Las Vegas is one of my favorite cities in the world. It has developed from a seedy gambling town to a world-class destination and is often neck-and-neck with Orlando in terms of annual visitors. The catalyst for all of this new growth was when the Mirage Resort and Casino opened under the leadership of Steve Wynn in November of 1989.
An initial investment of $630 million made it the most expensive casino ever built at the time. The rooms were top of the line and even the window frame’s coloring comes from real flakes of gold dust mixed into the paint.
The true icon for The Mirage is the nightly erupting volcano show that happens every hour on the Las Vegas strip after sun down. These free spectacles have become iconic in Las Vegas and many of the mega resorts have their own free show, from sinking pirate ships to dancing fountains, you could spend an entire evening enjoying the free entertainment of the Las Vegas Strip and never spend a dime.
The Entertainment Design Corporation helped create several free Vegas spectaculars, including the Freemont Street Experience. They also designed a giant robotic dragon show in the lagoon of the Excalibur Hotel, in addition to the Fall of Atlantis show in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. So when Resorts World Sentosa wanted to create their own unique entertainment for visitors in Singapore, EDC was called to create all new experiences for their resort and casino guests. For example, The Lake of Dreams (seen above) is a focal point in the resort where the show combines the elements of water, lights and even a fire-breathing dragon.
EDC was also commissioned to create an area called the Hall of Treasures. This area is a transition where guests enter the casino and take an escalator into the shops below. As guests ride, projections are displayed on screens and LED archways. The entire area is surrounded by mirrors to give an infinity effect. An original score plays as you are surrounded by images of earth, air, fire and water which give travelers a calming sense that they are entering a unique environment. It’s more than just an escalator – this ride is a small attraction unto itself.
By far, the most impressive part of Resorts World Sentosa is the Crane Show located outside the resort in the lagoon. From the beginning, Resorts World wanted their own free show to draw visitors into the hotel, but they wanted something bigger and even grander than what is found in Las Vegas. Jeremy Railton of EDC, was commissioned to create a spectacle using construction cranes that could be synchronized to do a show in the water behind the hotel every night.
Jeremy started studying pictures of actual industrial cranes and tried to think of a way to turn them into a show. If you are a fan of construction, you know that a crane is an impressive beast that can soar high into the air and can move some huge pieces of steal from one place to another, but as a show? It’s not exactly jaw dropping excitement, and more importantly, it’s tough to have audience members draw an emotional attachment to construction equipment.
Then the idea struck him when he started thinking about Asian Red Crown Cranes and the idea for the show started taking on new life. This particular species of bird is amongst some of the rarest in the world. Most importantly, in Asian culture, they are a symbol of luck, longevity and fidelity – qualities very important to gamblers. Depictions of the crane have been found in Shang Dynasty tombs and Zhou Dynasty ceremonial bronzeware. Cranes became the perfect vehicle for Jeremy’s show, but transferring the movement of a bird into a giant robot was going to be no easy task.
Inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places. Jeremy’s desk lamp had some of the basic functions of not only bird cranes, but construction cranes as well. He started taking them and posing them in various positions to get an idea of functions the final animated figure could perform. After taking dozens of desk lamp photos in different poses, he decided that he could make these figures dance with each other, sort of like a mating ritual.
The next step in the process was to create storyboards for how these two love birds will interact. Using his desk lamps as a guide, Jeremy mapped out roughly ten minutes worth of show where the birds would meet, do a mating dance and ultimately fall in love.
Design companies will often pitch multiple concepts and story ideas to a potential client and whichever one they like best will get built. In the case of the crane show in Sentosa Resort World, this was the only pitch EDC gave for their lagoon show.The executives immediately fell in love with the concept, no other pitch was needed.
So how do you go about building the largest robotic figures in the world? What were some of the design challenges in creating a show of this scale that has never been attempted before? Come back next time and we will take a look at the massive construction that took place as we examine the process to create one of the most amazing spectacles ever created on Earth. In the meanwhile, take a moment to like our Facebook Page to be notified of all the latest updates here at Theme Park University.