7 January 2011

ShapeShifter - What Creative Designers Do in Their Spare Time

Sit back, ignore everything else and take in this stunning piece of animation from creative design studio Charlex. Although the vast bulk of their work is in advertising this represents something completed in-house for the sheer joy of it.

Director of Charlex, Alex Weil asked a few of the company's designers to come up with a project of their own - to enable their creativity to have an outlet unburdened by the demands of their usual projects.This allowed the team to experiment and explore, starting with an empty canvas.  The one mandate was that from this emptiness something great had to come.  I think you will probably agree that it did.

The original concept came from Co-Director and Designer Diana Park.  Her inspiration came from the idea of a machine that creates nature - not the other way around.  As a concept this would provide the challenge in terms of both the demands of the animation but also its associated aesthetics.

Yet the disparate ideas that came through had to be connected - continuity being important to the fluidity of the story.  The concept grew from simple shape-shifting to a look inside the spirit and soul of a car.  To bind it all together, Fitzgerald Scot, the successful poet, writer and author was asked to provide the words.  His poem Dreams that accompanies the animation, together with the music composed by Peter Lauridsen brings everything together beautifully.

The biggest challenge was creating a sense of story and continuity to what was initially a string of loosely connected ideas. As the project evolved from a tale of shape-shifting to an epic exploration of the car's spirit and soul, Charlex tapped Fitzgerald Scott, writer, author, poet - who had successfully collaborated with Weil in the past, to pen the powerful prose poem "Dreams" that accompanies the visuals. Together with a stirring musical track composed by Stimmung's Peter Lauridsen, the effect is that of being in a beautiful but disquieting dream.

The narration by Gabriel Byrne gave the whole project its final shape, culminating in the finished product which is testimony to the awesome creativity of the team at Charlex.  It makes me truly jealous that these people get to do this kind of thing in their spare time!  However, not too jealous to just revel in their amazing work.