SottoStudios/LA, established in 2004 by Eddie Sotto, former Senior Vice President of Concept Design at Disney Imagineering to practice a new method of design, long before the current “experiential” bandwagon hit the road. Since then, SSLA has been involved creating immersive experiences showcasing the world’s most presitigious brands. Ferrari, Porsche, Aston-Martin, Paramount Pictures, Microsoft, Google, Disney, Universal, Wynn Resorts, Irvine Company and more have allowed us to reimagine and elevate their brand experience. Can we discuss yours?
Experiential marketing based on a physical and emotional interaction is often left in the hands of agencies or architects, yet experiences are more than architecture or slogans and frankly, no matter what they claim, their experience is limited. Immersion is achieved when all the visual and sensory cues align to place you in an alternate reality, but without all the disciples working toward a common emotion, it does not come together. To realize this, there was a need to form a studio that went beyond one discipline, sensing the emotive needs of a project beyond its pure function. To bring all the senses together to a greater result is “Design Sensing.” This extends into how the project is marketed as well. We are truly designers of emotional systems, or as we call them "Systems of Story". Senior Disney "Imagineer" Edward Sotto, saw the need to break down those formal barriers of architecture, marketing, and design by combining them in a single holistic process that delivers seamless, harmonies experiences, thus SottoStudios was formed.
The practice of emotion driven design was something Sotto learned by observing the original Disney artists and set designers that he worked with. As in set design, continuity was the essence of suspending disbelief. In the real world, we have all of our senses to convince, so why stop at the building? Isn't the music, dining utensils, landscape, and aroma just as important? They all tell a story as part of a tuned system because we sense an experience in real time and form a collective emotional reaction. We “score” spaces with each element as an “instrument” in a branded symphony. Sottostudios is comprised of a winning team of specialists that focus on the goal, creating compelling experiences. Places you'd return to. We are a high focus, boutique firm that only take on select assignments.
Our client base is varied and although you see a heavy Disney presence due to our experience, our work strays far from theme parks into many areas, from innovation and marketing, to design sensing and strategy.
Born in Hollywood, Sotto's cinematic style is largely self taught by having motion picture Production Designers and Disney's original artists as his mentors. Theatrical design runs in the family as well, with his grandfather being a scenic and portrait artist at MGM and his Aunt Marilyn Sotto, a Costume Illustrator/Designer at Paramount and Universal, eventually landing with Eddie at Disney to design costumes there. Sotto's obsession with experiential design thrives on creative continuity and detail, be it emotional or architectural, to make each project unique.
Eddie is a Renaissance creative professional and entrepreneur with a proven track record in entertainment design that spans 30 years. Sotto's strength lies both in ideation and team based execution, skills he honed as Senior Vice President of Concept Design at Disney's Imagineering division, where in addition to producing and designing attractions, he ran his own concept development studio. Exporting his skills beyond the mouse, in 1999, Sotto branched into creating for Television, Restaurant, Hotel and UHNW residential interiors, even into spacecraft and private aviation, where the Studio won a recent IYAA award for best concept design.
Listed in the book "Who's really Who. The 1000 most creative people in America".
- TED Founder, Richard Saul Wurman
"Eddie's passion for new ideas and one-of-a-kind Adventures was a creative leader's dream."
- Imagineering President Marty Sklar, - "Dream it! Do it!".
"Wildly imaginative Imagineer."
- Disney CEO Michael Eisner - "Work in Progress"
Sotto's insights led to being "most quoted," with more than 400 separate entries in the encyclopedic Bible of the industry. "Theme Parks and the Art of Themed Entertainment"
Thirteen of his thirty years in entertainment design were spent at Walt Disney Imagineering. Reaching the role of Senior Vice President, Concept Design, Sotto managed to execute a half billion dollars of projects along the way, including Main Street USA at Disneyland Paris, led the early creative development of the Indiana Jones Adventure, and directed the design of Tokyo Disneyland that planned new lands and created attractions including the game changing trackless ride, "Pooh's Hunny Hunt.". Eddie also has the distinction of running his own "think tank" within Disney called the Concept Development Studio. There they “pushed the envelope” by developing smart wireless toys, augmented reality coasters, online worlds, and resort concepts. Back in the 1990s! Other projects Eddie's studio created include the breakthrough “Mission:Space” Attraction for EPCOT Center, the “media as architecture” facade of ABC's Times Square Studios, and the award winning “Encounter” Restaurant at the Los Angeles International Airport.
It's also worth noting that after Sotto quit Imagineering, Disney continues to tap SottoStudios to develop projects in marketing, interactive technology, and resorts. We value the continuing business relationship we have with the Walt Disney Company and Imagineering.
Show Producer, Vice President Executive Designer, Executive Show Director, Senior Vice President Concept Design