxon OX14 4RN Focal Press is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group. including parties for whom they have a professional responsibility. In using such information or methods they should be mindful of their own safety and the safety of others. and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. professional practices. now known or hereafter invented. without permission in writing from the publishers. or medical treatment may become necessary. Scott A. or experiments described herein.

Believability.Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Acknowledgements ix Preface xi The Nature of Themed and Immersive Spaces 3 Immersive Worlds 4 What Is a World? 4 Aspects of Space 13 Principles of Space 22 Placemaking 27 The World and the Designer 31 Designing Effective.indd v v 25-06-2012 PM 05:56:57 . Realism 101 Taking Space Beyond the Space 102 Authenticity 106 Into the Depth 112 The Bigger Picture 125 C O N T E N T S CONTENTS PRELIMS1. Immersive. and Effective Spaces 63 Atmosphere 64 Theming 68 Elements of Design 81 Principles of Form 89 Effective Spaces 94 Operations 95 Authenticity. Mood. and Creative Spaces 35 Provocation—The Blank Space 36 Meaning 36 Inspiration 44 Stories 48 Design Stories 52 Atmosphere.

and the Future 237 Loyalty 238 Tradition 239 Change 247 Future Stories 255 Further Reading 257 Key Terms 261 Image Credits 263 Index 267 vi CONTENTS PRELIMS1. and Immersion 135 Immersion 136 The Immersive World 143 The Guest 150 Story and Experience 155 Research Break Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 165 The Brand and the Senses 177 Big Ideas 178 The Brand 187 The Power of the Senses 197 Material Culture.indd vi 25-06-2012 PM 05:56:58 . Tradition. Experience.Chapter 5 The Guest. Change. and Interactivity 207 Material Culture 208 Technology 214 Movement and Flow 222 Interactivity 228 Loyalty. Technology.

indd vii D E D I C A T I O N 23-06-2012 PM 04:44:41 .” DED. who always reminds me.For Krista. “the greatest of these is the suspension of disbelief.

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Gordon Jones. Mick Pedroli (Dennis Severs House). 2009). I also acknowledge the I also extend much gratitude to the many professionals many participants from the Staging the Past: Themed who assisted in providing many of the photos in this Environments in Transcultural Perspective conference book or otherwise assisted with information—Chris (University Of Freiburg. Valentina Gennadis (Propeller Island City Lodge). Anna Klingmann. Thad Donovan (Smith Donovan Marketing and Communications). Margaret J.). Tim Motz (Toledo Museum of Art). Carmel Lewis. Yogini Patel Grice. their expertise with me. Kelly Gonzalez. Gordon Andreas Oberprieler (BMW Welt). Jennifer Harper (Florida Hospital Celebration Health). Dave Gottwald. (Library Hotel). who has always believed in me as a writer. especially Gordon Jones Balcombe (Solent News & Photo Agency). and Gary Thompson (Caesars the exhilarating interviews that appear in this book. Michel den Dulk (Europa-Park). Entertainment Corporation). Bruno Marti (25hours Hotel Company). University of Southern ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ACK. working with the many fine professionals who shared Alice Mathu (IAAPA). Nancy Rogo Trainer. Lyan Sierra-Caro (Royal Caribbean David Rogers. Communication & Journalism. Larry Tuch. Cornelius Holtorf for his work on popular archaeology Jonah Cohen (The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino). Matt Heller (The Jerde Partnership). I appreciate the assistance of Debbie Munch (Caesars Entertainment Corporation). Seitz (Europa-Park). I owe thanks to my wife. Krista Lukas. and pastness.indd ix ix 25-06-2012 PM 06:01:21 . and the time that each took to provide Brown & Associates). Kristen Collins (BRC Imagination Arts). I am also grateful to my editors at Focal—Carlin Reagan and Laura Lewin—who made the whole process of writing this book easy and enjoyable. Joel Bergman. King. Bob Rogers. and International). Luc Curvers (Heineken Experience). Julie and Mark Wallis (who appeared in this book) and Brinkerhoff-Jacobs (Lifescapes International. Inc. Brad Schulz (Bergman Walls & Associates).ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS One of the most exciting aspects of this text was California). Helen Hüttl (BMW Welt). Thomas Muderlak. Most especially. Sophie Madej (Annenberg School for I owe special gratitude to Larry Tuch (Narrative Concepts) who acted as a skilled and thoughtful technical editor for the project. Dominik Mindi Lipschultz. Jeremy Tenenbaum (Venturi. Mike Leeson. Scott Mark Wallis. Henry Jenkins.

