Creating Play Spaces for Kids that draw the Entire Family
THE VISIONREALIZEDPROJECT CASE STUDY01.issue“Wonder and Imagination-these are the 2 key emotions thenew zone must deliver.”Glenn Gumpel, President CEO Universal Studios Japan, OsakaUSJ Co. teamed with KB Creative Advisors to lead thedevelopment of a new zone centered on children’splay. Universal Wonderland’s completion achieves amilestone for the theme-park at the celebration of it’s10-year anniversary. It sets a new standard in theme-park design driven by a core focus in guest experiencethat is repeatable and emotionally fulfilling. How KBCAhelped reimagine this new zone is a case study in designleadership and intense collaboration.KB | CREATIVE ADVISORS
The visionThe challengeDesign leadershipEvolving the brands3456Contentsnov dec jan feb mar april may june july aug sep oct nov dec jan feb mar2011 2012www.kbcreativeadvisors.comLos Angeles| SingaporeUSA: 5150 Wilshire Blvd #360 Los Angeles CA 90036 t:1-323-285-5259Asia: 10a Craig Rd. 2F Singapore 089670 t: 65-3158-2045for all enquires: jonathanL@kbcreativeadvisors.com Case Study | UWL 2Issue .01.2013 KB | CREATIVE ADVISORSmembersmillion USD s.m. I.P.increaseoutletsAttractions Food & RetailCharactersAttendanceDesign TeamBudget Area Covered2550+ 30k25%13 53CONCEPTTO COMPLETION17 MONTHS11.01.10first on-sitecharette03.15.12UniversalWonderlandOpensNTTpreparessubmission ride vendorscontracted100 %SDcompleteSD Addendums100 %ConceptBuyoffWeekly Progress UpdatesSchematicproductionIPreviewapprovalOn site worksession valueengineerCreativehand-over toUSJ teamUSJ design team construction,fabrication, install, operations training
USJ Co’s primary goal was tomeet the needs of an underservedmarket group of young children(3-9 yrs old) and their families.When Universal Studios Japan®first opened in 200, the zone wasoriginally designed and themed asthe “WILD WEST” area. Althoughwell designed and meticulouslydetailed, it failed to resonateemotionally with the regionalmarket. This area was then re-themed to the “Land of Oz” basedon the characters from the classicmovie. The“Land of Oz” officiallyA Harmony ofWonder and Imaginationclosed in 2011 to make way for theWonderland transformation to takeplace.The vision was to create a homefor three brands, Snoopy, HelloKitty and Sesame Street, inhabitinga land filled with “Wonder” and“Imagination” the two tenets thatwould drive key program and designdecisions throughout the process.Monument sign at entry into land Marketing key art illustrating entire land Sculpted characters greet guests at entry Case Study | UWL 3Issue .01.2013 KB | CREATIVE ADVISORSTHE VISION VISION DEVELOPMENTthe 3 “W”sWe always start with asking clientssome fundamentals:What- What is the Program andwhat emotion does it need to fulfill?Who- Who are we designing for?Why- Why does the park need thisproject, towards what higher goaldoes it seek to attain?DESIGN RESEARCHlistening, discovering, fulfillingUSJ has over the years successfullydriven increase in park attendancethrough a rigorous process of marketsurvey and putting their ear on theground; listening and fulfilling whattheir guests seek.Mothers were identified as the keydecision makers in driving ticketsales for the park. In the programand design process, the teamconsidered not only the types ofattractions kids would enjoy butalso planned for the amenitiesand facility details that arehospitable and ergonomic forboth kids and adults alike.The project seeked to fulfil thiscombination in the right “style”that would evoke wonder andimagination.At the end of an intense charettedesign process, KBCA produceda presentation that conveyed theclient’s vision of the experientialnarrative through words, imagesand original artwork of discov-ered concepts.These collectedthoughts and visual ideas thenformed the foundation for thenext steps in design evolution.
