Disneyland Paris enters Marvel universe with Avengers theme

Super heroes characters perform during the opening show at Disneyland Paris, west of Paris, Saturday, June 8, 2018. (AP)
Updated 10 June 2018
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Disneyland Paris enters Marvel universe with Avengers theme

  • A $2.5 billion park expansion will feature Marvel superheroes

CHESSY/FRANCE: Helicopters, concept cars and SWAT teams shrouded in smoke heralded the launch of the first Avengers-themed season at Disneyland Paris following the announcement of plans for a $2.5 billion park expansion that will feature Marvel superheroes.
Movie and sports stars, including French Olympians Teddy Riner and Camille Lacourt, attended an official opening Saturday night for the season that brings the Disneyland resorts a step closer to merging its traditional cast of characters with the Marvel universe.
It follows similar moves in Hong Kong Disneyland as well as in the Disney California Adventure.
“We are delighted to have the Avengers assemble in Disneyland Paris for the first time ever,” Euro Disney President Catherine Powell said. “They’re here to delight thrill and surprise you with incredible action and amazing special effects.”
Actors glided down ropes from a hovering helicopter before Spiderman, the Hulk, Ironman, Thor, Captain America and other Marvel characters took the stage for several shows.
“It’s really spectacular,” said “The Beach” actress Virginie Ledoyen, who watched the action.
Behind the special effects and celebrity guests were hard-negotiated business plans.
The Paris park’s expansion into Marvel terrain was unveiled earlier this year following a meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and Disney Chairman Robert Iger.
Disney Group said the makeover of Walt Disney Studios Park, one of the two theme parks that make up Disneyland Paris, will be rolled out in phases beginning in 2020. It includes three new areas based on Marvel superheroes as well as the Frozen and Star Wars franchises.
The Hotel New York will be redesigned to resemble the architecture and decor favored by Tony Stark, aka Ironman.
Analysts see the plans as a major area of investment that will aim to drive long-term growth for Disney, which acquired Marvel in 2009.
“The massive Marvel collaboration and $2 billion plus investment speaks to Disney’s positive view for the future of this all-important European asset as it further drives mindshare among consumers,” GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives said in an interview.
“While Disneyland Paris has seen its shares of speed bumps from an attendance perspective post-recession and Paris attacks, its appears to be on a healthy trajectory,” he added.


Opening the door to Middle Eastern designers at Dubai Design Week

Updated 49 min 11 sec ago
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Opening the door to Middle Eastern designers at Dubai Design Week

  • This year, five pavilions from Amman, Beirut, Dubai, the Eastern Provinces of KSA and Kuwait City are showing off
  • The Abwab exhibit is just one thought-provoking, Instagram-worthy part of Dubai Design Week

DUBAI: Named after the Arabic word for “doors,” Abwab is an annual exhibition at Dubai Design Week, a creative fair that runs until Nov. 17.

This year, five pavilions from Amman, Beirut, Dubai, the Eastern Provinces of KSA and Kuwait City are showing off their artistic innovations in Dubai Design District, where the event is based.

Two designers were invited from each place to collaborate and produce works related to the theme “Between the Lines.”

The creations are housed in five pavilions at the heart of Dubai Design District, made up of red twigs and newspaper pulp and designed by the firm Architecture + Other Things.

Visitors crowded around the pavilions at the opening of the fair on Tuesday and explored the five spaces with their unique, sometimes perplexing, offerings.

Amman‘s pavilion at the Abwab exhibit is called “Duwar,” roundabout in Arabic, and is described as a representation of the cycle between chaos and order. The exhibit is a walk-through piece featuring moving images on boards suspended from the low ceiling of the circular space. Visitors are encouraged to walk through the dark circular corridor and take in the constantly flashing imagery above them in the piece that was created by multidisciplinary designer Hashem Joucka and architect Basel Naouri.

Beirut’s contribution to the Abwab exhibit is called “Beirut Fillers” and features a series of suspended words in a constructed sensorial environment, complete with audio recordings of the words “euhhh,” “halla2,” “enno” and “fa,” all of which are linguistic fillers commonly heard in Beiruti conversation.  

For its part, the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia is showcasing a fascinating piece of work called “The Sound of the East Coast” that pays homage to the tradition of pearl diving in the area with shaking, jelly-like bowls. The installation even features audio recordings of the traditional song “El Yamal,” often chanted to keep the divers motivated.

While Kuwait City’s offering, called “Desert Cast,” uses locally sourced materials and production methods to explore the idea of identity in the country, Dubai’s piece at the exhibit is called “Thulathi: Threefold” and is marked by a protruding triangular section that breaks the natural form of the rounded pavilion. Each corner of the triangle opens slightly through apertures, revealing video projections and silhouette cutouts.

The Abwab exhibit is just one thought-provoking, Instagram-worthy part of Dubai Design Week, an event that boasts workshops, exhibits and a trade fair.