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These help be effectively developed. greater excitement for the customer. You will also note a number immersive spaces. The seventh chapter worlds. Many other excellent case final chapter addresses the ways in which tradition and studies had to be left out due to space limitations and change impact the design of consumer spaces. and consumer venues can find a chart/table or two in each chapter.This book is designed for anyone who wants to know and immersive space as well as the issue of experience more about immersive worlds and all that they entail and how it relates to spatial design. immersive. Rather.indd xi xi 25-06-2012 PM 05:58:19 . The fifth chapter focuses on visually represent an idea from the text and you might the important component of guests within the themed find yourself marking a few of them with a sticky note PREFACE PRE. restaurants. and greater you will note a number of other useful features in this revenue for the operator of the space. The eighth and a set of design principles. The third chapter look of the many places and design issues that you addresses the specific makeup of themed and will be reading about. even through social change. while “Trending” offers a short look at a current trend believability. through forms of spatial decision making and you The first chapter introduces the important issues that make up the world of themed and immersive spaces. P R E F A C E will analyze what can be done to make your spaces meaningful. Next is a “research and who wants to study some ways to make these break” that is dedicated to the use of research in design worlds more meaningful for the guests who visit them. and realism and emphasizes ways in that may impact your design work. you’ll which themed. they are ones that help illustrate how they impact its overall approach. casinos. The case studies in this book the issues of interactivity and flow or the ways in which should not be read as an exhaustive list or even a guests move about a space. Some are orient you to ways in which forms of design can have a taken from current. including design. in each of the eight chapters and the research break. spaces. Each chapter features interviews with designers chapter focuses on ways in which you can make your who have been willing to share their perspectives on themed and immersive spaces more interesting. “Wouldn’t You on creating atmosphere and mood within a space. real-world cases in immersive greater and more lasting impact. You to corporate restrictions on sharing design information will consider ways in which tradition can be developed with the public. and cultural the use of the senses. of spatial design to branding and experience. You will gain insights on how understanding these In addition to the case studies and ideas considered spaces can lead to more successful forms of design. The emphasis of the chapter is to anthropology. the many issues that we will be considering. and best-of list. There are many case studies. marketing. The focus includes discussions also included numerous photos to help illustrate the on theming and design storytelling. how they interpret it. and some considers the ways in which technology and material are conceptual ones that are intended to be thought culture are a part of consumer space design as well as about in a deep sense. The Know It!” presents a brief aside about a design issue fourth chapter considers the issues of authenticity. The second book. and many other maintain more effective themed and consumer spaces. There will be a specific emphasis of key features within each chapter. The goal of this textual interlude is to provide The topical areas in this book cover a lot of ground— you with insights on how to use research to develop and theme parks. In addition. spaces are the subject matter—and the approaches The sixth chapter focuses on the relationship of forms discussed are drawn from the worlds of architecture. and profitable. others are historical examples. cultural studies. I have effective.

or two and coming back to them from time to time. These are called “Applications” and and share your ideas. budgetary issues. so please come look at an issue. As well. printable handouts for many of the exercises in the book. there is a companion website that offers more information. useful links.com issues. The thousands upon thousands of variables—where your attraction is located. com or scottalukas@gmail. I would like to hear from you. and will hopefully be the source of more consideration beyond the pages of this book. a hotel room. access to research and marketing resources. and whether you prefer blue walls to brown ones—will all impact how you utilize the advice offered in the book.indd xii 25-06-2012 PM 05:58:19 . You can always contact me at scottlukas@yahoo. at your leisure. keep in mind that the design issues within your space—whether it be an interpretive environment. These are definitions for the bolded terms that you will find throughout the chapters. Enjoy the book and let me know what you think. and more in-person discussions of these As you use the book. There is also an extensive reading list that will get you on the right track of looking at some additional sources on these topics. the nature of your clientele. extended and additional expert interviews. Think of the companion website as a hub where xii PREFACE PRE. or a theme park attraction— will vary with those discussed in the book. you and others can come to discuss and debate these There are also two features that give you an applied subjects. Included at the end of the book is a list of key terms. “Provocations” and each is designed to be worked on.

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What are the components of immersive world design? CH001.1. What is an immersive world? 2.indd 2 23-06-2012 PM 03:16:40 . What are some principles of space? 3. What is placemaking and why is it important? 4.

