Forward Festival: Inspiration and creativity

Forward Festival: Inspiration and creativity

The Odd One Out 

Forward Festival is a festival of design, creativity and communication that has been using the same common denominator and gathering designers, creatives, illustrators, 3D artists and typographic designers from different areas of creative work for five years now. The festival’s fifth edition was held in Vienna, Austria, from April 4 until April 6, under the motto The Odd One Out, dedicated to all the creatives out there who cannot be forced to abide by the social norms but are instead encouraged to embrace and celebrate their uniqueness (oddness). 

Inspiration is the key segment of this festival, as the most influential creatives from around the world present interesting topics from the communication, creative, advertising and design industries. The underlying idea behind the festival is to let the speakers share their knowledge, experiences, personal career highs and lows, philosophies, ideas and teachings with the audiences, thus inspiring and encouraging creative thinking, questioning and desire to make progress.

Exhibitions and speed dating at the legendary movie theater and Neo-Renaissance museum – hit the jackpot!

The legendary Viennese movie theater Gartenbaukino, which is also the biggest movie theater in Austria, was the main festival venue for the first two days of the event, while on the third day the program took place at the impressive MAK, Museum of Applied Arts. The festival’s ambitious program included interesting lectures, workshops and exhibitions, as well as a number of side events, including creative speed dating, screenings, art installations and entertainment.

There’s no either/or: You get to attend all the lectures

Unlike larger festivals, where lectures are held simultaneously, in different halls, which means that visitors cannot attend all of them, there is no either/or dilemma at the Forward Festival. The 45-minute lectures are held consecutively, one after the other, at a movie theater that seats over 700 people. Below, we will be highlighting some of the lectures that caught our eye.

1. 3D wizard Parein: Nike trainers that aren’t there, yet are

After dropping out of high school at 17, Rizon Parein started creatively expressing himself as a graffiti artist, where having one’s own style is critical. Interestingly enough, of all the graffiti styles, he chose the 3D graffiti, where the form of the letters is not as important as depicting something as realistically as possible and making it almost palpable. In his later campaigns for one of Nike Air Max models, at a time when graffiti art was part of his past, he went back to his roots and decided to use one of the decorative, additional elements in the graffiti culture – bubbles. He compared them to the trainers’ air cushions and the final result was more than amazing – there are no trainers there, yet, we can see they are there.

3D artist and illustrator Parein is considered the pioneer of 3D neon signs, as some of his methods and techniques were used in works by many other designers and 3D artists years later. One of his most famous neon signs is the one he made for the movie Drive starring Ryan Gosling.

2. Studio Feixen: Life is a hamburger really

Studio Feixen is a Swiss duo comprising Felix Pfäffli and Raphael Leutenegger. Their idea was to showcase concepts and a philosophy that the two of them rely on both privately and professionally. Using symbolism, they did an entertaining illustration of a hamburger, whose each ingredient represented an aspect of one’s life. Together, these ingredients made the hamburger (i.e. life) pleasant and enjoyable. The key segment that the illustration highlighted was the need to find a balance between one’s work, personal projects, education, exhibitions and lectures.

The two also showcased their work and ways of thinking and finding solutions. They showed a quite interesting design concept of responsive advertising, within which a client or another designer can act freely, without disturbing the basic idea or concept.

3. Steffen Bärenfänger: The man who made it possible to swim with humpback whales

Steffen Bärenfänger is the creative manager at Mackevision, one of the world’s leading computer-generated imagery (CGI) companies. In his creative work, he continually challenges the boundaries of communication capabilities. With background in advertising, digital, arts, music and film, his creative focus has always been on interactive the dynamics between moving pictures, interactivity of space and sound, and the opportunity to experience a brand.

His most interesting project was the Humpbacks of Hawaii, a 3D visualization of humpback whales that allowed visitors of the Maui Ocean Center exhibition to experience the nomadic lifestyle of whales, and “immerse” themselves in their songs, signals and social connections. The humpback whale migration was presented via interactive exhibitions, and educational presentations; the prize jewel of the exhibition was the virtual meeting with a humpback whale inside a spherical chamber. With a diameter exceeding 17 meters, the 120-seat sphere combines 3D glasses and 4K laser projection, while the sphere’s screen is bigger than the average humpback whale adult, putting the viewers in perfect proportion with the whales’ size. And there was also a swimming space.

Inspiration, good vibes and forward momentum

In its five years, the Forward Festival has established itself as one of the leading festivals on the European creative scene and offered much more than we have ever expected.

The lectures demonstrated that positive changes were happening in all aspects of creative communication, especially in the digital domain. Genius content and an excellent atmosphere left us in awe, and we got back home inspired, carrying good vibes, and with plenty of new acquaintances.

Thank you to Internavti for the invitation, see you soon.