It may be my former life as a hack but there’s something about the word “biggest” that always piques my interest. That said, ambition only gets you so far and you can’t sacrifice skill or style in a headlong rush for scale. With Universal Everything though, you needn’t worry. On Friday the studio created its largest projection to date, lighting up the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House with hand-drawn animations from 22 of the world’s best creatives. Every year the landmark commissions an artist to work on its curves and Matt Pyke and his team jumped at the chance to take on an opportunity that “epitomises everything we strive for.”
Universal Everything gave the image-makers a keyword as a prompt (e.g. grow, bounce, climb) and tasked them with creating 30-second long cell animations, using a black background as the canvas. The idea was to create a living mural – drawing on inspirations ranging from Roman engravings to modern street art – and the choice to work with hand-drawn animations helped differentiate from some of the super high-tech projections that have graced the famous sails in the past.
“Our analogue animation process reveals a human soul in the drawings – something we hope the audience can relate to,” Matt continues.
“We’ve achieved a playful response to the curved geometry of the building. Our collaboration with today’s cell animators brings a new aesthetic, informed by popular culture – including manga, scientific simulations, psychedelia and modernist graphics.
“This visual interaction within the architecture suggests both activity of the interior, and the physicality of the exterior. Some chapters are a riot of colour, reaching every corner; some are quieter, subtler explorations, evolving organically.”
It took four months to produce and involved animation studios from the USA to New Zealand, Russia to Argentina. Seeing it play out on the opera house was a big moment for the team but Matt hopes it brought to mind something much more personal for those who saw it – namely the “flick book animations in the corners of their school books.”
- “I always thought Photoshop was a glorified MS paint”: James Lacey on his journey into design
- “If I am flagging on a shoot, she directs me”: Matthew Stone on working with FKA Twigs
- French illustrator Nicolas Ridou makes “the atmosphere the story” in his hypnotic works
- A routine, good music and Charlie Bones: Sean Bate on his graphic design inspirations
- In The Boys, Rick Schatzberg photographs his group in their 66th year of friendship
- Moroccan heritage and western cues collide in photographer Mous Lambrabat’s portfolio
- “All you see is lazy photography everywhere”: Martin Parr discusses his career, Brexit and obsession
- The work of Xiangyu Liu is weird and fantastically unpredictable (some NSFW)
- Caterina Bianchini Studio designs a dog-themed identity for a conveyer belt cheese restaurant
- Ikea invites people to “try on” Virgil Abloh furniture collection at LFW
- Hans Findling on his experimental and multidisciplinary approach to design
- Introducing the It’s Nice That Graduates of 2019!