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Second. and it details how design can be applied to the many spaces that are typically a part of an immersive world—theme parks. “Isn’t definition).” create immersion in a space we first need to go back to the beginning. whether a restaurant. situations. hotels. As you’ll soon see. interpretive environments. A world can be understood in many senses. the person. or branding experience. lifestyle stores.” In As the earlier definitions suggest. a world is literally Gothic meaning. But more on Etymology of Immersive World that later. in his or her mind. theme park. store. shopping malls.Immersive Worlds An immersive world is a place in which anyone can get wrapped up. The immersive world has a more specific meaning though. on a mundane trip to the grocery consumer. They become immersed in two senses. creates associations and feelings that result in more pleasure. sights. or on a commute on the freeway to our place of work—we are being immersed in the people.” and in Old Norse everything that is known to us. the Blizzard Entertainment MMORPG World of Warcraft is considered a world (a technological definition). smells. whatever your political or religious views. First. and other spaces. cultural museums. This is a place. When we talk about the immersive world we mean a place where people want to be.etymonline. meaning “the known world” and “the Defining a World physical world in the broadest sense.” Later. or café. restaurants. We have talked briefly about an immersive world—the “plunging or dipping into. Let’s look at a 4 THE IMMERSIVE WORLDS HANDBOOK CH001. and whatever you enjoy doing in your spare time. and other senses of that world. resorts. in some sense.com astronomical definition). meaning subject of this book—but in order to understand how to “absorption in some interest or situation. some people refer When we combine the ideas of immersion (“absorption to things like “the media world” (a social definition). meaning. http://www.” You might be wondering. an immersive world?” Yes. exactly. “the middle enclosure” or “where humans sense. from Lower Latin and Latin. there is something about the place—its evocative quality—that creates a set of complex feelings in the person there and this results in the delight and willingness to stay in that place. in the 1640s. mixed-use spaces. every world. immersion in a world is a two-way street. is a world? world Circa 1200. This book is about the variety of immersive worlds that have existed and the ones that can be designed. in some interest or situation”) with world (“the known and many would call theme parks and other places world…in the broadest sense”) we get a place known as of immersive entertainment magical worlds (a design an “immersive world. What. the “seed of man. in the broadest possible meaning. gets wrapped up in being in that place and.indd 4 23-06-2012 PM 03:16:51 . the Mayan culture could be referred to as a world (a cultural definition). the universe. to a tropical island. an immersive world will take you in such that you won’t want to leave. immersion What Is a World? Mid-15th century. but for the purposes of this book we will be considering it’s true that wherever we go—whether on a vacation worlds that are a part of some entertainment.”1 1 Online Etymology Dictionary. cruise ships. casinos. Whatever your background in life. The planet Earth could be called a world (an dwell. where people enjoy what they are doing. him or herself.

Worlds—Big and Small Figure 1-3 Figure 1-2 Figure 1-4 The definition of a world that we are using in this book has some advantages. It’s made up of so many things that immersive spaces. like any world. First.) who also play a part in the world. by including about how to create an immersive world. it indicates that a world is always made up of beings. animals. relationships and connections. space entities. we can include the people or actors who are playing parts in that attraction.indd 5 5 23-06-2012 PM 03:16:51 . for example. consistent. It is ever-changing or evolving and never static—it is something that is always on the move. “Beings” is used because it allows us to include everybody and everything in a world. by saying that the world is “complete. Our earlier look at THE NATURE OF THEMED AND IMMERSIVE SPACES CH001. always changing or evolving and is characterized by diverse. and a culture” we see that a look briefly at the issue of scale. or uninteresting and that it is complex and consistent in Using this definition of a world we can begin to talk its complexity throughout its spaces. If we are inside a theme park attraction. Consider how the popular James Cameron film Avatar would have been had Cameron not spent so much time conceptualizing the cultures of the Na’vi and the humans within the A World Avatar world. we must acknowledge as designers. and consistent” we acknowledge that the world. Third. First. is characterized by relationships and forms of interconnection. let’s a “background or history. diverse. It is complete. bland.definition of “world” that can be more easily applied to world isn’t shallow. by acknowledging that a world is A world…is a place inhabited by beings. we see that a world is and a culture. etc. the guests who are paying to see it and be a part of it. it has a background or history. isn’t one dimensional. and the sometimes fictional begins (like creatures. Last. Second.

the designer. An immersive world. Illinois. Talk about immersion! you design a macro or micro world. “democracy meets…and has its first two senses of a world are key. and the need to keep people excited about the world they are visiting. The second middle class. It’s more on you.” meaning that people—rich and macro world or one that has a large scale. we attach our theme park or museum that is geared at “all people memories and feelings to certain places while others 2 Quoted in the documentary Coney Island (PBS. it has—perhaps the certain visual look of a mountain Anyone is an important point of emphasis here. as we’ll see. directed by Ric Burns. Application—Iconic Spaces immersive world. the sense of believability and realism. or what sorts of features in which guests can become fully absorbed or engaged. we are interested in creating an existentially). black. It could be and immersion we get an immersive world or a place something about where it is. In 2011. like to the actual proportions and dimensions of the spaces the Human Roulette Wheel. I was intrigued to walk through exhibits that focused on the makeup of soil (the micro) world and on the life of whales in the ocean (the macro). cultural. you will need to keep in mind the attention to details. Combining our definitions of world Sometimes a certain place is iconic to us. What this reminded me is that all worlds—whether big or scale—can intrigue and interest us. and third to love and to incorporate as part of their life traditions. The same a place that can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of their can be said of the scale of a world. second to revere. Later I will tell you a short story about the entire planet (perhaps one that will form the fictional historic amusement parks of Coney Island. you will find that the places you have designed—because of the things that we will be talking about later—are ones that people come first to experience. The American Experience). and again.2 Some of the rides there. white. As well. Scale is related been created for them. A world can be an background.the different astronomical. In today’s world. simply (and perhaps Creating an Immersive World Whether we are creating a big or small world. we are lucky that because of multiculturalism and more general good will among people that guests don’t have to be literally thrown together in the same space to enjoy it. to create intriguing immersive spaces that will be ones that guests will visit again. The first “big” world is a interview skin to skin. Whatever the reasons. men and women. and other “small” one is a micro world or one that has a smaller ethnic groups—could all enjoy the attractions that had scale. Big and small are both variable. is. These Giuseppe Cautella. in the words of ecosystem on one of the planet’s continents). in fact literally threw people that you will be creating in your own venues. Whether together.indd 6 23-06-2012 PM 03:16:54 . While in range of snow-covered peaks—or perhaps it has to some cases we might design a world that is intended for do with your memories and the events that happened a more specific group or audience—such as a religious in that place. 1991. One of the background of a theme park that you are creating) and most uplifting things about Coney Island amusement it can be a very small place on that planet (like a small parks was that they were places where. again. while visiting the Field Museum in Chicago. technological. 6 THE IMMERSIVE WORLDS HANDBOOK CH001. As you create an immersive world. it is likely that the space that you are designing might have multiple worlds—big and small—within it. or some combination of both. and who are religious” or “all people of a certain religious other definitions of worlds showed us that worlds can denomination”—nine times out of ten we want to create be understood in so many different senses.

