Michelin – Designing the Michelin ‘Tomorrow’ Campus

Design Direction

When creating the ‘Michelin – The Way Forward’ Super Bowl spot, the aim was to create a world that looked like a modern campus for Michelin product testing; a complex of buildings all creating technology for current future tyres.

During the development time for this commercial, I wanted to fully develop something that would be accepted as as real building, with a serious approach. Therefore, a practical and   architectural approach was needed to give the right feeling and proper scale etc.

I drew out a few various approaches, one idea being a terraced dome, and another being a tyre motif. At first I thought the tyre was rather playful, but the more I developed it, I realised that at the right scale it could actually be rather commanding.

I tried to incorporate the tyre inside other designs and approaches and also tried to  incorporate various recognisable aspects of the Michelin world, especially the ‘Bibendum’ look.

However, I kept on returning to develop the ‘Tyre’ look.

My gut consistantly reminded me that when people viewed this campus from the outside, it should be something that they would consider a real building, that we filmed on location.

I spent time sourcing what looked like the right materials. With the feeling of an upscale airport, with clean upmarket textures, but with more elegant use of coloured glass whilst still having enough smaller details to give it a technical and scientific feel.

I considered revealing the layers of the tyre towards the edges, however it seemed to ‘on the nose’.

I took some of the exterior designs and re-worked them to be part of the interior. This main interior had a very futuristic ‘workshop’ feel, with various cars and types of tyres being tested in various ways. At this point I employed an artist to help speed along these looks. This allowed me to concentrate on designing different parts of this huge ‘workshop’.

Ultimately, although the client liked the final design proposal, they changed direction and wanted a more ‘happier’ & cheerful approac, so we used the ‘Bibendum’ face as a centre point, with some of the original dome designs to the side. Whilst not as adventurous as the concepts, it still worked well within the spot.


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