A new attraction at the soon-to-open Maritime Experiential Museum and Aquarium (MEMA) at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore will bring visitors face to face with the mother of all fears – their own mortality thanks to a face-to-face simulation of the raw power of a southern Pacific typhoon.
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Typhoon 360, which will be a primary focal point of the MEMA’s Oct. 15 grand opening, literally and figuratively sinks the audience of up to 150 into the story of ninth century merchants working on a trading vessel along the Maritime Silk Road as a massive typhoon hits. Thanks to state-of-the art, real time effects including robotic, high-resolution projections, passengers find themselves in the depths of the ocean, up close with the shipwreck and magnificent marine life.
“Typhoon 360 is not your typical museum attraction. By engaging the senses through a number of special effects, we are able to deliver an experience that’s filled with a great deal of intensity and emotion, ” said Brent Young, CCO and Creative Director for Super 78 Studios, the Hollywood-based attraction design firm that created Typhoon 360. “The attraction leverages the lore of a great Chinese story and fuses it with dramatic American cinematic effects that will catch many by surprise because of its authenticity.”
Typhoon 360 deploys an array of dramatic visual and special effects that include six hurricane fans, extreme temperature changes, strobe lights, and heavy-duty transducers that allows the audience to feel the vibration as the ship breaks apart around them via 360-degree circle vision.
“The Maritime Museum and Typhoon 360 round out the portfolio of attractions at Resorts World Sentosa, creating a unique world class cultural icon in Singapore, ” said Dina Benadon, Super 78 principal and CEO.
Typhoon 360 plunges museum-goers into the 9th century tale of the final voyage of a merchant vessel which is lost at sea while transporting an ornate chalice, a wedding gift from the Chinese Emperor to the Sultanate of Oman.
The story begins as the captain of the vessel agrees to the mission despite the trepidation of his crew and sets out as the captain establishes his own son as the ship’s first mate. The voyage proceeds calmly until the ship encounters an intense night storm.
Despite efforts to steer clear of the squall, the crew and the audience soon find themselves in the middle of a fierce south pacific typhoon. The ship journeys on, valiantly attempting to avoid a labyrinth of rocky formations as it’s constantly buffeted by waves.
Eventually, the ship’s luck runs out as it hits a mountainous rock head-on. The silence that follows is broken by the cries of Father and Son. Their cries dissipate as their fates part ways and the captain’s son is washed overboard and climbs to the safety on one of the rocks. As the ship and crew begin to descend into the depths, so does the audience. The screen around the audience expands until everyone finally comes to rest on the sea floor. Completely submerged, guests get a stunning look at a series of real and projected undersea formations.
From above, the chalice slowly cascades by, and comes to rest on one of the rocky formations in the theater. As the music swells one final time, a group of majestic jellyfish ascend from the bottom screen toward the surface, as if they are the risen spirits of the ship’s crew.
Over the course of the 10-minute experience, the audience sinks a total of 40 feet as the film area expands in concert with the drop almost doubling the size of the screens and filling their field of vision. At the conclusion, the audience is transported back to present day as the theater doors open to reveal the aquarium section of the museum, complete with a model of the ship they sailed on during the Typhoon 360 experience.
Super 78 is no stranger to the immersion attractions, having produced larger-than-life projects for beloved theme parks around the world, including Busch Gardens, Sea World and Universal Studios. However, the major aspect that sets the Typhoon 360 experience apart from most other attractions is the aggregation of a live action, 360-degree screen, and real-time special effects.
Working with Super 78 on the Typhoon 360 project was Ralph Appelbaum Associates, one of the largest museum design and planning firms in the world and the designer for the MEMA.
“Working with our partners — Sunray Woodcraft Construction, Resorts World Sentosa, Ralph Appelbaum & Associates, and design and architectural consultants DPC and DPA of Singapore – we were able to navigate various cultures, communication styles, geographical locations, and a tight schedule to deliver a cultural attraction that is both compelling, immersive and educational – and in so doing, fulfilling the overarching objectives of the Maritime Experiential Museum and Aquarium, ” said Michael Palmieri, executive producer for Super 78.
The museum overlooks the Resorts World Sentosa waterfront and features an experience that covers maritime talks, children’s workshops and exploration on life-size replica historical ships.