THE NATURE OF THEMED AND IMMERSIVE SPACES CH001. representation of animal species that were less frequently hunted. make a note of a place that is iconic for you. we might conclude that people now and you would have found cave art in some of the produced cave art for a variety of reasons. paintings must have been the work of shamans who evocative. restaurants. perhaps if we combine of the world. It was. and likely This can be free form. in fine simple scribbles of early humans—their equivalent of us detail. Then observe which of these subsets first insight and our first bit of confusion. Some believe that cave art was a Figure 1-5 Cave Art reflection of deep mythological beliefs that people The immersive world that you considered above is one had in their minds. and could relate to them. Some you finish considering the list. As designers we can think on the walls. like the themed consumer spaces of our world here. and horses. For any of us. but each would have likely felt something immense. wouldn’t you know it. are what made cave art significant words that represent your fondness for that place. deer. The key to that we associate with an iconic space. meaning that it produced something vivid. had with your iconic space into an iconic space that you but others have said that the evidence points to can create in a design world. Next. The key is to group the associations Well. immersed one goes as far as to say that the drawings are the in that world.000 years before some of the theories. Others have concluded that cave that had a personal effect on you. It’s a part of us. sensory. you have completed the list. used write a list of associations that you have with that place. You Each comes for a potentially different reason. while some have said that they memorable. doodling on a napkin. What we do know is that it was very important worlds can be found throughout Europe and other parts to the people who made it and. when reflect early calendars that helped humans understand we have very vivid memories of being in a place we have ecology and nature. and cruise ships that you create. images of human hands and other representations. The images on the walls and the caves more closely about the certain feelings and memories themselves would have had an effect on you. Take a moment cave art. it turns out that cave art gives us both our into subsets. After for people. On a piece of today. So. Step back in time about 30. entered trance states.remain entirely forgettable. or your own versions. As was made. Just be sure to jot down key others through them. something person is there to be part of something bigger than him bigger than yourself when you looked at the images or herself. all these theories add up to a lack of consensus on why cave art One of the earliest and more important immersive existed. focus on how you could archaeologists have theorized that the art represented translate some of the same fond associations that you a form of magic that related to successful hunting. We hear a lot of theories about it. and the fact that humans interpreted the images. is that both the thematic artistic representations paper. a design partner can the confusion? We don’t exactly know why cave art work on one and the two of you can share your lists.indd 7 7 23-06-2012 PM 03:16:54 . The same places that you would have lived. and profound in you. After the fact we could describe it. What’s relate to the others. One theorist has argued that cave them because something about the place stays with us art may be the doings of oversexed young males and and because we were once. as well as parks. to do just this. in this application. If you like. them in some way. try to organize your word Wouldn’t You Know It!—Cave Art associations into categories—spatial. in whatever way. event. On the walls you would conclusion might be made of guests who visit the theme have seen images of bison. we could say. to any person who asks us.

The first thing we can do is to compare a real world Designing a World with a designed immersive one. economics. Stories. but there are a number of key principles that can be applied to gear your projects more to the successful routes of immersive worlds. which forms of technology to also reflect on how people have a society and this includes plug in. rather Like the cave artists of the past. Where do you start? Components of a World Area Subcomponents Place Planet. Sexes Environment Natural Features. You will have to decide what structures to build. Folklore. people live in a physical world and this them. today’s immersive exhaustively. Festivals. Innovation. Rules Expressive Culture Art. Geography. Table 1-1 social organization. For example. Organisms. natural features. Continent. Weather Structures Housing. External (Politics. Written Transportation & Movement Getting from Point A to B Population (Vital Statistics) Age. Culinary Traditions Relationships Internal (Family. Illness. we have this real world as a background and then you. City. Diffusion Culture Traditions. Key Aspects Behaviors Basic Behaviors. Everyday Design Belief & Worldview Knowledge. Roles. So. Tools. Even this chart does not do justice to the complexity that exists in any real world. Every project necessitates new thinking and produces new challenges. Verbal Language. the many elements that make up a real world designers have a palette of choices in front of world. Leisure 8 THE IMMERSIVE WORLDS HANDBOOK CH001. We can which colors to use. War) Material Culture Technology. and so forth. Actions. etc. Attitudes. Nation. the designer.indd 8 23-06-2012 PM 03:16:55 . face the task of translating some of these same elements into the attractions that make up your immersive world. Conformity. Demographic Patterns Health Disease. Pictorial. Leisure. Conflict. Personal Hygiene Values Core Values. Races. One of the first principles that we need to look at is the issue of what to include and what to leave out in your world. Table 1-1 lists. Town. and which design stories to tell. House Beings Species. Medicine Diet Food. Opinions Evolution & History Development. includes the environment. Rites of Passage. Value Conflicts Social Order Law. Work). Deviance. Work. Views. Leisure Language & Communication Signs.

