Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is joined by filmmaking legends Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas in official ceremony that marks another significant milestone in the regional digital entertainment industry
SINGAPORE – January 16, 2014 – Today, the award-winning Sandcrawler building officially opened in a ceremony with the prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, the president of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, and filmmaking legend George Lucas. This state-of-the-art building will be the regional headquarters for Lucasfilm Singapore, The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia), and ESPN Asia Pacific. With this world-class facility and the incredible talent housed within its gleaming glass walls, Lucasfilm Singapore will continue the groundbreaking animation and visual effects work that it is known for, including supporting the upcoming Star Wars movies.
“The opening of the Sandcrawler building signifies Lucasfilm’s ongoing commitment to Singapore,” said Kennedy. “When we first opened our Singapore studio in 2005, the local digital production landscape looked very different. It was relatively small, with a limited talent pool and virtually no visual effects work being done. Through the efforts of the Economic Development Board, the industry has grown rapidly, and Lucasfilm has done its part in helping that effort. By investing in local talent we’ve been able to significantly grow our Singapore studio into a world-class digital production facility. As a part of The Walt Disney Company, we are happy to bring our business segments together under one roof with The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia) and ESPN Asia Pacific also occupying space in the Sandcrawler, furthering our commitment to Singapore and the region.”
Located in the Fusionopolis district of Singapore, the Sandcrawler takes its name from a large vehicle featured in the original Star Wars film. The structure continues Lucas’ tradition of providing signature creative and beautiful workspaces for employees of Lucasfilm, which was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2012.
“This building signifies the possibilities we saw and realized when we initially launched the Singapore unit,” Lucas said. “It’s the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication, and I’m proud to be here for the opening. The building is everything I hoped it would be and I look forward to the day that I can sit in a theater and see all of the amazing work that comes from the artists that work here.”
The event was marked by the unveiling of a bronze statue of the Star Wars character Yoda, which will have its permanent installation in the idyllic stream in the interior public courtyard of the building. The statue of the legendary Jedi Master links this new structure with the other innovative buildings Lucas has built in Northern California, and serves as a landmark.
Joining the prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, Kennedy, and Lucas in the midday ceremony were Leo Yip, chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board, and Robert Gilby, managing director, The Walt Disney Company, Southeast Asia.
Yip said, “Lucasfilm is a key player in our media and digital entertainment industry, having been in Singapore since 2005. The opening of the Sandcrawler represents a further commitment by Lucasfilm to deepening its presence in Singapore, and is a validation of Singapore’s attractiveness as a hub in Asia for the creation of media content. This sector continues to create exciting career opportunities for Singaporeans with industry leaders like Lucasfilm investing heavily in training talented and passionate local artists, and providing them with the opportunities to create high quality content for global audiences.”
Lucasfilm Singapore has grown into a digital entertainment powerhouse within the region, making significant contributions on the 2011 Academy Award-winning animated feature film Rango, and the Emmy-winning television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. In addition, Industrial Light & Magic Singapore has contributed to cutting edge work on a myriad of blockbusters such as the second, third and fourth installments of Pirates of the Caribbean, the Transformers trilogy, Marvel franchises including Iron Man and The Avengers and the new Star Trek films just to mention a few.
The structure, designed by Aedas Architecture, has won an impressive six architectural awards including the prestigious Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award for Best New Global Design. The Sandcrawler has seven floors of office space elevated above a lush public garden. The Yoda bronze statue, sculpted by Lawrence Noble, sits on a boulder-like waterfall that flows into a shallow pool tiled with natural stone. Other Yoda statues grace Lucasfilm’s headquarters in San Francisco and the Big Rock Ranch building in Marin County.
Included in the 22,500 square meters (242,190 square feet) of enclosed office and common space, the Sandcrawler features a 100-seat theater, state-of-the-art digital production capabilities, underground parking, and retail space at street level. The building has a special two-part high-performance glass exterior that in addition to its energy conservation qualities, makes it appear chrome-like, but allows natural daylight into offices without the accompanying heat. At each end of the building, terraces covered with draping plants shade the terraces below.
Lucasfilm Singapore was launched in October 2005 and has worked with schools and other companies in the region to promote the digital entertainment business in the country and the region. The company has also established major technical training programs from the start, connecting local talent with industry veterans at Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic. Lucasfilm Singapore currently has over 360 employees, of which 130 are Singaporean along with other regional countries.