It's Time for SATE!

September 19, 2012

September not only brings cool temperatures to the air and warm colors to the leaves, but it also brings the Themed Entertainment Association’s Storytelling, Architecture, Technology and Experience (SATE) conference. This year’s SATE will be held at Disneyland Paris and will address the topic of “Cultural Diversity in Themed Entertainment: Obstacle or Opportunity?” The conference chairs for SATE 2012 are Yves Pepin, Artistic Adviser of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and award-winning producer of spectacular live shows around the world, and Joe Rohde, Senior Vice President and Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering.

The TEA is an international non-profit association representing the world’s leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences. Founded in 1991, the organization has evolved from a few dozen members to over 700 member companies. The 2012 SATE marks the second one to be held in Europe – previous conferences were held exclusively in the US. In keeping with the diversity topic, over 30 speakers will discuss such issues as working with multicultural teams, intercultural communication challenges and responsibilities, and identifying new cultural markets to reach a broader audience. All of these dynamic presentations will be held against the beautiful background of the Disneyland Paris Resort.

“We have several client meetings scheduled during the conference,” said Keith James, Owner/CEO of JRA and a Past President of TEA. “SATE not only provides a forum to network with other member companies, it also provides an excellent opportunity for our clients to get acquainted with the Themed Entertainment Association.” Keith will give a SATE presentation for the session: From Concept to Means, How They Go Through the Cultural Borders, in which he will discuss the importance of continuously adapting JRA’s work process with suppliers and consultants to better fit into a variety of local cultures and environments.

For Phil Hartley, President of the TEA’s Europe and Middle East Division, SATE offers a rare opportunity to have some of the industry’s greatest leaders in one location at one time, “where else could you meet, and receive words of wisdom from, industry leaders such as Yves Pépin and Phillippe Gas, Joe Rohde and Rick Rothschild, Keith James and Koert Vermeulen, Steve Simons and Steve Rhys, Laura Miotto and Lesley Morisetti to name but a few - all under one roof and at one event!”

Phil and our friends at Blooloop will provide show floor coverage of the event and Keith’s speech next week, so stay tuned, and if you haven’t registered, check out all the details here.

See you next week!

Tags: JRA Team , Outside the Studio

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Check out the SATE 2012 "where's Waldo" poster, on TEA's Facebook page!
Judith Rubin 11:03AM 09/25/12

Meet the Team: John Nagel

September 12, 2012

Last week, The Jim Beam New American Stillhouse and Distillery Tour held a soft opening for friends and family.  We'll share more about this dynamic brand experience for the grand opening in October, but in the meantime, we thought we introduce you to one of the talented JRA designers who helped make the project possible.  Say hello to Senior Project Designer, John Nagel.

With a background in both architecture and planning, John Nagel joins project teams early in the creative process to help formulate the guest experience as Senior Project Designer at JRA. With more than 20 years of experience, John is able to see things that others often cannot. Whether John is working on a 5,000-square-foot museum exhibit or a 100,000-square-foot entertainment complex, he is able to weave the required program elements together into a cohesive architectural plan.

At Jack Rouse Associates, John has provided initial planning and design for major theme park and entertainment projects all over the world. In addition to the Jim Beam New American Stillhouse and Distillery Tour, John’s recent work includes Ferrari World Abu Dhabi in Abu Dhabi and Restless Planet in Dubai; the Guangdong Science Center in China; the Gateway Colorado Auto Museum and the McKenna Children’s Museum in Texas. John also specializes in the design of architectural structures, themed environments and food service facilities. His museum experience includes re-creating the historic environment of Cincinnati’s 1850s Public Landing for the Cincinnati History Museum as well as creating exhibits for the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. John is an important member of the JRA team, as his knowledge of period construction techniques, materials and hardware is exceptional.

Tags: JRA Team

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Celebrating Sentosa

September 06, 2012

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Fort Siloso at Sentosa Island, Singapore

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Sentosa Island, Singapore, one of the fastest growing entertainment destinations in Southeast Asia, celebrated its 40th birthday September 1. Dubbed “Asia’s Favorite Playground,” the 500-acre island is located just 15 minutes from the city center and offers a wide array of themed attractions, accommodations, beaches, golf courses, luxury residences and a marina.