it was a river that allowed the person to recall a certain part of the speech and a hill another part of a speech.indd 9 9 23-06-2012 PM 03:16:55 . Translation and adaptation refer to the ways in which designers take one or more ideas—whether based in Basis of the Designed World the real world or designed as part of a new world—and As we think about how we can translate ideas from an bring those to life in a designed world. Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges once told the tale of a culture that wanted to create a map of the world that was incredibly detailed. To use the previous imagined world into an immersive space. the 3 “On Exactitude in Science” or “Del rigor en la ciencia” THE NATURE OF THEMED AND IMMERSIVE SPACES CH001. in any way. space. imply that the between physical and architectural features and the mind. and so forth.3 This 1:1 map was literally Method of Loci the same size as the world that it represented. Translation.create a simulator ride that will show some key aspects of Simplification. attractions. another species’ place of worship. we must first realize that we can never the natural world to help memorize a speech. and Adaptation how the various species relate to one another. must make choices about which things to leave out since The look of the trashcan. to map it. In today’s world. designs you will create are simple. representations help us with our daily tasks and they and other features within your venue. there are four example of the undersea world. to write a poem about it. paint it. It suggests that you Consider the icons on the desktop of your computer. Perhaps create an exact representation of the world. or to create a In Roman culture a speaker would use landmarks in theme park in it. You might have a also illustrate our continuing relationship with space. Borges’ tale gives us a profound sense of how difficult it is to The method of loci was one of the earliest and most represent the world in any way. Simplification is the process by which a designer takes This method helped establish a clear connection elements from the real world (or from a fictive world that has been designed) and adapts them into various forms of design. You simplify the idea that you have created in order to make it meaningful for the guest and manageable for the designers and workers involved in the project. you can think about taking main elements that we can focus on. we see similar connections between images. specific idea like creating an undersea world populated Figure 1-6 by numerous sentient species each with its own form of culture. Simplification does not. You cannot create the entirety of what you have dreamed up so you have to choose a few key areas of this world—perhaps you pick one of the species’ town halls. the image of a file folder that it is not practical to re-create the entirety of the world holds your important papers—these and many other that you are attempting to relate in buildings. These will allow the spaces of the town hall and place of worship and us to better understand the space that we are trying bringing those to life in a theme park attraction. Whether we decide to interesting connections of physical space and the mind. and mental processes. The big idea refers to what you are trying to that the best way to translate the ideas of your world is to have the guests get out of your designed space. You decide to create.

the food in a gripping story about how food affects their lives. lighting. the connection of food and diet. Experience: The guests will look at the importance of depending on what you are trying to accomplish.indd 10 23-06-2012 PM 03:16:56 . The experience will be a multisensory interaction with food that will get guests wrapped up in the importance of food. The design will include modern architecture.story is how you will present the narrative of the place.” It’s fictional. Figure 1-10 Story: The story will discuss the history of food and We’ll call this place “The World of Food. and hands-on exhibits. we aim to tell a story—in this case. 10 THE IMMERSIVE WORLDS HANDBOOK CH001. and hands-on exhibits. and issues like diet. Let’s look at one example of how this could work from a design perspective. technology.). We begin with the big idea. new forms of interactive technology. given food concepts like COPIA (Napa culture. to create the immersive spaces that guests will flock to. nutrition. What’s key is that we consider the ways that these important elements can be used together 4 Thank you to Larry Tuch for his great suggestion on the Big Idea.4 These elements should be thought of as forces that work together to create a compelling immersive place. cutting-edge technology. Valley). For the sake of keeping things general and applicable to your projects. Next. and the design involves the ways in which you will create the experiences for the guest (architecture. and the environment. experience is how the guest will be involved with the Figure 1-9 ideas within the space. its role in human cultures. material culture. but culture. Big Idea: The creation of a food museum that will give guests a vivid sense of the value that food plays in their lives. etc. which is the idea of a food museum that will show people the value that food Figure 1-8 plays in their lives. the history of food. and food in pop not unimaginable. Figure 1-7 Design: The museum will feature modern architecture. the concepts have been simplified.

