Pico Play, a global leader in the planning, design, development and construction of world-class themed attractions and entertainment, has outlined its expertise with a series of recent projects and a new industry accolade.
Pico Play has recently helped a Ripley’s Believe It or Not! franchise 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.
The company also has a contract to design and build a new attraction at Vietnam’s upcoming Sam Son theme park and has worked with major Australian theme park Dreamworld to theme sections of its new Steel Taipan rollercoaster.
In addition, Pico Play was a recent winner in the Tourism, Hospitality and Events category at the Gold Coast Business Excellence Awards.
Greg Holt leads the team as Pico Play’s creative design director. He says: “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.”
Understanding the market
Holt began his career in Macau over twenty 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 with this in Malaysia before transferring to Pico Play’s Gold Coast site in 2016.
Based on the Gold Coast, the company is currently working on twenty projects across the globe 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.
“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.”
Pico Play uses a tried and tested process with its projects, long before the first site visit or drawing takes place.
“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.”
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.
“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’s fabrication facility in Johor, in the south of the Malay Peninsula, recently shared details of some of its top projects including work at Universal Studios Singapore.
Concepts: Pico Play/Pico Group