Responses by Josselin Bey, Stefano Gemmellaro and Jean-Christophe Henry, cofounders, Doki.
Background: The purpose of this project was to make content for the gallery Place des Arts, a permanent installation composed of 35 screens in downtown Montréal. We were asked to make a project that would target kids when they come back from vacation, something playful and mesmerizing. Oftentimes, public installations are directed at adults and feature a more “serious tone”—let’s not forget that kids are your audience, too! Having the opportunity to deviate from that seriousness and make something for all ages of spectators was incredible.
Design thinking: At heart, we are kids too. So, we decided to represent motion design through contraptions: toys that illustrate the different aspects and physics of animation. We wondered how we would represent gravity, squashing and stretching, overshoot, and angular velocity, among other aspects.
We carefully chose the colors so they would attract the eyes and give a certain warmth to the gallery. The gradients imbued a softness to what you see, almost like eating a gummy bear with your eyes.
Challenges: The sheer size of the installation. The canvas is really big. So, creating a lot of different animations that fit together and were coherent with our concept was pretty demanding. Working on the visuals was a challenge to find the right balance of luminance and contrast in accordance with the space.
Favorite details: The look and feel, the detailed animation, the variations, and the translation of the physics were not only fun to do but made us very proud. Passing through this corridor in the heart of Montréal and still seeing people taking pictures of the visuals is always very rewarding.
Specific project demands: The fact that we had carte blanche really made the project easier. It let our imagination run free to create this beautiful art piece. Not being constrained by a tight brief or a third party is quite liberating. It’s in those moments where you can see how your craft and technique have progressed over the years.
Because of the canvas’s complexity, we really had to think about how to optimize this project—how to make it fast but beautiful, simple but complex at the same time.
New lessons: Besides reinstating the famous adage “less is more,” something that happens on every project is our learning about each other and how we can get more and more on the same page. We think the secret to success is the ability to rely on each other and, above all, to laugh together, to be open to each other’s criticism and to complement each other’s strengths.