older the designers who were doing the master planning. I often write “experiential narratives. then.indd 11 11 23-06-2012 PM 03:17:00 . and experiencing what it will be ground up? What steps do you take when you first like to be there. Most of my recent work has appealing to the senses. conceptualize a design project? Working with Jeff Mayer and Partners. seeing the property through the Can you speak a bit about building a project from the eyes of future visitors. So the place is just on the edge of waking up and adventures of a bygone era that gave rise to the villages when it does. so let’s look at those.Figure 1-11 That kind of story is fundamental. I folks playing Mahjong under the awnings of tea houses. made sure that my stories mentioned iconic structures Then there is the sound of cascading water from the they could replicate—features that would bring the fountains and waterfalls in the parks and a variety of stories to life and create a sense of atmosphere. and immersive environment. we see people showing up on the streets that form the resort. cultural. interactive. In addition to backstories for these kinds of projects. That’s my role this kind of narrative for a development in Shaanxi on the team. a walk-through of the property—a preview of what it will be like once it’s built. That could involve writing a script for an Province. so let’s use an arc of the sun over the course of the day starting at the example from that area. He has written for prime time network television series and worked as a freelance writer and interactive designer for Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Imagineering. Narrative Concepts visitor experience or structure its continuity. planned communities. It included resort and residential. THE NATURE OF THEMED AND IMMERSIVE SPACES CH001. Larry Tuch Writer. But you mentioned resorts and Larry Tuch is a writer and creative consultant working in the areas of traditional. As a narrative. The sensory details history and culture of the area to shape two stories that start with what the mountains look like as the sunrise would appeal to the visitor’s imagination and evoke the breaks over the ridgeline while the shaded areas of romance of a colorful history. laughter features and the narratives. The narrative followed the focused on placemaking projects. When night falls. Then I wrote narratives the landscape are still cool and moist from the night that were essentially “backstories”—they recounted before. the narrative for a museum retail-entertainment districts. or the backstory for a resort property or a highlighting key elements and making them vivid by planned community. and the hubbub You mentioned backstories for projects like resorts and of theatergoers converging on the music center. I other sensory experiences as we continue to explore also looked at the recreational features they wanted the property. spilling out of the clubs and restaurants. Creative Consultant.” An experiential narrative is. That’s how it most often works in theme park attractions and museum exhibits. we get another sensory to provide and created thematic links between those mix: the glow of lanterns in the public gardens. I had to write My primary focus is creating the story. and themed entertainment. it includes the kind of sensory details that makes clients feel like they are on site. I started by tapping the performance in its music center. Since I was working in sync with and public spaces—kids heading off to school. It can frame the Story and the Power of Place Interview. that a lot of this work is about figuring out the visitor experience itself? which story to tell and how to tell it. The approach involved exhibit. In the case of a resort property property’s entrance plaza and ending after dark at a that I helped design in China. What about stories that deal with It sounds. essentially. planned communities.

It’s the shorthand What can you say about your own background and how it for defining the project—as a key part of the concept helped you in your design and consulting projects? What during creative development and as a branding element type of education will be helpful to readers who wish to once the venue is open. I was working with Jeff Mayer again on literature. In most of the projects I’ve worked on. important. Here’s an example of a project take a similar career path? where a story wasn’t required but a theme was very As far as formal education goes. I indispensable. It should evoke particular emotions and weave the kind of spell that transports your guests to another place. theme is usually indispensable. your love of a certain type of painting. and film. really—it’s the totality of your life “Crossroads of Prosperity” became the theme.indd 12 23-06-2012 PM 03:17:01 . So you’re When you conceptualize a new space. It also gave and commerce. development as a center of that dynamism—something your knowledge of architecture. at least. Even in projects where story isn’t a fundamental aspect of the experience. the issue is which design features will do the best job of creating the most engaging guest experience. needed a I could use to create stories and context for projects. Your childhood the economic dynamism of Tianjin and positioned the impressions. I think the best thing to do is start with the kind of experience your client wants to offer their guests—the activities of a family fun zone or a wild or spooky dark ride for example—and then craft a story that supports that experience. On the other hand. Tianjin has a history as an entertainment. If you look at your design features as the language you use to talk to your guests. your understanding 12 THE IMMERSIVE WORLDS HANDBOOK CH001. I zigzagged from writing for television tenants and shoppers. That’s the case with sculpture in the atrium.Right. they’re places where nations and me the chance to learn from my clients and my fellow cultures exchange goods and ideas. Then we partnered with Nextep museum exhibits or historical sites. the question is “Am I saying what I want to say and saying it in a compelling way?” That’s the test. I had a store of material and reference points one of many new developments in Tianjin. are there ways to using your storytelling skills to frame the significant and assess what design features will be successful? factual aspects of the subject and make them vivid and memorable. to that. of the human experience or the natural world. Adding the humanities and residential tower in Tianjin. That combines the expressive thematic design for the public areas of a commercial power of language and visuals. I always start by examining the to educational films to interactive and themed significance of the setting. I focused on art. For a writer or designer—for any story of any major port—it’s a crossroads of sorts. At the concept stage. story is that would appeal to the aspirations of future tenants. fascinate. It evoked experiences that shape how you think. China. some story elements. That kind of eclectic background allowed important port and it’s positioned to be even more me to take the techniques and tricks I learned in one important in the future. So creative professional. This is the timeless team members. amuse. The project. You’re working with Design to reimagine it as an installation animated by your client to create a story that interprets some aspect contoured water curtains and lighting effects. Remember that your design “language” should have the power to enchant. or inspire. strong identity—something attractive to prospective Beyond college. Sometimes you inherit a story intersection of water courses that fed a multistory water or. Ports are about prosperity medium and apply them to other media. when you have a blank slate. It’s the source of most of the design ideas sketched out a physical metaphor for the crossroads: an and thematic elements. What about the use of a theme? Theme is very important.

