Former President of Walt Disney Imagineering joins Gensler

Bob Weis joins as Global Immersive Experience Design Leader to help global innovation design team focus on KSA and UAE culture and entertainment projects

Gensler, the global architecture, design, and planning firm, has announced the appointment of the former President of Walt Disney Imagineering, Bob Weis, has joined the firm as Global Immersive Experience Design Leader.

In a statement, the firm said that as part of his new role, Weis will collaborate with Gensler’s global leadership platform to envision and bring to life unique experiences for clients across a variety of industries where the firm is immersed – from entertainment, lifestyle, hospitality, retail, sports, mixed-use and cultural institutions to wellness and workplace.

As countries emerge from the global pandemic, demand is greater than ever for engaging, immersive experiences and more meaningful human connections, the company said. As such, Weis’ experience in pioneering large-scale ground-breaking and story-driven experiences will further expand the firm’s ability to drive design innovation. 

It will also offer transformative value to the firm’s more than 4,000 global clients as they look for opportunities to bring people together in new and exciting ways, the statement added.

“We are thrilled that Bob is joining our global innovation design team. A creative design force, his leadership and expertise in entertainment design will enhance the ways people interact with and thrive in the spaces and experiences we create around the world,” said Gensler Co-CEO Andy Cohen

“Now more than ever, design has the power to shape how we experience life. Bob is joining us just as we emerge from the pandemic as people are craving compelling, visceral experiences in the places where they live, work, and play.”

Augmenting Existing Offerings

For Gensler Middle East, Weis’s appointment provides the opportunity to augment its existing offering to its culture and entertainment clients, with a particular focus on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

KSA has rapidly secured its position as a hub for cultural events, art exhibitions and movie theatres, while historically the UAE has been the largest investor in the entertainment and leisure space, the firm said.

Tim Martin, Managing Director of Gensler Middle East, added: “Recently the UAE Government announced its plans to attract 40 million tourists to the country, every year, by 2040 with an investment of Dh100 billion ($27bn) to further diversify the country’s economy. The countries in the GCC region will likely sharpen their focus in developing leisure tourism facilities to attract more visitors, so for the region, this announcement is perfectly timed. With Bob onboard, we are going to add another dimension of innovation to our design services, which will help us deepen our relationships with our existing clients and develop our offering to prospects.”

During his time at Disney, Weis led more than 200 major projects around the world with a capital value of more than $30 billion. From the US to Shanghai, Tokyo to Paris, Weis’ design and innovation imprint has been indelibly left on theme parks, attractions and rides, resorts, and cruise ships. 

He has also consulted with major clients including the Smithsonian, National Geographic, NASA, and the United States Navy, among others. Weis has received numerous industry accolades and awards and remains closely connected to his Disney roots.

“At Disney, we often collaborated with Gensler, and I was able to see first-hand its culture of design innovation that transforms the quality of life in our world,” said Weis. 

“This is what visionary companies are seeking, and what we all are yearning for as we interact with the world around us. Gensler’s commitment to leading the future of design is perfectly aligned with my passion for developing unique, immersive experiences with a diversity of creative voices,” he concluded.

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