By Colin Hastings
Concept i - an international design studio specializing in high profile retail/commercial, leisure and entertainment projects - won the contract to master plan and design the development last year. The site will include Europe’s tallest observation wheel dubbed ‘Whey Aye’, a phonetic rendition of the phrase ‘why aye’ in the local Geordie dialect meaning ‘yes, of course’.
Principal and MD of Concept i is Geoff Morrison, originally from Canada, who founded the company in 1996. With offices in Bangkok and Shanghai, Concept i has worked on over 150 projects in 19 countries. Geoff is clearly extremely pleased by his company’s latest success. “We are very proud to play such an important role in this huge development in Newcastle,” he said from his busy offices in Convent Road.
“It’s a wonderful project that will inspire people, create local jobs and boost the regional economy. The project touches a personal nerve – having studied and worked in the UK for almost 10 years, I was proud to take a lead role in such an innovative development from so far away. It’s a real testament to our Bangkok team that we win and take a lead position on this international design stage. It doesn’t get better than that.”
Other facilities include The Giant Sport Warehouse, comprising the newest active play, climbing and trampoline facilities, e-sports complex and a Quayside Golf Club, where golfers can compete internationally in virtual cyber space, at over 300 famous courses worldwide. The roof terrace is dedicated to competition footsal, tennis and basketball courts.
The Wheel ‘Terminus’, a five-story high entrance complex, immerses visitors in stories of Newcastle’s past, present and future as they move up to the Wheel launch deck. Following the Wheel sky voyage, visitors return to earth via a 20 m speed slide tower, or gently float down a suspended, gravity ‘roll glider’ track!
The company’s senior architect for the Giants on the Quayside is Francesc Domingo, a Spanish national and long-term resident of Bangkok. “All the buildings have been designed so visitors can ‘Feel the Wheel’ from wherever they happen to be,” explained Francesc.