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With Batuu being a totally unique location in the Star Wars galaxy, Disney imagineers and Lucasfilm designers had a fair amount of free reign on how to lay out the look of Galaxy’s Edge, while still adding familiar elements seen across the whole of the Star Wars galaxy.  Disney Parks blog catch up with Zsolt Hormay, creative executive at Walt Disney Imagineering to discuss the design and build of Batuu.

For the rockwork creation (more than 200,000 square feet of rockwork), how big was your team and how long were you all working on this?

Between the two coasts we had about 110 people working on the finishes including field art directors and artisans. I personally have been working on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in both California and Florida since the very first 1:100 inch scale model was produced about five years ago. Most of my team joined the project about two years ago when the field installation began.

What are the steps in creating rockwork (from the model to the finished paint on the rockwork)?

We start the dimensional design process on a small-scale (1:100 inch) model to define the layout of the land. Once that is agreed upon, we further develop the design on the next scale (1:50 inch) model that helps us to define further details and elements. The final steps of the design happen on the 1:25 inch scale model where we finalize the textures and color composition that help us to capture the final scope and the final creative intent including artificial foliage. Once the design is complete, we scan the model and create a digital mesh file that is used to drive a computer that bends the metal bars for the underlying structure.

Once we have all the challenging textures/finishes sampled, we start the full-scale installation of individual pieces (which acts almost like a 3D puzzle), then add the initial coat of cement, and ultimately our artisans hand sculpt the final cement and apply the finishing layers of paint.