Flower man points out science behind Disney fantasy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 September, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 September, 2003, 12:00am

The $27b theme park will have blooms to match its every mood

Using a bird of paradise flower like a chalkboard pointer, landscape designer Paul Comstock yesterday told how the moonscape of the Hong Kong Disneyland site would be transformed into an otherworld of 'fantasy, adventure and tomorrow'.

'We want our guests to feel like they have entered a magical fairytale kingdom in an entirely different world,' he said.

'If there is one word to describe Disney it is 'story'. We want to create an environment filled with thrills, fun and adventure.'

Sporting a mop of curly blonde hair, fingers festooned in chunky silver jewellery, a bright Hawaiian shirt and infectious enthusiasm, he said Disney would build a dream-like environment of jungles and rivers, castles and fantasy themes - and even display the hybridised vegetation of a futuristic world.

Mr Comstock, the creative landscape artist of the $27.2 billion project, said there was a link between storytelling and the landscape.

'Once the guest enters the theme park and resort, the plants, trees and flowers are pivotal in conjuring up a sense of being in a unique environment,' he said.

Adventureland would take guests to the exotic reaches of the jungle.

'Big, bold, textured leaves and flowers with vivid colours such as bright red, shocking pink and yellow are used to create an intensely tropical environment,' he said.

'We will have flowers to greet you every step of the way.'

Mr Comstock paused to pluck a bright yellow flower from a nearby display.

'Just look at those delicious butter yellows, just look at that plant. Isn't that just fantastic? Doesn't it just make you want to eat it right now?' he asked, shaking his head in wonder.

Over in Fantasyland, soft, fine-textured plants with small leaves; pink, rosy red and creamy flowers would conjure up a dream-like environment.

Golden-leafed raintrees would form an overhead canopy with 'ever-golden' foliage to create a storybook atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Tomorrowland poses the challenge of creating 'a landscape of the future'.

'Bizarre species with strange appearances, like the bottle trees from northern Australia and great cannonball trees, will be used to convey the futuristic outlook,' Mr Comstock said. 'Plant materials will be arranged in genetic coding patterns and will be configured to give the impression a secret signal is being sent to outer space.'

He said the aim of the entire park was to make people feel as though they had been transported to another world. 'Our job is to screen out the outside world, all that honking noise and high-rises. And on the inside there will be a unique collection of plants and plant materials that have never been in Hong Kong before and they will grow and flourish and draw people from all over the world.'