Moving with the times: The Royal Exchange commissions digital artwork to offer a moment of escapism

06 May 2020 | Updated on: 27 Sep 2022 |By Luxury London

The studio’s 3D-illustrated films take viewers on a mesmerising journey into a world of interplaying colours and textures to provide a moment of digital distraction

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The Royal Exchange

If there’s one place where the future and the past collide it’s the City of London’s The Royal Exchange. Inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth I – hence the ‘Royal’ part of the exchange’s name – the four-sided classical building was Britain’s first specialist shopping mall when it opened in 1571.

Five centuries, two fires (1666 and 1838) and two rebuilds later, The Royal Exchange remains one the country’s most beautiful and unique premium shopping centres, home to the likes of Aspinal of London, Boodles, Bremont, Georg Jensen, Tateossian, Smythson, Montblanc, Mulberry and Tiffany & Co.

To explore the skill and creativity that underpins modern luxury, The Royal Exchange has launched its Future/Craft campaign, celebrating the artistry and workmanship of its retailers while its physical doors remain closed.

As part of the campaign, The Royal Exchange has commissioned a series of original moving images by digital artists XK Studio. The studio’s 3D-illustrated films take viewers on a mesmerising journey into a world of interplaying colours and textures designed to provide a moment of escapism. The first moving image (below) in the series encapsulates the theme of Future/Craft in a 3D illustration that represents material elements, man-made shapes, innovative vision and exquisite craftsmanship.

Digital artists Alex Sirbu and Lukas Vojir explain the creative process behind their captivating 3D illustrated films

How would you describe the kind of art that XK Studio creates, and what inspires your artwork?

LV: We try to experiment and research as much as we can by taking tools and techniques intended for use in high-end visual effects for film and TV, and throwing them at more artistic, design-led projects and pieces.

AS: We love to study the subject of our projects and take clues from the latest developments across different fields, be it modern gastronomy, fashion, styling, photography or nature.

What was your approach to creating artwork for The Royal Exchange’s Future/Craft campaign?

AS: Our brief was to explore Future/Craft from the angle of modern luxury.

LV: Straight away we thought of fashion and product design being represented in an abstract way. We’ve combined fabric shapes with metallic and glass elements, which resemble details that could be found on a handbag, or jewellery pieces, but wouldn’t be immediately recognisable as that.

How would you describe your signature style, and how is it expressed in the artwork you’ve created for The Royal Exchange?

AS: We strive to create a daring, fresh look while approaching the subject from a new angle. We like to use organic forms in combination with more man-made looking shapes. We love to make small new worlds from these elements and observe the interplay between its inhabitants. In the work we’ve created for The Royal Exchange this is expressed through the interaction of metal, glass and cloth.

Could you describe the process of conceiving and creating this particular piece of work?

LV: As is common in any creative process, we start with a moodboard, which works as a filter for our ideas and helps us to narrow down the style. We then start making the individual elements before arranging them into compositions. We went back and forth with different elements, making and trying new objects in the composition, until we were happy with it.

What impact do you hope this work will have on the people who see it?

LV: We hope to invite the viewer into our world for a visit, no matter how short or long it might be.

Delve deeper into The Royal Exchange’s #FutureCraft campaign by following @theroyalexchange on Instagram and @rexshopper on Twitter. Experience XK Studio’s series of special commissions for The Royal Exchange, as they are unveiled throughout the coming months, on social media by searching #XKxTRE;