SoundMachines… Wow!

WOW! This is really pretty bad ass. Great design, innovative User Interface design, simple, effective, easy to use.

SoundMachines An instrument for performing electronic music is the brainchild of  Agency Vok Dams, in Hamburg for Volkswagen. Designed and developed by Yannick Labbé, Matt Karau
, and Andreas Schmelas, SoundMachines is a series of digital turntables that use light to translate concentric visual patterns into control signals for further processing in any music software.

If that last sentence makes you say “What?”, just watch the video.

The SoundMachines premiered on the Volkswagen New Beetle stand at the IAA motor show in late Summer 2011. In cooperation with the sounddesigner/producer Yannick Labbé of TRICKSKI fame, Vok Dams developed three unique discs, each controlling one track of an Ableton Live Set exclusively made for this specific event. The entire show was supported by a set of realtime generated visuals, running on a 80 foot wide LED wall.


Porsche Designed Highrise Has a Car Elevator That Takes You and Your Car Home.

Porsche over the last couple of decades, has managed to develop their design division into an industrial design powerhouse producing everything from eyeglasses, to pens, to highrise condos. That’s right highrise condominiums. What I am talking about here is a new building that is going up in Sunny Isles Beach Florida.

What really caught my eye was the car elevator that is being installed in the 57 million dollar building. The elevator is similar to the one at the Volkswagen flagship building in Germany, and like that elevator, this one will transport cars all the way to the top of the structure. Unlike the VW one, this elevator is designed to carry the car and its occupants directly to their condo. This seems so cool, and so unnerving at the same time.

This is Volkswagens 20 story parking garage in Germany. The Porsche condos will be similar.

The $560 million tower is part of a collaboration between Germany-based Porsche Design Group and a Florida developer, Gil Dezer. It will be the world’s first condominium complex with elevators that will take residents directly to their units while they are sitting in their cars.

Here’s how it works. The resident pulls in and switches off their engine, a robotic arm that is sort of like an automatic plank will extend and load the car into the elevator.The elevator lifts car and passengers to the designated floor, and condo location. Then the same robotic arm will park the car, leaving the resident nearly in front of their front door. The glass elevators will give residents and their guests unparalleled views of the city or of the ocean during their high-speed ride, which lasts 45 to 90 seconds depending on the floor your condo is on.

The 57 story building site will occupy 2.2 acres of land, and house 132 units ranging from 3,800 to 9,500 square feet. The smaller units will get two parking spaces, larger ones up to four. The cost of the units run from 4 to 9 million depending on size.

“What this is really doing is taking two technologies that have existed for centuries and putting them together,”  “It’s taking the robotic arm and it’s putting it in an elevator.” Gil Dezer, president of Dezer Properties.

“You don’t have to leave your car until you are in front of your apartment,” Juergen Gessler, CEO of Porsche Design Group.

“Fanwagen”. Build a Socially Networked Classic VW.

Volkswagen in conjunction with Facebook Netherlands has launched a rather interesting social campaign that gets fans to vote on which classic VW they would like to see again. The iconic T1 van, or the classic beetle.

The campaign is called “Fanwagen” and each person that votes is entered into a contest where the winner receives a one of a kind VW that is built with a plethora of social networking features and finished in Facebook blue and white. The car or van features things like the “Feed-O-Matic” which prints out the latest feeds and status from the dashboard, a license plate holder that updates your relationship status, a built in GPS unit with a friend finder feature so you can locate all your Facebook friends as you tool about Europe in your Fanwagen.

The Facebook page is in Dutch but it is worth checking out. The central ad is really well designed, and this is one of the best examples of Facebook marketing I have seen in a while. I would do this in a heart beat, but I have a feeling the contest is limited to people in Europe only.

VW’s BlueMotion Roulette.

When advertising something that is fairly abstract like fuel economy, coming up with a memorable concept can be a bit tricky. What I mean by that is, we all know what fuel economy means, but associating it with an actual statistic; and doing it in a way that attracts attention can be a challenge.

