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Storyland Studios announces winner of International Storyland Design Challenge

Taste of Europe logo

Storyland Studios, the three-dimensional storytelling firm, announced both the $20,000 grand prize winner and the top three finalists of the first-ever Storyland Design Challenge last week, at blooloop V-Expo.

The contest was launched earlier this year, giving freelance designers the opportunity to make their name in the industry by pitching their design concepts for immersive, story-based experiences.

Taste of Europe Pre-Show

The winning entry

The winning entry was Taste of Europe: The Tasteful Travels of Olivier Flambé by a team based in the Netherlands, consisting of Nicky De Waal, Wim Strijbosch, Tim Beeren, Mark Van Rooij and Vincent Keuchen. This attraction takes guests on a flavour-collecting adventure across scenes from turn-of-the-century Europe.

“We are extremely proud of this result,” says De Waal. “We all knew each other before partaking in the challenge, but we had never really worked together as a team. It is so cool to see what has come out of this first-time cooperation and to see it rewarded with first place in an international contest with 79 other entries.” 

Taste of Europe ride

The attraction concept features two ride systems, including an innovative side-rail concept that connects with a walk-through attraction. There are also on-site restaurants.

“[This was] a great team effort to develop a classic theme park experience with every single detail needed for an extraordinary adventure,” says Michael Mack of Europa-Park, who sat on the judging panel. “[Taste of Europe is] a well-developed combination of every aspect of a theme park ride, [and] a great idea for a new ride system.” 


Three finalists were also chosen, alongside the winner, and each of these teams will be able to showcase their ideas during the Storyland Innovation Webinar. These three finalists are:

  • Blue Oceans Park by Nicklas Farrantello, a sustainable, travelling eco-park that takes entertainment to host cities via green technologies
  • Chaos Institute by Jakob Fagerstrom and Anders Liljegren, an immersive thrill ride attraction with an innovative ride system that incorporates a roller coaster, drop tower, and a dark ride mini game 
  • L’Opera de L’Opere by Jessica Piatti and Gerben Pasjes, a tribute to the opera in the form of an interactive targeting ride for a contemporary audience
Storyland Design Challenge Finalists

A successful competition

The Storyland Design Challenge is the firm’s first-ever design competition and attracted a huge range of entries from across the attractions industry. It was a chance for freelance creatives to get their ideas in front of a judging panel comprised of some of the leading names in the business.

Each entry was featured in an online gallery and judged based on the following criteria:

  • Depth and Richness of Storytelling: Does it entertain, thrill, and excite? 
  • Emotional Resonance: Does it move people to act? 
  • Design Innovation: Does it push the boundaries of what’s been done before? 
  • Creative Use of Materials: Does it find new ways to use old tools and design methods? 
  • Executability: Is it doable? 
  • Ecological Compatibility: What’s the impact on the area where the project would be installed? 

The judges for the 2021 Storyland Design Competition were: 

  • Michael Mack, CEO, Europa Park and Mack NeXT
  • Andreas Andersen, CEO and President, Liseberg Group, Sweden, and Board Member at LEGO House Denmark
  • Doris Hardoon, Executive Creative Director and veteran Disney Imagineer
  • Laurence Beckers, Creative Director, Alterface and Board Member of l’Institut des Arts et Diffusion, Louvain-La-Neuve 
  • Rachel Read, FD and co-founder, blooloop
  • Mel McGowan, CCO, Storyland Studios and veteran Disney Imagineer

Partners of the challenge included blooloop, Mack NeXT, Alterface, and 

“The sheer talent among creatives in our space is staggering,” says Ben Thompson, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Global Clients at Storyland Studios. “We were thrilled with the astounding response to the challenge, and excited to present the winner and finalists with their well-deserved awards.”

Storyland Studios also recently announced that it has entered into a new partnership with leading video game publisher Ubisoft. The company will design two multi-brand themed entertainment offerings based on Ubisoft’s popular game worlds.

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charlotte coates

Charlotte Coates

Charlotte Coates is blooloop's editor. She is from Brighton, UK and previously worked as a librarian. She has a strong interest in arts, culture and information and graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree in English Literature. Charlotte can usually be found either with her head in a book or planning her next travel adventure.

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