Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Auberge de Cendrillon (Cinderella Restaurant)

As if being the art director and lead designer for the three dark rides at Disneyland park, Paris, weren’t enough somehow more work kept heading my way. Don’t get me wrong – I truly enjoy designing. I’m willing to take on as much as I can and the extras were truly wonderful. But it seemed that every extra in the land headed my way – and I never said, “No”.

One of those extras included some very fun work for the Cinderella restaurant. Wall décor had been planned including murals and tapestries. The interior designer had provided the space without any consideration for storytelling or what that art might be. By the time I saw the space the plan had been set. I had to work within the parameters set out.

I analyzed the layout to determine the guests flow and find the best way to tell the story spread around several rooms. As I recall, the restaurant had a somewhat formal entry, one room that was more rustic and one room that was more elegant. Not every guest would be in every room. How does one tell the story without a clear path?

I decided that the entry needed a simple introduction to the story. A tapestry was planned for this area so I created the scene depicted here. The film's opening sequence inspired the tapestry and it shows both the castle and the chateau. An early sequence in the film also includes the heavy-set mouse Gus, finding his way into the chateau and Cinderella’s good graces. Jaq is one of the lead mice and he quickly befriends Gus and shows him how to get along in the new environment.

All of these elements could be easily woven into a tapestry to provide a nice introduction to the story, even for guests that would never venture further into the restaurant. In fact, even the copy is appropriate for the beginning. The text is from the French version of the film and it reads:

“Once upon a time in a faraway land there was a tiny Kingdom, peaceful, prosperous and rich in romance and tradition.”

Although I created the original line art, and art directed the piece, the painting is the work of the incomparable Julie Svendsen.

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