Rehabilitate, recreateKBCA was faced with the complexchallenge of creating a new “world”within the constraints of existingstructure and facilities. To achieveeconomy and cost effectiveness,maximizing investment in areasthat guests actually experience andtouch was key.The area anchoring the site atits nort-east edge was occupiedby 2 outdoor covered theatres;both with an overall eleavtiondrop of approximately 8 metres.This presented both a challengeand an opportunity in envisioningthe possible uses of this area.KBCA’s depth of owner-operatorexperience and masterplanningpoweress came into play in re-configuring the 30,000 s.m. landarea into 3 sub-zones. Almost allexisting facilities remained intact,except for one of the outdoortheatre which was demolishedto make way for what was to beeventually become Sesame CentralPark.A constant dialogue that involvedactive listening with the client andan exchange of ideas was presentthroughout the decision makingprocess. KBCA worked closely withthe USJ team to articulate not onlythe aspirations of the project, butalso to organize and evalute pre-existing site facilities conditions.The KBCA design team transformedthe area with a combination ofaltering, enclosing, layering andadding to the bones of the facilitiesand working in harmony withexisting site topography.Final masterplanPreliminary scope diagram Case Study | UWL 4Issue .01.2013 KB | CREATIVE ADVISORSTHECHALLENGE
Entry Portal,The Flying Snoopy:16vehicle Flying Round Ride,Snoopy StudiosFacade RedevelopmentShow Producer/ Creative Director, Show Producer/ Creative Director,Design Architect Design Architect Design Architect Design ArchitectArea Development Designer Area Development DesignerLandscape ArchitectVehicle DesignersVehicle DesignersInterior DesignerInterior Designer Interior DesignerCAD DesignerStoryboard ArtistConcept ArtistsSpecialty ConsultantsSignage and GraphicsSignage and GraphicsSignage and GraphicsSignage and GraphicsSignage and GraphicsWardrobe DesignWardrobe DesignWardrobe DesignWardrobe DesignWardrobe DesignShow Set DesignersShow Set Designers, Art DirectorsProduction Designers Production Designers Production DesignersCAD Designer CAD DesignerWritersHello Kitty CupCakeDream-Hello Kitty’s Ribbon CollectionCup Cake Bakery,Apple Fries CarHello Kitty Ribbon BoutiiqueFacade DevelopmentSesame PlazaElmo’s Little DriveBig Bird’s Big Top CircusSesame StoreElmo ImaginariumElmo’s Bubble BubbleAbby’s Magical PartyMoppy’s Lucky Dance PartyBig Bird’s Big NestGrover’s Construction CompanyBert and Ernie’s Wonder-The SeaCookie Monster CafeSesame Central ParkSesame’s Big DriveBig Bird’s Climbing NestAbby’s Magical TreeAbby’s Magical GardenWater GardenCookie Monster SlideErnie’s Rubber Duckie RaceDesign leadership takes a visionand makes it real.In 2010, Oct 27, USJ Co. askedKBCA to meet on site for acharette session to transform oneof the lands in the park.At 9am onNov 1, KBCA senior design deliveryleaders were on the job.Drawing talent from Singapore,Los Angeles and Berkeley, KBCAmobilized a group of 22 designprofessionals. Among themwere experts in the design andprogramming of environments forchildren, creative producers,designarchitects, illustrators, set andproduction designers, art directors,landscape architects and specialtyconsultants.Delivering the project in just 17months required a full throttle,fast track process. To managethe scope of work, the area wasdvided into key blocks, each with itsUSJ Co.ASnoopyBHello KittyCSesameG.C.S.G.CDESIGN LEADERSHIPNTTFacilitiesdistinct program and uses. KBCAled the charette process includingvision briefings, brainstorm sessions,and design discussions capturingideas in play and feeding them backto the design teams.The team participated in weekly“work-shops” where progressin visual ideation, sketches andrenderings were presented andideas exchanged. The energy andsynergy these dialogues generatedresulted in a rich and seamlessset of overall ideas for UniversalWonderland.View of SesameTown from Hello Kitty FashionAvenue Case Study | UWL 5Issue .01.2013 KB | CREATIVE ADVISORSDESIGNKB | CREATIVE ADVISORSLEADERSHIP
Day dreams of flying in the cloudsAt the first zone upon entry, KBCAproposed a bold move to place thenew outdoor round-ride in frontof the existing “Snoopy-Studios”building.By orienting the new land entryportal to frame a kinetic structureof cuteness, it draws guests in andbecomes the iconic starting pointfor the imagination and wonderthat awaits beyond. KBCA ‘s designUSj character wonderland | PaGe 2worK In ProGreSS coMMentS | May 24, 2011SnooPy center Icon concePtUSj character wonderland | PaGe 3worK In ProGreSS coMMentS | May 24, 2011SnooPy rIde VehIcleStudy models made for fine-tuningergonomics, scale and “photo-friendly” factors.Installed flying snoopy and centerpeiceKBCA imagined an environment ofexuberance and celebration that isoriginal but still attuned to the brand’stone and language.team charetted through severalconcepts before finally stirking thechord that evokes wonder andimagination in Snoopy’s world.. Case Study | UWL 6Issue .01.2013 KB | CREATIVE ADVISORSEVOLVINGTHE BRANDS