To advertise VW’s “BlueMotion” technology a physical and social media campaign for Norway was developed around a BlueMotion automobile. Over the course of a single trip from Oslo, 50,000 online followers tracked the vehicle, and bet on when it would run out of fuel.The person that bet right won the car. The campaign was used one TV commercial to advertise the contest, and the rest spread virally.

Nice Job VW.

Eos Shadow Poster.

This is such a simple idea, but it is really brilliant. DDB Berlin, created a simple structure that is placed horizontally above a busy pedestrian traffic area. When the sun is shining, the sign displays a simple call to action, “Perfect day for a test drive.” This simple ad, was able to generate a 12% increase in test drives of the VW Eos in almost every location it was placed at. Those numbers show the effectiveness of this simple concept.

Achtung! VW’s LinkedIn Challenge.

Last year LinkedIn launched it’s developer network with a new LinkedIn API. I haven’t really seen any advertisers take advantage of the API yet, the same way that they have with other social networking platforms like Facebook. Recently though Achtung developed a new LinkedIn based campaign for the 2011 Volkswagen Passat in the Netherlands. The campaign is based on the idea that the new Passat is as full of features, as your LinkedIn profile is full of information.

The campaign is called “LinkedUit” (LinkedOut) and gives anyone who challenges a friend on LinkedIn to the competition a chance to win a brand new Volkswagen Passat. The objective is simple, all you have to do is have the strongest LinkedIn profile in Holland. Once you connect with the site here, it challenges a chosen connection on education, experience, recommendations and connections to award the LinkedIn victor, and the LinkedOut loser.

There are a couple of things that benefit everyone involved in the game. In order to win the participants  need to be more involved with LinkedIn and beef up their profiles. Which stimulates LinkedIn usage, and that is a plus for them. At the same time Volkswagen gains access to a large database of potential customers on a world wide scale, a plus for VW. Playing off of the competitive nature of most people VW and LinkedIn have created a simple viral game that encourages participation that benefits all parties involved.

I’m curious to see how many people actually take that first step and challenge a coworker. I am also curious to see how many of the people that lose, go back and try to beef up the profiles to win a challenge in the future. With buy in and support from LinkedIn, getting these kinds of numbers at the end of the campaign would be easy, and it would make for a great case study on the effectiveness of LinkedIn’s API, and the power of this kind of advertising.

Design Friday. BP’s Immersive Online Gaming Experience.

Over the last year there has been this huge debate about HTML 5 vs Flash. I’m not going to get into a debate, or start some rant about which is better or why people should realize that HTML 5 and Flash can work together for an even better user experience. OK I’m starting to rant. Enough of that, and on to what I really wanted to post about, which is the solid gaming design and beautiful interactive design execution for BP’s Ultimate Ride 2 website.

HelloComputer has created an online interactive game for BP South Africa that lets you design and build your own custom Volkswagen GTI. The game is built with Flash and takes advantage of some of the latest Flash technology to create a highly interactive 3D gaming experience with hooks to social media channels.

Ultimately the game functions as a brand extension for BP, creating brand buzz and associating the oil giant with something fun and cool. The multi-player online game lets you modify and customize your virtual GTI, race against others online, and judge others car designs as well. As you play the game, you develop street cred which translates into virtual cash letting you buy more items or your car. As your car gets judged by others and as you win more races you continue to get more virtual cash so you can build and customize more cars. This applies to sharing your results with Facebook and Twitter as well. The game has an addictive hook and sets up a viral loop that helps sell the site, and extend its reach with the target audience.

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If you have some time go to the Ultimate Ride site and check it out. By the way, did I mention that the game was built using Flash? Oh I did, didn’t I. Yes this game was built using Flash, and while you might have been able to build it using HTML5, I can’t even imagine the difficulty, or what the end result would be like. I hate to say it Flash naysayers but I don’t think it would have been as fluid or as polished as it is if you had built it with HTML 5 alone.