Such Pretty Drones

Time Magazine may just have the most iconic cover of any magazine on the market, and now it can probably also boast the most technically challenging cover shot to create.
Built with 958 drones and a whole heap of advanced mathematics, the final picture ir quite impressive and was taken with....a drone.

Check out the making of the image below to see the technical side of getting 958 drones to form a gigantic magazine cover in the sky.

This is Mudfest

Telling random stories poorly is easy. Telling random stories well is an art form.

There are so many ways to make the story of cars and people plowing through big puddles of mud unwatchable but somehow these filmmakers took a very random story and told it in an incredibly captivating way.

They obviously have an abundance of skill in using their cameras, editing, and audio, but it's the storytelling and narration that make this. Skills.

And yanno... 'Merica.

Fire The Laser (cutter)!
Nagwa Workshop Warehouse421

We are makers.
We love strategy, we love design, we love bringing brands to life, but underpinning all of that is our makers spirit.
It's the part of us that needs to prototype, to test, to get our hands dirty and to move beyond theory to the place where things either work or they don't.

And that means having a space to facilitate that making process, to put theory into practice, to try and fail, and to experiment. Now we have that space - the new Nagwa Workshop at Warehouse421 in Abu Dhabi.
The workshop is an extension of one of our biggest works in progress - Nagwa, a collaborative brand focused on contemporary designs that are inspired by the people, places and stories of the United Arab Emirates. Nagwa is an ongoing project, meaning that the research, discovery, design, creation and making process is as important now as it was before the first line of products was launched at Abu Dhabi Art in 2017.

The space itself currently holds a laser cutter, two 3D printers, a plotter and a dreamland of tools, with more being added all the time. 
There's some firepower, and it is all being put to use for future collaborations and exploration of contemporary Emirati inspired design.

Nagwa Workshop Warehouse421 designing
Nagwa Workshop Warehouse421 concept

One of the key functions of the space beyond prototyping is hosting workshops.
Being able to share the making knowledge with like-minded people, and gather some knowledge ourselves is a huge part of this journey, which is why we launched the Nagwa space with an intense 4 session workshop series exploring our process of taking Nagwa from concept to creation.

Our biggest learning from the workshop? That we need to do more.
The creative landscape of the UAE is sparking right now, institutions like Warehouse421 are helping facilitate a creative movement, and there are so many creators who have solid ideas and the drive to make them happen. Excited face.


If you're in Abu Dhabi pop into Warehouse421 and check out the Nagwa space. There's plenty of room to work (of course there is free wifi), and the prototyping room has some very rad machinery that is free to use (supervised - we don't want anybody shooting their eyes out with lasers). 
See you there.

nagwa Workshop Warehouse421 Prototyping
Nagwa Workshop Warehouse421 hands
Nagwa Workshop Warehouse421 making
Mermaids and Coffee

With the amount of coffee we drink you'd think the backstory of the Starbucks name & logo would be well known, but despite the sea lady staring at us daily, the Starbucks history was a bit of a mystery (good rhyme!).

Enjoy this little tale from Bloomberg of where the name and the logo came from and its evolution over time, and click through to their Youtube channel for a whole lot of other interesting back stories.

The Ancient Roman Subway

Here's a new addition to the list of things that aren't useful but are really awesome. 

Statistics student Sasha Trubetskoy spent a whole lot of time and a huge amount of research skill to create this stylised and historically accurate subway map of the ancient Roman roading system as it appeared in about 125AD.
It's not going to be useful anytime soon but it does give a fascinating insight into how massive and well connected the Roman Empire was. 

You can check out Sasha's full breakdown of his process and some of the creative liberties he had to take RIGHT HERE.

And if you the statistics or research element of all this fascinates you then you can jump right over to the two main resources used to build the map:
Stanford’s ORBIS model
The Pelagios Project

Roman Roads 125AD
36 hours in India
Ahmedebad india

Every so often a project comes along that gives us the opportunity to truly practice the part of Slash we value the most - having impact.

This particular opportunity popped up in Ahmedabad, India and we went from hearing the project founder speak, to having her into the office, to a small crew hopping over to India for 36 hours to see the project for ourselves, and eventually 4 weeks later, to a planning session with IDEO in San Francisco.
Deep breath.

So what's the project in India?
It's a school. 

Sounds pretty standard right? 
It is, until you meet the students, get taken on a tour of the school by 5 year olds, chat to the graduates and realise that there is a whole new way of learning going on here. 

Riverside School India
Riverside School book

The curriculum is the same maths, english science jam that all other schools are based on, but the way it's taught is where this becomes special. The teaching methodology and the school itself is based on the principles of design thinking, meaning that the whole experience of teaching and being taught is focused on how the kids learn, how they interact, how they are empowered, and how they express themselves.