Couture but CuteIt’s all about the Bow!KBCA was tasked with taking thisconcept that personifies Kitty andtranslating it into a groundbreakinggenre of architecture.Armed with design researchcentered heavily on fashion,culture and food, the design teamengaged in an active dialogue withUSJ’s “Team Kitty” to establishthe key design elements that arequintessentially Hello Kitty.Hello Kitty has evolved over thepast 30 years and continues tobe a powerhouse global brand.The challenge was to evolve it yetanother level into the“next” lookthat is an original to USJ.The design team set out to uncoverthe elements that would make amodern and sophisticated statementbut overlaid with “Cute”.Kitty’s “Bow” was identified as anicon unique to the character’sidentity and became part of thesignature quilted wall- an evolutionthat began from a classic handbag.The Bow also played a key rolein the development of the “HelloKitty Ribbon Collection” –a Meetand Greet attraction.The attractionpersonalizes the experience byoffering guests a selection of bowaccessories prior to their specialmoment with the Kitty herself.Complementing the oversizedribbon is a system of layeredpatterned glass that plays ontransparency and a whimsicalrepitition of the brand’s signaturelogo. A system of banding“ribbons” surrounds the interiorenvironment- leading guests, fromthe entry through a showcase of“Kitty’s Couture” – culminatinginto her shoe display chamberwhere kids are entertained with anoversized “shoe slide”.The concept for the “tea-cup”round ride evolved from a series ofideas linked to Kitty’s modern-dayaccoutrements. The oversized andcolorful Cupcakes are a natural fitand doubled as the perfect snackopportunity.Bow selection showcase,attraction signage.The quilted wall was angled to orient theIconic Bow towards guest approach.A single cupcake mold was made andvariations of patterns and color combinationapplied.Hello Kitty Boutique interiors,Entrancefrom Fashion AVenue Case Study | UWL 7Issue .01.2013 KB | CREATIVE ADVISORS
USj character wonderland | PaGe 12worK In ProGreSS coMMentS | May 24, 2011SeSaMe : d is for drIVejUnIor rIde VehIcle- 3d Model One Body / Four Faces & Four ColorsEach facewould need to bea “Plant-on”elementElmoTellyGroverErnieTuesday, May 31, 2011Identifying the “style” that unlocksa sense of wonderment was a keycomponent in the design of Sesametown. KBCA’s design team createda signature look that evolved froma formula using the IP’s basic style-guide combined with the “BIGFACE” concept.The designers took an“anthropomorphic” approach in thefaçade design and inflected the linesto create a “Uniquely USJ Sesame”style that is consistent throughoutthe interiors and outdoor play areas.By virtue of the brand’s popularityand it’s wide-reach to the broaderBursting with Imagination andWondermarket, this zone offers the mostattractions for “what kids like todo”.Through market researchconducted- one of the mostpopular activities identifiedamongst kids was driving. Drivingwith autonomy appealed to kids asit offered a “role-play” of a grown-up activity. Two variations of thisattraction was developed, onesuited to the very young toddlersand another scaled up for the moreadventurous young drivers.KBCA designed the newfacade to work with keepingthe existing structure andbase surface panels.Theeffect works into a backdropfor adding the new stylizedSesame facades.Pre-existing primary structureof building facade from “Landof Oz”-was retained.The mini-drive course for toddlerswas designed to be centrally locatedto form a focal point of energy andexcitement in the main plaza.Vehicle Design studies andfinal product Case Study | UWL 8Issue .01.2013 KB | CREATIVE ADVISORS
USJ CHARACTER WONDERLAND | PAGE 9WORK IN PROGRESS COMMENTS | MAY 5, 2011SESAME: INDOOR IMAGINATION PLAYENTRYThe play on scale of thesuspended “big face” ringheads- added to a senseof wonderment. Guestexperience the worldsimagined “inside the heads” ofeach character.The mini-flume offers anadult and child sharedexperienceTo break up the 2500 s.m. space intoseveral distinct play spaces- KBCA’sdesign team proposed suspended “BigFace” heads of the favourite charactersthat would create compression and scalein the 16m tall volume.Each “Pod”‘s play program is developedto be symbiotic with the tone andlanguage of the respective SesameCharacters.A series of ramps designed to functionboth as access and a secondary viewingplatform.The Elmo Imaginarium containedthe highest density of focused playprograms within the land. Central tothe volumnious space is a mini-flumeattraction themed as Elmo and hisgoldfish Dorothy.An important space planningcomponent was for parents to havean overlook from which to findsome respite while the kids exploredbelow.The success and popularity of theproject is a result of focusing onthe timeless activities kids love andcustomizing the environment toinspire imagination and a sense ofwonder.USJ CHARACTER WONDERLAND | PAGE 32WORK IN PROGRESS COMMENTS | MAY 5, 2011SESAME: INDOOR IMAGINATION PLAYGROVER’S CONSTRUCTION COMPANY: BUILDING BLOCKSUSJ CHARACTER WONDERLAND | PAGE 49WORK IN PROGRESS COMMENTS | MAY 5, 2011SESAME: INDOOR IMAGINATION PLAYMOPPY : LUCKY DANCE EXTERIORUSJ CHARACTER WONDERLAND | PAGE 20WORK IN PROGRESS COMMENTS | MAY 5, 2011SESAME: INDOOR IMAGINATION PLAYBERT & ERNIE’S UNDERSEA ADVENTURE: VIEW FROM PLAZAKey to Success Case Study | UWL 9Issue .01.2013 KB | CREATIVE ADVISORS
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