Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Conversations with China: design firm Leigh & Orange

InPark spoke with David Stanford, Principal Director of Leigh & Orange. Founded in Hong Kong in 1874, Leigh & Orange is a large, well – established, international architectural design practice offering high quality design and project management services, to major local & overseas clients on a wide range of building types, in both public and private sectors.

Ocean Park
Ocean Park

1. What theme park projects have you worked on?

Among other projects, we are proud to have been involved with Ocean Park in Hong Kong since its inception in the 1970s and we have recently completed the Headland expansion with its three lands. Therefore it was very pleasing to learn at the end of last year that Ocean Park has become the first theme park in Asia to be awarded the coveted ‘Applause Award’ by its peers. We have also enjoyed our involvement since its inception with the only other theme park in Hong Kong associated with a premier international operator – including the just completed three land expansion that has been very well received by our client and guests alike.

2. What challenges are there in designing for theme parks in Asia?

As Leigh & Orange was established in Asia almost 140 years ago, we don’t find designing here to be especially challenging! As with all design we must always keep all stakeholders – whether guests, cast or management – happy and engaged with storylines and attractions that are compelling to them. The interesting thing is getting the combination of international expertise and local relevance just right for each park and every attraction that we work on.

Ocean Park
Ocean Park

3. What companies have you partnered with for project management for theme park projects?

For the parks that we have worked on to date, the project management role has been taken either by the client or by Leigh & Orange – and this has worked very successfully.

4. Are there unique concerns you have to think about with designing for Asian theme park projects?

As we have only worked on theme parks in Asia, our main concern is to try to do a good job for all our clients. After that, it is all about working well with people…and creating attractions that make everyone happy.

5. Where do you think the largest future projects will be located?

There seem to be three main growth areas in the coming years – with India and China fuelled by very large and rapidly expanding domestic markets that are able to afford a family day out at the park and some countries in the Gulf area of the Middle East more interested in rapidly increasing their desirability as tourist destinations.

Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki
Martin Palicki owns and publishes InPark Magazine. Started in 2004, InPark Magazine provides owners and operators the perspective from "in"side the "park." Martin has also written for publications like Sound & Communications, Lighting & Sound America, Attractions Management and others. Martin has been featured in Time Magazine, and Folio. Martin lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

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