Dystopian Utopia vehicle design: Research

My task this afternoon was to research dystopian themes and art styles in preparation for designing a dystopian service vehicle.

The first thing I looked into was brutalism in architecture. This is where the building is made with heavy emphasis on the raw materials and structure. Big things to look out for with brutalist architecture is rough unfinished surfaces, unusual shapes, heavy looking materials, massive forms, and small windows in relation to the rest of the building. These buildings characteristically are usually made of concrete and glass, normally have a considerable amount of weathering, and look pretty dismal. I really like this style of architecture for dystopian concept art, because it is naturally greyscale, and I think this plus neon signs looks great for downtown dystopian cities. For vehicle design, I think making maybe a bus, tram, or train that is grey, and very angular, with small glass windows could well reflect the brutalist architecture.

Then I looked at the movie Elysium. From what I could gather from the advert, the movie is about people being seperated into two different communities, the rich living on this Utopian spaceship floating above Earth, and everyone else living in poverty and suffering on Earth, which has fallen into dystopian ruin. The buildings on Earth have fallen into ruin, and are literally falling apart in disrepair. People seem to live in slums in wastelands, and everyone has to fight for what they can. There are vehicles in Elysuim, and these vehicles are small flying ships that seem like the equivalent of cars in this movie. They are small and compact, and are grey with yellow stripes, with a look that makes them look like they might be made of scrap metal. I like the scrap metal feel of all of the things in Elysium, and I think that if I was to inspire a service vehicle with this, I would probably make a hovering police car, which can float around to different levels in the air, because these ships look like they are made of scrap metal, and the yellow stripe reminds me of a police car or an ambulance car.

The next place I decided to look was towards Tron. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the movies, but the original arcade game was cool, however for the sake of this research I am specifically looking at the movie Tron Legacy. The light cycle itself is made of smooth shiny black metal, and really bright light shines through the sides and back. They leave a track of light behind them as well, which is dangerous and can cut through and destroy things. In the movie, the characters activate the light cycles in the arena, as a test to see who is the victor and can escape, and when the light cycles themselves activate first with a small capsule pipe object. The person jumps and pulls the pipe open, which then transforms into a light cycle beneath them so that they land it. I think that this particular feature could be interesting for a service vehicle, because it  would be really convenient for say a police officer to be able to summon a motor bike out of nowhere if they needed to chase down a criminal. The appearance of the light cycles is also interesting to me, because they give off a safety vibe to me, for example maybe you could rent service roller skates that have that light trail behind to keep you safe as you skate, except the light trail isn’t able to cut things apart.

My next inspiration is actually a real life example, as I next looked into the Japanese trains. The bullet train has a really smooth and pointed look, which makes it more aerodynamic, and in turn travel faster. I would like to make some designs of trains for this project, and I think I will definitely take inspiration from the bullet train’s appearance because firstly, I really like the way it looks, and secondly it is the future as we know it, and I think that the trend is likely to catch on in real life, so a dystopian train that reflects this design would be more believable based on what we know about trains these days. Another feature of Japanese trains that I looked into are the magnetic trains that people are designing. Scientists in Japan have been exploring the use of magnetic levitation to make trains that can travel along magnetic tracks, which in theory should completely eliminate the need for fuel. This is supposed to be something that will actually be in use in the coming years, and I think that I’d like to make some concept art for trains that is inspired by this, because firstly it’s an obscure idea that not many artists have touched on, and secondly I am personally really interested in this as an idea.

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