A blast from the past: the 1980s supercar that won gold
Flip Ziedses des Plantes discusses how a luminous supercar and UV lights won gold in the non-printed signage category at the 2019 FESPA Awards.
What was the brief/what were you attempting to achieve with the work?
Luxury trainer brand, Filling Pieces commissioned our design studio to create an ‘experience’ for their Paris Fashion Week show. The goal was to create a space in which the visitors could experience the brand’s 1980s-inspired theme of their new shoe collection.
Did anything inspire you?
Yes, we were greatly inspired by various subcultures from the 80s: discos with black lights and TV series such as Miami Vice that featured supercars. We tried to capture the vibe of this decade in the experience space, displaying the sliced Ferrari Testarossa, an 80s design icon.
How long did you have to complete the project?
My design team and I realised this project within a matter of weeks from the concept to production. The project from the first sketch in Amsterdam through design, technical development, production to shipping and build-up of the project in Paris took nine weeks.
What were the benefits of the material choices you made?
In my design studio we made a 3D CAD model of a Ferrari Testarossa and ‘sliced’ the car into pieces. These slices were converted to vector drawings that were used to CNC [computer numerical control] mill black MDF panels that make up the contours of the car. The slices were arranged in a special designed frame. The black MDF was then edged with 12mm UV reflective pink tape. When finally installed and displayed under UV black light the fluorescent form came to life. By constructing the car from slices, we made a sort of construction kit – avoiding shipping and building an entire solid car – and at the same time creating an amazing and surprising visual effect.
Flip Ziedses des Plantes, founder of the eponymous design studio in Amsterdam
What were the key challenges involved in the project?
Upon entering the dark experience room, visitors were surprised by the life-sized Ferrari. Fog, responding to the presence of the visitor, crawled out from below the supercar, making it seem to float on a magenta cloud, while ambient beats strengthened the vibe in the space. This was an amazing experience for the visitors – but for us a challenge to develop and design such an experience that was really convincing and conveyed the message of our client.
How did you overcome these challenges?
By designing and thinking through the experience and (one-day) build-up to the last detail. Of course, you hope your project will be cool and convincing, but you never know in advance how your client and the visitors will respond when they see the project in reality.
Fortunately, the project proved highly successful. The experience room was a hot topic during Paris Fashion Week, was shared numerous times on social media and boosted the brand awareness of Filling Pieces.
How many people were involved in the project?
Approximately 15 people, for concept development, design, production and build-up.
How long did the project take in total?
The project was on display in Paris for just five days during Paris Fashion Week. However, the supercar is now travelling around the world and was recently featured at the trendy ComplexCon event in Los Angeles.
How has the award changed things for you?
We’re always happy when we win awards! It’s a PR boost for your company and a confirmation for your client that they’re working with a great design studio.
What projects are forthcoming for the studio?
We’re working on various interesting projects at the moment. We just completed a fashion store interior for a famous hip hop group that launched a clothing brand.
How were you nominated for the award?
By entering a great project. FESPA invited us to enter because another project of our design studio was nominated for the Sign+ Awards.
What would you say to people thinking about entering the awards this year?
Just enter your project: nothing ventured, nothing gained!
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