Riverside Jump for Joy
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Riverside property

The opportunity and the chance for impact, is in figuring out how we take this education concept to the world, how we package it, how we position it next to centuries of established educational practice, what it looks like in other cultures, and how it remains a movement led by kids. 
Tackling something as massive as education, realising the impact it will have on the future of schooling and teaching, and being part of the thinking around it all is HUGE, and it's exactly the kind of  challenge we chase.

We've got way more questions than answers at the moment, but that's one of our favourite spaces to be in and this is a journey we're excited to be a part of. 

Riverside graduates 2018
Graduates of 2018 Riverside
How to Make Rooms Grow

It's real life magic ya'll! 

Our first viewing of the Apple HomePod ad was met with some raised eyebrows and appreciative head nods for the concept and the execution, but it was probably all just a good idea made real with post-production effects right?

Not even.

It turns out that very little of the ad was put together in post-production and that crazy dancing and expanding apartment, the stretching colours, and the movement was all practical effects pulled together in a crazy warehouse choreography.

Spike Jonze strikes again.

Seeing an impressive final product is cool, but the magic is always in the creative and making process that brought that final product to life, and every "how'd they do that" moment in the Apple ad is conveniently answered with a "how'd they do that" behind the scenes video.

Bonus section: If you appreciate Spike Jonze then his video blowing up a skate park (and nearlly some skaters) in super slo-mo to one of the best tracks ever recorded is a must see.

We're Doing a Thing!

Want to dive into the creative/making process with us?

We're super excited (and slightly nervous) to be presenting a 4 day workshop on the process of concept to creation, particularly focusing on one of our favorite projects - Nagwa.

The series will be held at Warehouse421 in Abu Dhabi and covers research and strategy, design, prototyping and development, and finally, production and will be about making as much as it will be about listening.

When: March 7th - 10th | 5.30pm - 7.30pm
Where; Warehouse421, Abu Dhabi

For all details and registration click HERE.

This Is Not An Ad For Everyone
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"Rather than delivering a single message to a huge audience, we delivered a huge message to a single person"

We're big fans of The Music Bed, mainly because they've solved the age-old problem of finding amazing music for video production, but now also for flipping mass advertising on its head.

Their hypertargeted advertising campaign, specifically focusing on individuals in advertising firms, is interesting, smart, viral and just plain cool. From the buzz and feedback the campaign has been getting online it is also doing one major thing that was never guaranteed - it's working.

 

See the full Music Bed campaign right HERE

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I Believe I Can Fly

There are two types of paper airplanes:
1. The ones you fold up at home, that you can never get quite symmetrical, and that bank straight into the ground after you throw them.
2. The ones that take a decade to build and are a few hundred levels above anything you've ever made form the model shop.

This video is about the second type.
Welcome to the gold standard of model making.

 

 

You Are Not Your Resume
Where did you go to school?

We love some good insight from Seth Godin and this recent blog post caused some contemplation in our office. 
Have a read and answer the questions for yourself...  

_______

"Where did you go to school?"

An interesting question, perhaps, but irrelevant to a job interview.

The campus you spent four years on thirty years ago makes very little contribution to the job you're going to do. Here's what matters: The way you approach your work.

What have you built? What have you led? How do you make decisions? What's your reserve of emotional labor like? How do you act when no one is looking?

You are not your resume. You are the trail you've left behind, the people you've influenced, the work you've done.

Next Level Harmony

One of the most frustrating things of any creative endeavour is having an amazing idea and then running into the problem of having to articulate that idea to others. Sometimes wrapping words around ideas is difficult, and those ideas can end up being only as good as our ability to explain them. 

Enter musician, composer, genius, and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier as he explains the concept of harmony to 5 different people; a child, a teen, a college student, a professional, and jazz legend Herbie Hancock.

Watching one topic explained on so many different levels is fascinating, and if you get lost in the theory at least you can enjoy the final jam between Collier and Hancock.

The New Way to Play

Gaming is not just about using your thumbs to mash buttons anymore, at least according to Nintendo.
With their latest reveal, they've ridden the production circle all the way back to cardboard and have created a set of construction kits to interact with their digital consoles.

And it looks like SO. MUCH. FUN!

If gaming devices have been accused in the past of numbing minds then this is at the very least a really interesting step to sparking creativity, creation and making, in collaboration with gaming.

We probably need some for the Slash studio...