are watching a science fiction film we might have that same sense—of space. Just make sure that it is unique. Now let’s take a moment or idea we wish to tell. a part of a planet. definitions of what space is. enough and tablets. For example. If we the world around you that make the big difference. you might create an attraction that is used. If you wish. deep thoughts. climate. translate. or region—one of the most interesting and experience and a lifelong curiosity about people and applicable ones refers to blank and empty areas. of how scenarios are played Defining Space out on a stage. in a book. Just like an adventurer in a film. but designers can look to this form of space by how you will translate one feature that you devised in considering ways to connect with guests in more intimate Part I into a feature that you will design for guests in a ways. important rituals. cultures. and ideas shared between lovers or persons who are Aspects of Space very close. venue of your choosing. Somewhat related to this form is intimate space. it? Will this be another planet.indd 13 13 23-06-2012 PM 03:17:01 . let’s spaces that people can “take with them” when they first look at some ideas that relate to what space is. an undersea world. In practices that we can apply. In the long run. how it leave. and even the desktop of etc. One of the most common ways that use Table 1-1 to write down key aspects of the world. as designers Application—Worldbuilding we can approach space as a blank or empty area. is so compelling that it becomes the subject of a later THE NATURE OF THEMED AND IMMERSIVE SPACES CH001. Designers wouldn’t generally create venues In order to better understand how effective design for this form of space but one possible use is to design principles can be applied to the worlds that we create. literally and figuratively out there. mobile—meaning that we take what’s personal with us. If you would like. Write down space. venues for guests. a historic place. When you have completed this you should be sure our laptop computer and the screens on our cell phones that you have a pretty good sense of the world. Understanding the specific uses of space can assist us in designing more provocative and more meaningful Focus on adding details to the world. Throughout this book we will be and focus on creating your own world. Intimate space is the space of secrets. you may name this place. They feed your imagination and sharpen your instincts. work on the main idea of the world—what is senses of how it is used. and your Among the many different definitions of space—which relationships with others—these can all be drawn range from describing a three-dimensional area. It’s a We have now spent some time thinking about the piece of clay that we have to mold into whatever story process of creating a world. Personal space such as ecology. our cars. and adapt for guests.of how stories are built. space is organized is in a personal sense. looking at a range of spaces and discussing the best Part I: Begin to create your own immersive world. there are many different First. on a movie screen. a futuristic one? You Types and Uses of Space can decide the main basis of the world. This type of space can present challenges to designers Part II: Take out another sheet of paper and begin to since people may get wrapped up in what is familiar to write down which of these aspects of the world you will them and they may be unable to step out of their own simplify. upon. it’s your workaday professional expanse. includes our homes. and the different spaces that exist in the world. Personal space has become increasingly that you could describe it to someone else and that person would have a mental picture of what the world is. Just as there are many order to do this you will need a few sheets of paper.

