Christmas footfall and furloughed designers: a community comes together

  • Furloughed attractions industry professionals have teamed up with a business district
  • Their aim? To attract more footfall in the run-up to the festive season
  • Mutual support between independent retail business and creative freelancers

Mention Orlando, FL, and what comes to mind? Disney World, of course, Universal Studios, the now-controversial SeaWorld – Orlando is a global destination for immersive theme parks and big-budget staged experiences. They’re the pride of the city. Though these may be open during the Covid pandemic – albeit with security measures in place – their design teams have been subject to lay-offs and furlough. Not wanting to leave them hanging, a retail district in the city has offered them the project of designing a Christmas attraction to increase holiday season footfall – all with Covid safety measures in mind.

Creative Slice Network, a group of attractions industry professionals, are working to bring a series of installations to Curry Ford West Main Street. Their theme is “Picture Perfect Holidays” and the concept is a series of interactive holiday vignettes: one is entitled Feliz Navidad, another is Hawaiian-themed and called Mele Kalikimaka. They are all outdoors and offer the stage sets for tongue-in-cheek family photos and selfies with friends, at a time when so many will be separated from their families for the holiday season and unable to travel.

  • A little levity goes a long way: with a good sense of humour and a little laugh, designers can arouse positive emotions in their users – much-needed at the moment
  • Instagram architecture combines with community outreach
  • Today’s consumers are increasingly thinking about businesses as holistically ethical, asking themselves: how many positive impacts will my presence/purchase make on an area/supplier/myself? Supporting small businesses and the out of work creatives who make our city great? Two birds, one stone.

There is a community-minded element in Curry Ford’s placing the designers centre stage in this whole project: visitors to the street can feel they’re supporting home-grown talent of people whose line of work remains quite limited to them at this tricky time. It’s a sentiment perfectly in line with the holiday season, too!