Most of us think of 3D software being used to create special effects for movies and television, or for things like product design and architecture. It’s always nice when you see someone using it to create art. Chris Labrooy is a designer and artist that is doing just that. After graduating from the Royal College of Art with a masters in product design, he began moving beyond using 3D software as a visualization tool. Labrooy saw an opportunity to use his tool set as an artistic creative medium, where he could take everyday objects and push them into new sculptural forms. Case in point his series “Auto Aerobics” where he has taken 1970’s era American heavy metal and turned it into something completely new and different.
This afternoon my friend Tim and I spent a few hours at the Art of the Car Concours on the grounds of the Kansas City Art Institute. The annual event is a scholarship fund raiser for the school, and over the last seven years has grown into a world class automotive event. The two of us spent a hot humid summer afternoon, walking through 100 or so vehicles taking photos, admiring the design styling, engineering, and distinction of the cars shown. At one point both of us commented on how each car, each brand, had unique looks that set it apart from it’s contemporaries.
Both of us remarked that in todays world, most people can’t tell a Nissan from a Honda, from a Volkswagen, from a Chevy, from a Hyundai, from a Kia, from a Ford (although Ford is arguably ahead of the curve in distinctive styling). Aside from a few marquee brands, or higher end autos, most look the same, and no one making a car for the masses puts the attention to detail in things like badging any more. Looking at a 49 Ford coupe, and 66 Covair it made me long for the days when each car brand looked distinct, and the exterior styling was as important as the creature comforts like iPhone connectivity that we lust after today.
Below is a sampling of some of the photos that I took today. Realistically some of these shots are for cars that would cost a small fortune in todays dollars. None the less, the attention to detail, the quality of materials, the small things, are what made these cars part of the golden age of automobile design. Personally I wish the big three, Ford, Chrysler, and Chevy would step up to the plate and bring this kind of styling back. Raise the bar, set a new standard based on vintage design styling that was in many ways simply better. No I don’t want the old school technology. What I want is a car that looks as cool as these, with all the comforts my 2013 model offers me today.
I’m currently on location in Santa Barbara filming and such, but while taking a break I thought I’d post this interesting video from BMW. This isn’t new, the event actually happened last November. I missed it when it dropped on YouTube and my friend Paul happened to show it to me today. This is a great use of video, and technology to promote a product that won’t even arrive for another 12 months.
For auto enthusiast Petrolicious is a website that you really need to bookmark. For those of us that love classic cars, and well made short films, Petrolicious Vimeo channel is a must. The five minute short below, is an incredible story of an Italian man’s 1939 Peugeot, his restoration of it, and a discovery that changes everything. The short film is a great story, complimented by nice editing, cinematography, and post work. If you get a chance, watch the other wonderful short films on Vimeo here.
I want this app for the good old US of A. Why? Not because parking is an issue so much (even though there are plenty of jackwagons here that have no clue how to park their gas guzzling planet killing SUV’s and giant trucks). I want an app like this for all the other things I see like “Lets exit the freeway from the far left lane”, or “Yellow doesn’t mean get ready to stop, it means stomp on the gas and run that light”, or “I don’t need to stay in my lane while I’m texting and driving”. It would appear that this app had some effect on Russian drivers. Perhaps a similar app would have an effect on driving in America. Here is a quick fact for you. Less than 40% of American drivers use their turn signal, and it jumps to more than 60% when changing lanes. Yes we need an app like this.
The app was developed by the Russian newspaper “The Village”, and it works by using image recognition to identify the car, and social media like Facebook to shame the bad driver. All of this happens in real-time, and is proximity limited so you don’t end up spamming your Facebook friends in far away places. The image recognition component reads the plate number to find the driver,then allows you to shame them across banners and media placements on popular websites in Russia. What a great example of how user created content is integrated into paid online media locations in real time.I really love the fact that the way you remove the annoying popup is to share the offender via social networking. It is a viral loop with hooks to the newspaper, and it is creating positive social action at the same time.
With Father’s Day right around the corner, Volkswagen UK has released a new TV spot for the Polo. There is no dialog used through out the spot, but the story telling and emotional connection is there. More importantly, the actual product is hardly noticeable until the very end of the spot.
The car is featured through out, but done so in a very subtle way, pushing the focus onto the relationship between the father and daughter. The really nice tie in here is how VW manages to make the connection between the father figure, the daughter, the car and the brand with the two lines of copy at the end. “Stay in safe hands”, and “Polo, small but tough”.
“Our new TV ad for the Volkswagen Polo shows the evolving relationship of a protective father and his daughter, from the moment he first brings her home from the hospital to the day she finally leaves home, when he hands her the keys to a shiny new Polo — ensuring she “stays in safe hands”.
Keeping with the automobile theme for Friday, I thought I would post this video from Depth of Speed. The film is a beautifully shot short documentary about “Pin Striping” artist Andy Kawahara. This is a great story, and the film has a really nice look to it. Even if you aren’t into cars, or car culture, this is worth watching. Additional videos from Depth of Speed can be found here.