Pico Play welcomes Hadi Salahat as project director for the Middle East

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Pico Play, a global leader in the planning, design, development and construction of world-class themed attractions and entertainment, has appointed Hadi Salahat as its first project director for the Middle East.

Salahat joined Pico Play in April. He has vast experience in elite theming projects in the region, such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, The Green Planet Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s Center of Curiosity Museum.

Supporting Saudi’s Vision 2030

Pico Play Hadi Salahat and Darren McLean
Hadi Salahat and Darren McLean

This appointment sets the stage for the firm’s accelerated growth in the region, according to Darren McLean, Pico Play executive director.

He says: “With his impressive background in the region and extensive experience in theming projects – including theme parks, high-rises, hotels, and residential projects – Hadi is set to lead us to new heights in creating immersive and engaging fun experiences.”

Salahat says that Pico Play supports Saudi’s Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s programme of economic reform and diversification.

He explains: “We’re looking for people interested in working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia because themed attractions and entertainment is a booming industry here so it’s a really exciting time for theming and attraction specials who are aligned with this Vision.”

“Pico Play is working on some of the first big attraction projects in the Kingdom so we’re one of the first companies to show our capabilities in this field and set a benchmark.

“The work we are doing is special and will be signature projects for every employee, something they can put on their CVs and say proudly, ‘I worked on that’.”

Pico Play has been awarded numerous contracts to design, fabricate, and fit out themed attractions in entertainment destinations across the Kingdom, Salahat shares. The details are yet to be announced.  

The firm’s recent projects include developing and building sets for an attraction at the upcoming Six Flags Qiddiya theme park.  

Riyadh fabrication facility

In addition to Pico Play’s expansion at its head office, the firm is also recruiting for its new fabrication facility in Riyadh. The 4000-square-metre facility is set to open by September 2024 and is the company’s third fabrication site worldwide.

Over 150 employees, including artists, carvers, painters, general labourers, specialised tradespeople, and project managers, will work on themed entertainment and attraction projects throughout the Kingdom.

McLean says: “Our new Riyadh development will complement our existing fabrication facilities in Malaysia and Vietnam and help us quickly and efficiently deliver a full range of end-to-end fabrication services for our projects in the Kingdom.

“From this new base, we can offer services including steel fabrication, CNC milling, scenic painting, signage and graphics, sculpting, staging and assembly of the completed themed fabrication.”

Pico Play Hadi Salahat and team

Salahat recently visited both sites and praised Pico Play’s workflow procedures as well as the professionalism and efficiency of the team.

He comments: “In particular, Vietnam’s L-shaped facility layout and the quality of the artistry impressed me. From the first step to the end step, the fabrication process progressed seamlessly; no time was wasted. This way of working is a new process for the Middle East as most fabrication is done in situ on work sites.

“I can see Pico Play’s new Riyadh facility streamlining the fabrication process and providing a very high-quality product and excellent end-to-end service for our Middle East projects.”

McLean adds: “Saudi Arabia is undoubtedly the biggest growth market for the attraction industry globally; there is nowhere else in the world that has so much attraction development underway. There is a sense of excitement and energy in the Kingdom and we are delivering outstanding results and driving innovation in the attractions industry.”

Earlier this year, Pico Play announced that it is collaborating with Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment and Village Roadshow to recreate The Wizard of Oz in a theme park for the first time.