Designing events is an art: meeting with Thierry Magne

Thierry Magne tells stories by designing unique immersive universes. With over 25 years of experience, he is a world-class event designer who knows how to take ownership of the Disney® Parks world and transform more neutral spaces. Meeting with one of the conductors who gives the measure of our events.

Can you explain your job?

THIERRY MAGNE: I’ve been an event designer at Disney Business Solutions since the beginning. In each of them, we tell stories: I imagine them from the initial brief, then create the concept and surround myself with the right people (directors, choreographers, musicians, conductors, etc.). I’m a bit of a conductor myself, because I coordinate all of these professions to ensure consistency in the history and the final realization.  From the moment I have the creative idea, my job is also to know how to convince people, to take them with me. When I see the stars in my eyes, it’s a done deal! It’s my favorite part of my job.

How did you get started?

T.M.: I started doing events as a producer. In 1992, I worked on the opening of Disneyland® Paris and then produced La Belle et la Bête. In 2002, I directed the production of all the festivities related to the tenth anniversary of Disneyland® Park where we organized 17 events in two days!  After this experience, I decided to renew myself and move on to the creative side: so I became event designer.

How do you work to imagine an original concept?

T.M: I think about it almost 24 hours a day: I even put a notebook next to my bed to be able to write down ideas if they come to me during the night! Everything can give me an idea: listening to the radio, watching television, going to an exhibition. One of our strengths is that we have an endless supply of stories to tell, thanks to the universes of our parks and hotels. But we can also design events that offer radically different worlds, while being hosted at Disneyland® Paris.  This was the case for Electroland: we went to Ibiza to be inspired by the world of clubbing, but we thought that we should then «disney-iser» in a way.

At the origin Walt Disney has always been a pioneer in the field of graphic arts, visual creation or sound: I think if he were still alive his films would be accompanied by electro music!

What are the special features of Disney Business Solutions events?

T.M: Disneyland Paris is a unique destination in Europe: both in terms of universes, attractions and technical possibilities. We are fortunate to have assets that we can transform. For Electroland, for example, our real differentiator was the ability to video-project on The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror™, which is 55 meters high, and to accompany the Djs with Vjing (video projections in rhythm with music). It is the dimension of the scenography that made the event exceptional, I think that even the Djs, who are shooting all over the world, had never seen a projection of this magnitude.  On the other hand, we have a real technical striking force: our graphic teams, our light teams, our show teams are powerful enough to enable us to turn the Sleeping Beauty Castle into a Christmas tree for an evening if we so wish.

What kind of challenge do you encounter in organizing events of this magnitude?

T.M: Our biggest challenge is to realize these achievements in the parks that welcome visitors every day. For example for Electroland, from the time we closed, we had an hour to transform Walt Disney Studios® Park. In terms of rehearsals, they take place in the evening at park closure or at night. And we must integrate into the park environment all the technical elements necessary for the performance so as not to distort it.

What was the most ambitious event you were able to take part in?

MT: My biggest memory is the 2008 inauguration of The Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror™. We decided to tell the story of this prestigious hotel in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Tower Hotel, which later became the Tower of Terror. We had done a giant mapping that was the world’s first mapping event in a Disney park. It marked the people who even asked to see this show again, in 2018, for the ten years of the event!  Second, I must acknowledge that the November 2017 Service Award event is one of my greatest memories. We had invited a symphony orchestra with singers and dancers for a little more than an hour of show, the evening was superb.

What are you feeling right now?

T.M: I dream of collaborating with an Italian designer named Edoardo Tresoldi. He makes sculpture in mesh. When it illuminates its structures one feels that it is 3D or a hologram, it is sublime!