Nintendo Labo set
Nintendo Labo keyboard
Wandering the Mid-Century
Art Building ASU campus

What's the best thing about having the Slash team spread over different parts of the world? All the interesting things they show us from different parts of the world of course.
One of those very interesting things is the architecture of Arizona State University, a highlight reel of mid-century architecture on a campus sized scale. It's lines, shapes, angles, symmetry and forms that make hearts of design-lovers flutter, and one of our crew is right in amongst it.

Here's ASU through Joana's eyes.

 

Arizona State University is the largest university in the United States, with over 90,000 students over all the campuses. The main campus is located in Tempe, Arizona, and that’s the one that I go to for Environmental Design.
For this blog post, I’ll do a breakdown of what I think to be the coolest parts of the Tempe campus. The main focus will be architecture, but also what influences the environment around the buildings, the flow of students, the sustainable aspects, etc — in the end, they all factor into the design of the buildings themselves. 

My Favorite Thing: The (Lattie F.) Coor Hall:

This was one of the buildings that I’ve had classes in ever since my freshmen year at ASU and it’s probably my favorite. The overall look of the building is concrete foundations, with an elevated ground floor lifted by concrete pillars in which students walk through either to get to the other side of the street, or to take the stairs to the lower floor or the building itself. The upper floors are these transparent-blue windows and I'm not actually sure what's up there… BUT the coolest part is the lower level. It’s mostly smaller classrooms or computer labs, but the open hallways are made of concrete and it’s the ultimate image of raw, clean architecture.

Lattie F Coor Hall ASU Architecture

What the Tempe campus does best in the almost-perfect relationship between mid-century architecture and the surrounding environment, whether it’s Tempe or nature and vegetation. They managed this by having the campus spread over such a large area, leaving enough space for people flow, the buildings themselves and the sustainable aspect, which the university is most known for.
Each building is designed differently, whether it is by a specific architect or not, the architecture varies according to the theme of classes held there. For example, the music buildings are mostly round, and with high ceilings, for better acoustics and enough space for musicians. Most of their exterior is simple, using plain colors and basic geometric features, but their combination overall creates an awesome style that is then integrated into the path from where the building can be accessible. And that is how the campus never goes out of style.

ASU Art Museum at Nelson Fine Arts Center:

The ASU Tempe campus Art Museum was designed by Antione Predock, in 1989. The design quotes from the history of desert architecture to respond to the environment and climate of the site, which is shown in the color palette chosen and the simplicity of the surfaces. He uses a lot of geometry instead of organic shapes, to contrast with the surrounding desert landscape. The materials, although quite basic (cement, brick, steel), are the perfect contrast tool to play with the shadows throughout the space, creating movement throughout the day. 
The museum is hidden on the campus with little signage, so there’s barely anyone around that area which means it stays maintained and preserved without much effort. I found the museum because I got lost in my first week on campus and it’s a pretty cool place to get lost when your major is architecture. I really liked it especially because I went in the middle of the day and the shadows under the passageway towards the museum building itself were strong and created an awesome contrast—and instagram picture. I liked going there the most because of its emptiness, in a campus with thousands of students constantly walking through, it’s nice to find my own little space to breathe and just notice where I am. I actually saw a couple people using their hammocks in the trees around it, so that’s something to try next time (free tip). 
The building is a really good addition to the overall campus architecture, whilst some buildings are over-the-top detailed, others minimal but very modern, and then the museum with classic, timeless simplicity.

the lonely tree ASU architecture
Curves and shadows ASU architecture
Pastel pink ASU architecture
ASU architecture facade lines
ASU architecture palm trees and concrete
circular auditorium Arizona State University
Walls Are Meant For Climbing

"Good luck trying to turn this into an animated short"

That's one of the best lines to ever end a video on, and because the animated short is so good you know that creating it was way more than just luck.
And because the storyteller is a guy who performed one of the most ridiculously impressive feats of human physical and mental activity by climbing a 3000ft mountain face with NO ROPES OR SAFETY GEAR (What!?!), you're also getting a very unique story and perspective. 

So here's a 3-minute lesson and 3-minute animation on climbing stupidly big walls, creativity, overcoming obstacles, risk, and life and death. 

Enjoy.

How The World is Made

Forget Google Maps, GPS and satellites, location tracking, and the fact that we have the whole globe living on our phones and in our pockets. Globe-making isn't the future, but it's a beautiful extension of the past.

From the perspective it brings to the world as a whole, and also the tiny details that go into actually making one world, this video from Mashable on Bellerby & Co Globemakers is special.

We're huge fans of the making process, of using your hands and letting creativity be an analog process as well as a digital one, and there is something magical about handcrafted globes and the work that goes into making them. 

Plus, Head Globemaker is a rad job title.