Sentosa means “peace and tranquility” in Malay, but the history of the island has not always been peaceful. In fact, its was once known as Pulau Belakang Mati, or “death from behind.” Four forts were built on the island in the 1880s to protect the region’s coal supply from enemies. During WWII, the British used the island as a military stronghold and set up artillery guns facing the sea in anticipation of a Japanese attack. The attack came, the Japanese conquered, and the island became a prisoner of war camp for English and Australian soldiers. Even after the war ended and the Japanese surrendered, the island continued to serve a military purpose for the British forces for nearly 25 years, until it was handed over to the newly independent government of Singapore.

In 1972, the Singaporean public gave the island its current name. On September 1 of that year, the Sentosa Development Corporation was formed, and the island has enjoyed steady growth through today, most recently with the addition of Resorts World Sentosa, which includes a casino, hotel and Universal Studios Singapore.

“There has been a considerable rise in interest in developing theme parks and like attractions throughout Southeast Asia since the most recent expansion of Sentosa,” said Shahryn Azmi, Director of JRA Southeast Asia. “In that regard, it is very much the recognized leader in the regional market and industry. Sentosa knows that and appears to be striving to ensure that it maintains its lead.”

JRA was honored to design and produce two attractions for Sentosa Island in 2004. The first was an interpretive gallery and animated media piece within the existing iconic 37-meter-tall Merlion statue.

The Merlion is Singapore’s benevolent guardian and one of the many mysteries of the sea. The Merlion experience begins with a pre-show that introduces visitors to sea mysteries from many cultures. Lively original music follows guests as they pass dioramas depicting mermaids, lake monsters, sea serpents, movie creatures and other deep-dwelling enigmas.

The attraction’s main theater showcases Singapore’s own sea mysteries: the storm that threatened Prince Sang Nila Utama in the 11th century as he traveled to the island he would name “Singapura,” or Lion City, and the development of the Merlion as a symbol of welcome and guardian of Singapore’s good fortune. These stories, presented using animation from Hollywood’s ACME Filmworks, are told in a themed space that puts audience members into the heart of the action.

The guest experience culminates with a trip to the top of the Merlion’s head to take in a 360-degree view of the harbor that has captivated island-goers since the Merlion first came to Sentosa.

JRA also provided overall design and production the renovation of Ft. Siloso, Singapore’s only preserved coastal fort. One of the original 19th century military batteries, Siloso now serves as a popular interpretive attraction and houses a comprehensive overview of Singapore’s World War II history, including the nation’s largest collection of WWII memorabilia.

Guests of Fort Siloso are dropped off at a new square, where they can take in a series of exhibits and films that detail Fort Siloso’s history. From there, visitors may tour the fort’s structures, experiencing along the way what life was like for soldiers and volunteers who served on Sentosa Island throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Popular attractions such as the “booming” 6-inch gun and vignettes depicting the lives of soldiers are blended with more reflective exhibits that address the POW experience and Singapore’s years of Japanese occupation. The Fort Siloso experience ends with the popular wax Surrender Chambers, which have been re-located from Sentosa’s Images of Singapore galleries.

Sentosa Island celebrated its 40th Birthday in grand style and provided something for every visitor. All Singaporean residents arriving via the Boardwalk or Sentosa Express were invited to visit the island free of charge, and anyone celebrating a 40th birthday in 2012 was offered complimentary admission to the island for all of August and September. The five attraction zones offered sand sculptures, an ice slide, dancers, tilt walkers, cupcakes and a 3D light show. The party also included the Third Annual Buskers Festival and the First Annual Flea Market, where proceeds collected from booth rentals were donated to charity.

Happy Birthday Sentosa! We look forward to seeing what comes next for “Singapore’s Island Resort.”

Tags: Asia , JRA Journeys , Project Spotlight

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