The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way we work and as with any change, it brought good and bad. However something became clearer than ever - even though the world is globally connected through technology, conversations are still human and it is people who make great things happen.
We decided we want to help you know us better, so we are launching a series of interviews with Our People - Walltopia’s core team members. We start with something we perceive as a key advantage of Walltopia - design.
Meet Pencho, Walltopia’s Head of Design & Architecture in the Active Entertainment devision.
1. Active Entertainment is a relatively new trend in the leisure industry but one that will stay for long. Can you share your guiding principles when designing an Active Entertainment center?
It starts with being clear on the mission of Active Entertainment - to get us moving through good fun and safe adventure. That will be the starting point of any project. Then we have to design the user experience, to analyze the business case, ensure maximum safety and get creative on the overall look that should be equally creative and functional.
The more we know about the project, the better - target demographics, desired capacity, type of operation, people flow, etc. We look at what we do as building businesses and that is why the context plays a great role in the design process.
2. What prevails in the projects you’ve worked on - the similarities or the differences?
You can’t achieve greatness with a copy-paste approach. So, just like in traditional architectural design, we treat every project as unique and put the needed time and resources to make it stand out from the rest. What we do replicate though is core principles of space distribution, people flow, safety measures, we’ve seen they work over time and contribute to a project’s success.
3. Is there a recipe for a successful Active Entertainment center? A starting base that’s a must for all projects?
Well-thought business model, clear focus, strong attention to details. The more a client has thought through his or her business endeavor, the easier it is for us to give life to that vision. Then of course, location is a crucial success factor and is no surprise it usually takes more time to find a good location than to secure a project’s funding. Last, there’s a thin balance between fun, adventurous, safe and … beautiful structure :) A great project does not compromise on those.
4. Walltopia’s design & architecture team is located in Sofia, where the company’s headquarters are, whereas all your projects are spread globally. Is that a challenge for the team?
It could have been 15 years ago but since we have all that technology to work and meet remotely, it is not. Our team is used to working around the clock and we always try to find the most convenient time for a client. We travel often to location - to get a better understanding of the surrounding or to take the measures we need. Many clients are curious about the production process, so they also come to visit us, go on a tour in the factory, and meet our team. So, although we are situated in Bulgaria, I can say our communication is a mix of what a project will need and we are super flexible and fast in reacting to any needs throughout a project.
5. Last, do you have a favorite project? Or more? :)
We take pride in all our work but I personally remember mostly the difficult ones. Those that put us through many challenges along the way but then you look back and say “It was worth it!” Such projects are Angry Birds Adventure Hub in Festival City, Doha Qatar, the Space Adventure Hub in Lavina Mall, Kiev, Ukraine, The Rainforest Adventure Hub in Oxigeno Mall, Costa Rica. I am also very happy with Playtopia Adventure Hub, Pachuca, Mexico.
We are now working on the biggest Adventure Hub in the world that is coming up next year in China and I am sure that it will go straight to the list :)
About Pencho Penchev
Pencho joined Walltopia back in 2014 as a senior architect with more than 10+ years of experience in leading construction & architecture companies. He quickly grasped the Walltopia’s know-how and believed in the future of Active Entertainment. That led to his promotion to Head of Walltopia’s Design & Architecture in the Active Entertainment devision in late 2016.