Jonas Hegi and Julien Simshäuser’s London-based creative studio Builders Club specialises in visual storytelling “from music videos, branded content and TV commercials to interactive VR experiences and everything in between”. In 2016 the duo released a “documentary” about “artist” Robert Rushkin – and revealed the big secret behind it at Nicer Tuesdays. Their latest creation is triumphant in slicker-than-slick motion graphics for NikeLab’s collaboration with Riccardo Tisci which sees the Italian designer bringing his signature polished glamour to sportswear.
“For the kickoff, Nike sent us some photographs of the clothes and some information around the overall concept of the collection by Riccardo Tisci,” the duo explain. Although they had no direct contact with Riccardo, Nike gave Builders Club a deck of quotes about the collection. “His idea is that people turn into Demigods by wearing his high fashion basketball collection – which we found interesting and edgy enough,” they say.
“We were asked to develop a creative motion concept based upon this and then create animations that follow the concept,” Builder’s Club continues. “The outcome should be used offline in Nike Stores and events and online for blogs and such. Initially, we bounced a few ideas back and forth with Nike’s commissioning art director. It was great as he gave us a clear idea of what works for Nike while leaving us with more than enough freedom in terms of what we can come up with in the end.”
Builder’s Club got the go-ahead from the brand on the film concept, and next, “our team of animators at Builder’s Club created a series of graphic motion pieces based around everything interesting that can happen before, during and after a basketball game. We approached this with an art-school inspired eye that allows a lot of experimentation. Every animation was a new visual experiment taking place within the boundaries of the agreed direction. This is how we love to approach 3D animation – in a way that one could have never filmed it because it’s impossible in reality – nonetheless it looks photoreal. Creating technically advanced high-end images but then being really playful, artistic and personal at the same time creates the magic for us. Also approaching images with a strong sense for graphic composition, light and material is very important. A basketball, playcourt or face turned out to be a really beautiful thing to examine this way.”
Approaching the collaboration not as a linear narrative but instead as a sequence of visual experiments, allowed Builders Club “to constantly experiment and search for new ways of visual expression” which, in turn lead to some unexpected results. “Some mistakes in animation turned out to be quite beautiful and graphic because we embraced experimentation. In the end, we also worked with some 3D scans of the products which we could take apart as much as we want – making use of our experimental approach.”
And did they receive any feedback from the elusive Riccardo Tisci? “Surprisingly, Riccardo reached out to us via Instagram after we posted some snippets of the completed project – saying he liked the work we did. Mission accomplished.”