University of Calgary

Environmental Design alumnus David Correa wins Sony commission

UToday HomeFebruary 27, 2013

By Jessica Wallace

Environmental Design alumnus David Correa captured Sony’s vision for the smartphone’s new line of products with his design for a digital interface. Photo courtesy David CorreaEnvironmental Design alumnus David Correa captured Sony’s vision for the smartphone’s new line of products with his design for a digital interface. Photo courtesy David CorreaWhile finishing up his Master of Architecture education at the University of Calgary, David Correa stumbled upon an opportunity that almost any designer would dream of.

The Sony Creative Center in San Francisco was seeking a design for the launcher on their upcoming smartphone, the Xperia Z series.

A launcher is that short animation and wallpaper that appears when users initialize their phones. Sony was interested in a particular type of architecture and was looking for someone who could interpret the intent of the creative brief for them.

Although many designs were considered for the commission, Correa’s proposal was accepted based on his interpretation of the company’s vision for the product's new line.

"The client was looking for someone who could interpret the vision for the brand - from an abstract architectural concept, into a visual aesthetic suitable for a digital interface,” states Correa. “It was about creating a cohesive language between the experience and the product that could resonate and inspire. I think architecture has an inherent capacity to make tangible that which we aspire to."

As lead designer on the project, Correa developed the overall concept, geometry, shaders and animation for the phone’s interface. Highly procedural, the project required associative modelling and technical tweaks along the way with materials (shaders) to process the light and camera data. All post-production, coding and implementation was completed by Sony.

“David’s design for Sony shows that our students are very imaginative, with creative talents and excellent technical skills that can be applied in many different contexts,” states Branko Kolarevic, associate dean of architecture at EVDS.

The animation will appear on smartphones in the Xperia Z series. Photo courtesy David CorreaThe animation will appear on smartphones in the Xperia Z series. Photo courtesy David CorreaKolarevic, who also holds a research chair in integrated design, encourages students to look for inspiration in other disciplines and apply their skills to a variety of problems and situations. He refers to that process as “integrative design” and sees it as a path for innovative design research.

Correa continues to build on his advanced education in design, pursuing his PhD at the Institute for Computational Design in Stuttgart, Germany where, among other projects, he is working on the robotic fabrication of a pavilion for the ArchiLAb exhibition at the FRAC centre in Orleans, France.

The Xperia Z phone is not for sale, yet - but will be soon.

 

Follow UToday on Twitter.
Check the UToday website for news about events, people and trends at University of Calgary.
Follow what’s happening on campus using our interactive calendar.