2013 Ford Fusion inspired collaboration with MILK studiosPosted 9:02 pm on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 by James Martinez
Have you ever stepped outside, looked at your car and wondered what it took to bring it to life? All the designing, refining, technology and collaboration that go into today’s cars is just staggering. Each car company has teams of designers and it’s not too often that you get to talk to them about their passion, creating an automobile.
Recently, Ford held an event in collaboration with MILK studios. Together they debut a revolutionary collaboration inspired by the concept of fusion. This exhibition of digital and physical galleries, “Wall to Wall: The Fusion Collective” combines fashion, music, photography, film, and technology. All the arts exemplify Ford’s ever evolving design strategy like virtual reality technology, the use of new sustainable materials, and advanced exterior design.
The exhibit not only have art displays, but also some of the people that spend years refining vehicle sketches that later become clay models. On hand they also had a virtual reality mockup of the vehicles interior. And finally, they had the finished product, a 2013 Ford Fusion. I had a chance to talk to some of the people that made this car possible, and to sit in the new vehicle.
The 2013 Fusion is a great looking vehicle with a luxurious feel on the inside. Ford says it wants to “strike an emotional chord with customers,” and to make “high-end products more attainable.” Not only is the Fusion a great car to look at, but to sit in it feels like you’re easily in a 3 series BMW. With the comfortable seats, huge navigation screen with SYNC, and a virtually soundproof cabin. We had speakers the size of the car pumping music like it was a warehouse rave. And with all the doors closed, it sounded like someone had an iPod on from across the room. I could practically whisper in the car and anyone else in the car could hear me clearly.
To bring a car to life or reinvent an existing model takes years; from sketches on the screen that are refined for almost a year before going to the first clay models. Ford then makes a life-size clay model to fine tune the design again. This has been done in some shape or form since the birth of automobile. The part I was interested in was how motion capture and virtual reality came into play. Before a single part is ever cast or molded, a virtual recreation is made, tested by focus groups, and scrutinized from every possible angle. I had a chance to wear VR visor and gloves to take a complete look at the cabin before I stepped into the real vehicle.
I talked to one of the techs at Ford, Marty Mets, who gave me a tour of the machine and the virtual vehicle. The VR machine at first looks like Gran Turismo’s multi-screen setup. All around you could see dozens of cameras pointing at the driver’s seat. Once you put on the VR visor, fitted with mocap points, and gloves to match; you could get a real life view of the car. Ford has used this technology for years, and the rig they had on hand is nothing compared to what they use every day, to vigorously test new vehicles. In testing, they can try different dashboards, equipment, and change placement based on feedback from focus groups. All of this is done years by just loading up a new file, just a loading up a previous checkpoint in a game. Obviously this saves a lot in cost and that savings is passed along to the consumer.
MILK wants to bring artists in different genres to show a fusion of different art. There was a debut of a shot documentary featuring Pharrell Williams and Tyson Toussant from Bionic Yarn. Bionic Yarn produces super-strong fabric made primarily from recycled bottles that are used in brands such as Moncler and Timberland. Similarly, Ford also incorporates sustainable materials. For example, some Ford Fusion models will have almost 39 recycled bottles that make up the seats.
Geremy Gasper, co-founder and creative director of LEGS, MILK’s in-house creative and production company, said, “In curating the show, we found artists that fuse together different creative disciplines in bold and cutting-edge fashions – each constructing their own unique multimedia world. It’s a really diverse group of work, and we’re thrilled to get this caliber of talent and vision under one roof.”
Each of the art projects in the collection demonstrated their form of fusion. “The Birth of Eve” by Nathaniel Brow, used three projectors to give you a sensory overload, as you witnessed the evolution of machine, nature, and finally the birth of the first woman. “Rose” by Matthew Williams, used several fog machines overhead with projected 3D images of digital and natural rose. “Transformative Creation” by Brian DeGraw used a mirrored wall that audience gazed at as odd sounds played. A painter brushed paint over the mirror to reveal the artist being captured from a live feed. “Felony” by item idem, was a collection of discarded car parts, everything from the frame and seats to bumper stickers and air fresheners. All of it came together to create what looked like a food truck from the Fifth Element. Finally, “Muma” by WIFE. This piece used dance and moving images to show a story of transformation. By far I liked this piece the best. The choreography was amazing, the imagery at some points looked like something from Mortal Kombat, with Raiden shocking someone in fatality.
James likes racing games, puzzle games, and building computers. By day he works as a systems administrator, by night he is a writer. He likes to be comical and open to new ideas and technology.