STUDIO AKA has just completed a short film commissioned by Graphic Thought Facility for the Danish textile company Kvadrat. The brief was to bring to life an upcoming installation created by Doshi Levien at the Kvadrat showroom in Stockholm, the concept of which is a wonderful collection of larger-than-life abstract forms that are all upholstered in a variety of Kvadrat wool fabrics. These forms were inspired from the avant-garde parties and architectural theatre costumes from early Bauhaus. The objects display an irreverent, playful and bold combination of fabrics that you would associate with costume and theatre.
With construction of the upholstered shapes underway, GTF asked AKA to look at the composition of the work as a whole – and the possibilities of how the individual pieces might be given life to move or dance around within a defined space. With all that in mind, AKA Director Philip Hunt chose to focus on the simple themes of shape & form, colour & texture - and created a short abstracted piece which simply documents the shapes as living creatures – each given locomotion by the possibilities and restrictions inherent in its own physical form. The movements that resulted are indicative of the shape of the models i.e. cones twist & tubes bounce etc. and Hunt was further inspired by the idea of objects 'finding their own way' both despite & because of their own physical properties & limitations.
For AKA it was all about finding the movement in each of the objects and not ascribing too artificial a character to the shapes, instead allowing that each can only use its own inertia and mass momentum to get around. The sequence is choreographed to introduce us first to a single 'organism' suspended in a low gravity environment, and we see it 'swimming' it's way through a spatial void using the only physical means at its disposal. In another scene we watch two characters negotiate their way around each other by means of shifts & spins in their own body mass. We gradually introduce larger groupings of characters and become 'lost' in a myriad of individual trajectories all working in harmony… The film reaches a conclusion as we see all of the creatures gathered in a group formation that continues to evolve and develop until one by one the pieces disappear back into the ether.
The film is given gentle & thoughtful momentum with the addition of a paired back piano score from composer David Kamp who created a seemingly formal, austere repeating cycle of notes and allowed them to gently cascade & tumble throughout the sequence before reaching an elegant conclusion. The result is a piece which feels timeless in its modernity.
The entire film was brought to life in Softimage XSI and composited in Adobe After Effects. The subtle complexities of textures and patterns in the fabrics covering each of the shapes, created a very render heavy pipeline and the final simplicity of the spot belies the density of composited render lays required to accurately reflect the real objects on which the creatures are based.
The film will launch prior to the opening of The Wool Parade installation at the Kvadrat showroom in Stockholm in February. The installation will then tour around other Kvadrat showrooms during the year.
Source: STUDIO AKA