Designing a car is about so much more than designing a car. Not so long ago, Ford’s J Mays told me that he’d urge his designers to talk about anything but cars—movies, music, and travel—to keep them inspired.
WIth that in mind, it makes a lot of sense that Hyundai tapped Universal Everything, a studio known for creating stunning animations for Coldplay and big commercial brands, to create 18 inspiring animations to be played on Hyundai’s campus outside Seoul. These weren’t advertisements to be played at trade shows but internally focused media, to generate new ideas from within.
"Our outside perspective of the company forms fresh ways of looking at their processes, leading to a series of abstract films, with only subtle hints of automotive and construction details," Universal Everything’s Matt Pyke tells me. "The abstract, logo-less approach was taken to ensure every viewer found their own interpretations."
The collection of "video sculptures" is an incredibly diverse play on several tactile materials. It ranges from riffing on the human figure in motion (with bright lights and color)—which is a bit of a Universal Everything trademark at this point—to intense liquid particle effects, to a choir of plasticky geometric aliens, to, yes, even a car being carved from a solid block by wind.
The clips play in a continuous loop at Hyundai’s Vision Hall, welcoming engineers, scientists, and various workers to entertain the abstract. I imagine that the 82-foot-wide screen, displaying a whopping 16K resolution accompanied by 36-channel surround, must be every bit as immersive as sitting in the front row of a movie theater (but displaying an image that’s extraordinarily sharper in the process).
All of that said, I’m curious as to how Universal Everything’s abstract animations—displays that might make more sense at a rock concert or a modern art museum—have struck such a chord with big corporations. It wasn’t until I heard the studio’s goal, "to give digital forms a heart," that the artistic-corporate synergy made sense.
"By bringing life and a human presence to abstract materials, you create a deeper empathic connection with the viewer," Pyke explains. "This emotional approach to data, products, and communications sits well with brands looking for a personal, life affirming connection to their audiences."