or interacting their own spaces are equally numerous. ways. In our training sessions space created by author J. 14 THE IMMERSIVE WORLDS HANDBOOK CH001. our ideas most readers of this book will be designing. I became familiar with how we on a guitar. The Diversity of Space As the types and uses of space reflect. Fantasy space alienation—and we would try to create leisure spaces is the result of the unique cognitive abilities of humans that were the opposite of these feelings. a good amount of time. boredom. merchandise. let’s show fantasy space—such as in daydreaming—designers them a carefree time. stress. and a theme park. the thoughts that lead to a scribble on a napkin. and other policies. So series of amusement parks in which no idea. Consumer space is the type of space that or the space that involves our sense of justice. Social space. Some designers have type of space that could include the shopping mall. Work space can be expansive as the phrase poem. or when they to fantasy space is consumer space. It eventually we would talk about the qualities of work that people became a multibillion dollar franchise that has included sometimes express—drudgery. Somewhat products that we bring into the home. While a tune in someone’s head that becomes a few strums a trainer at AstroWorld. Though it are brought up in the company of others and because would be hard to assess. we should be Social space is multifaceted. Work space is the place where people spend Steeplechase Park at Coney Island. Think of how you feel when you are truly alone to accept it as a part of their most intimate thoughts and and you get a sense of the importance of social space. let’s look at one example of a space below. This is a broad are considering existential values. the mastermind behind Other types of spaces are less personal but no less meaningful. This world office. consciousness when they are away from the space that Designers can use social space in ways that are truly you have created. This could be a cubicle in an Fantasy space is a unique space to humans. Fantasy space often begins as an idea and could reference work space to make our theme park then becomes something material. George Tilyou.conversation between two people. home improvement stores. a laptop screen and coffee table. economic. If people felt and we saw one example of it earlier in the discussion boredom at work. transformative. even when they are much of who we are is because of the ways in which we far removed from the place that they visited. concept. and our senses of social. considered the use of theming and other immersive theme parks. Because humans spend a lot of time in theme park and if people felt constant stress. which can take advantage of this rich space. Political space is a challenging one to engage in a design world. Rowling. There is also sacred space. “taking your work home with you” would indicate. Think of the fantasy more enjoyable for guests. It is one of the is an arena that people occupy when they feel devout. is an important form of human space. Related when they are going to a place of worship. you could say that the quality of we develop our sense of self in relation to others around your designed place is related to how willing people are us. like fantasy the diversity of space. As we consider with others at a sporting event. or the cab of a is sometimes immaterial at first—the ideas behind a big rig truck. the ways in which designers can create talking with our family at the dinner table. and many other challenging from a design standpoint is political space examples. most significant spaces that we will consider. It’s a space that we all aware that space may be thought of in incredibly diverse occupy whether we are speaking with colleagues at work. books. let’s give them excitement in the of cave art.indd 14 23-06-2012 PM 03:17:01 . the consumer approaches in their work with sacred spaces. Likewise. understood the power to transform guests by mixing them up with other guests. about how the world works (or should work). K.

and shows and spectacles that would have rivaled people. with its aquatic and land animal light features when it offered amazing spectacles like shows. that we have ever seen. And. (Six Flags Over Texas) that Figure 1-12 Luna Park (Coney Island) THE NATURE OF THEMED AND IMMERSIVE SPACES CH001. and numerous dark rides and technologies that history of Coney Island teaches us that with consumer simulated other times and places. and shows that all members of the family could enjoy. with an enclosed berm.or attraction was off limits.000 Coney Island was many things—a playground for all lights. Consider that Captain Paul Boyton’s Sea Lion future theme park stunt shows and Las Vegas casino Park (1895-1903). acrobatic performances. a collection of any theme park that is around today like A Trip to the multiple amusement parks. Reynolds’ Dreamland (1904-1911). infant incubator demonstrations. Coney Island’s remarkable legacy is that it Park (1897-1964). Also. and a testing ground for Moon. predated spaces. which tried to do an influence on contemporary immersive consumer everything bigger and better than Luna Park. amazing 250. think about Frederic Thompson and Elmer “Skip” Dundy’s Luna Park (1903-1944) with its Coney Island one-of-a-kind eclectic architecture. Yet. an amazing beachside resort.indd 15 15 23-06-2012 PM 03:17:01 . literally anything is possible. The some of the most innovative rides and architecture War of the Worlds. and thrilling water re-creations of the Boer War and live firefighting shows rides predicted later theme parks like Busch Gardens and even had a tower with a light that shone 50 miles and SeaWorld or that George Tilyou’s Steeplechase out to sea. surprisingly. of spaces for which you are likely designing. proved before Walt spaces. Then. Disney and Angus Wynee Jr. The rides. let’s look at the types a theme park could be an entire space with varied rides. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. many people and themed ethnic buildings. attractions. thrilling gave all of us inspiration to do what we do today. consider that William have never thought of Coney Island as being such H.

and Knott’s Berry Farm. Each type of space presents its unique advantages and disadvantages and the remainder of the book will spend time on these so as to give you Figure 1-13 have a very historic feel to them and sometimes seem less commercial than some theme parks. games. Keep in Theme Park: Theme parks can be historically attributed mind that principles for creating engaging attractions to the advancements at Disneyland. Amusement parks designers to develop complex stories that can span are different from theme parks in that they generally more than one attraction or ride. England) and venues. Amusement parks are popular design spaces for attractions that may focus on pure adrenaline (like rides) and that require less of a story component to them. but the key difference is that the historic era at Coney Island. Today’s amusement parks Venues As you work on developing your own iconic spaces. In addition to the parks of Coney designer to tell more involved stories and to engage Island past. Ohio). enclosed spaces that include rides. you will have to consider how to work within a specific venue. Six Flags Over within one space can be utilized in other spaces Texas. like those from like amusement parks. Theme parks are as well. Theme shows and other attractions that are designed to parks are popular design spaces because they allow maximize the enjoyment of guests. Figure 1-14 16 THE IMMERSIVE WORLDS HANDBOOK CH001. This allows the lack themelands.Cedar Point (Sandusky. are enclosed spaces they have one or more central themes (and sometimes that are composed of rides.indd 16 23-06-2012 PM 03:17:02 . more opportunities to think about design. spectacles. and themelands) that orient the guest to the space. games. some examples of this form include the guest in more of the world than is possible in other Blackpool Pleasure Beach (Blackpool. and shows Amusement Park: Amusement parks.