How Disney is encouraging creativity

How Disney is encouraging creativity

The CityU team that won a Disney local design competition shares its journey of bringing imagination to life

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(From left) Sally Tsoi, Albert Cheung, Roxanne Dai and Cecile Kam, with their winning design.
Photo: City University of Hong Kong

Every year there is a buzzworthy event among the Disney circle and university students – the ImagiNations Design Competition. Originating in the United States, the competition has been held in Hong Kong for five years and has been welcomed by students of architecture, design and engineering. We entered this competition last summer. It was an enlightening experience for us all.

The theme of the project is different each year. This time, the challenge was to propose concepts for a new indoor or outdoor space at City University for students, faculties and visitors.

As students from CityU’s School of Creative Media, we are encouraged to engage in interdisciplinary collaborations. So we invited a friend from the Department of Electronic Engineering to join our team, and developed the ideas that became our winning proposal: Monster City University – Draboland.

As we wanted to highlight our university’s features in the proposal, we explored our campus for some inspiration. During our research, we encountered the bronze statue of Pixiu (a Chinese mythical creature) and Bo (a Chinese musical instrument), and decided that they would represent our university. We based our character and outdoor space design on Pixiu and Bo, applying Chinese art to the design.

The story is what matters to Disney. Like them, we learned to care about the story because our goal was to immerse the guests in our space in a more appealing way. Our story starts in Monster City University, where creativity can be used to generate power. The university has its own deity, Drabo, whose role is to collect creative ideas from people.

All is well until there is a power outage on campus due to a decline in creativity. So Drabo creates a space called Draboland where everyone can release their imagination. Whenever someone draws something there, the energy is saved in a bell, for which we made a prototype. Each time enough energy has been saved, it will light up every corner of the campus and showcase people’s work. Everyone on campus can view this spectacular show , and find inspiration from others’ work.

We were successful not only because of our ingenuity, but also thanks to the support from our university. The technicians provided us with 3D printing technology so that we could have an actual model to present in the competition.

We hope that by promoting the idea of being creative, we can bring more happiness to the world.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

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