This week during the IAAPA Expo Orlando, the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced the recipients of its annual Thea awards. Quake Lisbon Earthquake Center was awarded with a Thea award in the category “Outstanding Achievement – Historical Experience, Limited Budget”. After several dark ride awards, this is the first THEA Award Jora Vision has received for a tourist attraction.
The brand new Quake Experience tells the story of a dramatic earthquake which struck Lisbon over 265 years ago, on November 1, 1755, destroying most of its buildings and streets, as well as causing a tsunami and several devastating fires. This event is still considered as one of the most intense earthquakes of modern times, having repercussions all over the world, still visible and relevant today.
Quake is housed in a new building, built in the Belém area in Lisbon, where it joins other great Lisbon museums and tourist attractions, like the Museu dos Coches, MAAT and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos. Jora Vision was responsible for the full design development and turn-key production realization.
Experience & Visitor Journey
Robin van der Want, Project Development Director at Jora Vision explains: “The 1.800 m2 experience features a 90-min immersive walk-through experience. Divided into nine timed and show-controlled scenes, visitors will be immersed in an educational, but most of all story driven spectacle. The whole journey will be brought to life using: projection mapping, integrated media screens, interactive exhibits, special effects (smoke, scents), immersive show lighting, highly themed environments and simulator effects, all wrapped up in a beautiful custom composed soundtrack.”
Quake challenges visitors to unlock the knowledge about the 1755 earthquake. Visitors of the experience step back two centuries in time to re-live the event. They are guided in groups through the different scenes. Starting in an abandoned laboratory, they are introduced to the Professor. The visitors are challenged to travel back in time, to find important missing documents and bring them back. However, such a trip has risks. Visitors are trained for what they are going to re-live and need, at the same time, to find a way to return to the present. Not to spoil too much, visitors time travel, walk through the streets of the lost city, re-visit the horrors and wonders and watch the drama unfold around them. They get the opportunity to meet the heroes and villains from that time and experience being at the heart of the earthquake itself, eventually leading to a major political, scientific and historical transformation.
Back in 2017, when first approached by Turcultur – Turismo e Cultura de Portugal, a company based in Lisbon, Jora Vision started on the conceptual design development, followed by the schematic and detailed design.
As Marco Ruzza, Creative Director at Jora Vision recalls: “designing Quake was certainly an interesting creative challenge. On one hand the project needed to be educationally relevant, to justify and enhance the quality of the experience. Therefore the Quake guidelines needed to be historically and scientifically accurate, as well as respectful. But on the other hand, we really wanted to deviate from a ‘traditional’ museum execution, so creating a true story-driven journey around the actual events was crucial for us. The difference being that the experience really needed to bring visitors along for a plot – a beginning, middle, and end. Through these experiences, visitors needed to leave the experience having played a role on an emotional level. This whole process has been an elaborate undertaking consulting with many scientific and historical local academic experts, part of the client team. But at the end we found the sweet spot between the seriousness of the topic with the entertainment and fun factor. We now love to see visitors being absorbed in this extraordinary event, having fun but also learn to understand how Lisbon was so affected in 1755.”
Quake is in many ways a unique tourist experience.
- Instead of hitting visitors with facts and figures, the custom designed storyline combines and connects all historical, scientific and cultural aspects to each other, resulting into a true visitor adventure;
- Quake seamlessly blends historical, scientific and cultural correctness with the best learnings and modern show techniques found in the entertainment industry;
- The set-up is unique mixing scenes with active & passive participation, ride and show scenes;
- The physical environment, custom soundtrack and video media is highly accurate, having used traditional instruments and live actors;
- The environment is highly themed to the level of historical and scientific correctness. Even down to the custom designed simulator church benches;
- Trough the RFID wristbands, visitors can continue to explore this extraordinary event even more when they get home.
Jan Maarten de Raad, CEO at Jora Vision concludes: “We love unique and meaningful (cultural) stories, and are excited to harness our design and production skills to bring these stories to life in ways that break the traditional barrier. We are confident “Quake” is a spectacular example of this, as shown by this recognition!”
The realization of Quake would not have been possible without Jora Vision’s trusted partners: Painting with Light, Mr. Beam Studio, Kraftwerk Living Technologies and InFact Global.