16 December 2009

Let natural things take place

When it comes to the authoritative word on the design of Disney’s Animal Kingdom there are plenty of resources that could be argued for, including the Imagineering Field Guide to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and The Making of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. In my mind, however, there is no single document that compares to the fifty-one minute presentation given by Joe Rohde on the park’s tenth anniversary. Today, we’ll focus on one selection from that talk, a passage you’ve seen me reference before, and how it relates to one specific dining establishment, Pizzafari.
“The intrinsic value of nature means that, you know, nature is gonna dominate the whole design, it’s gonna be about natural forms, we’re gonna let natural things take place, we’re going to deliberately make the architecture subordinate to the natural forms, the architecture has to appear to either be celebrating nature itself or it has to appear to be succumbing to nature itself.”

If the above is the guiding principle for all of the structures found throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and there is more than enough evidence to support this idea, then every building falls into one of two categories. Discovery Island, the park’s hub, has a variety of spaces dedicated to the mixture of animals who call this area home. Unlike the other lands of the park, however, Discovery Island does not exist to invoke a specific place or time. Therefore, crumbling edifices and barriers being reclaimed by the natural world must give way to fully formed and well-manicured buildings that support the main shopping and dining venues of the area.For Pizzafari, as well as the other establishments in the area, that means the animal world must be celebrated from the peaks of the roof to the tilework beneath the guests’ feet. While Pizzafari offers up some delicious lunch fare, though its namesake is a bit subpar, the real feast is in the fixtures, murals, and tiles found throughout the restaurant. Each room plays to a different theme, from animals that rely on camouflage to nocturnal creatures, a celebration of the seasons, and even the ever popular insect room, to name just a few. Let’s go ahead and take a look around the various spaces and see just how beautiful celebrating nature can be.


Princess Fee said...

Great article and love the shots. I really enjoy eating at Pizzafari, as the detail that has gone into each room is fantastic!

Catie said...

Thanks for the photos! They are great!