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Since graduating from the University of Toronto Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design in 1994, Sywa Sung has been on the ride of his life. The cinephile turned architect turned experiential designer has been creating themed attractions and environments, everywhere from Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur, where he served as creative director for the 20th Century Fox World theme park set to open later this year. We caught up with him before a business trip to Orlando.

Sywa Sung

What kind of a packer are you?
I’m a folder. But I tend to overpack, so I’ll scrunch if there’s any extra room.

How did you get into this field?
I wanted to design in ways that you don’t get to as a traditional architect. One day, I was reading about Star Trek: The Experience, a new attraction in Las Vegas. A light bulb went off: I realized you needed to draw and design for that kind of attraction – you needed an architect.

What are some of your favourite projects?
I moved to California for the San Francisco Metreon pro­ject. The company licensed work by Maurice Sendak and French illustrator Moebius, so I got to kick-start my ca­reer working with these very prominent gentlemen. And I helped create the mid-century-modern world of the Pixar film The Incredibles. Working with artists like Ted Blackman, who created the very distinctive style of the animated Batman series from the 1990s, was amazing.

Do you have any favourite attractions?
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios is the new benchmark. That level of reality is astounding – it is Diagon Alley, it is Hogsmeade. It deserves every accolade it’s received.



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