Art Processors wins Experience Design category in Fast Company's 2023 Innovation by Design Awards

Groups of people socialising in the Sydney Opera House forecourt, the image of a person holding an Aboriginal flag projected onto the sails in the background.

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Art Processors has won the Experience Design category in Fast Company's 2023 Innovation by Design Awards for From the Sails: Light Years, the stunning film and sound experience we created to launch the Sydney Opera House's 50th year celebrations.

The Innovation by Design Awards honour the designers and businesses solving today's most crucial problems and anticipating tomorrow's pressing issues. Now in its 12th year, the competition features a range of blue-chip companies, emerging startups, and young talents. It is one of the most sought-after design awards in the industry. 

Our winning project, From the Sails: Light Years, was an original film artwork projected onto the Sydney Opera House's western sails to kick off the iconic landmark's 50th year celebrations. Created by Sam Doust, our Group Director of Creative Services, the 17-minute film traversed the building's history and legacy as a performance venue, public building and World Heritage-listed masterpiece.

Adding to the magic of the live experience, anyone watching the spectacle from across the harbour, on the water, or at a local venue, could listen to the accompanying musical score on their mobile device thanks to our innovative live audio-visual synchronisation technology.

"It is an incredible honour to win an Innovation by Design Award," said Mark Nihill, Art Processors CEO. "To have the innovation and grand scale of this work recognised alongside the many creative thinkers in this competition is a significant achievement.

"Our team really brought their diverse energies and outlooks together to create something truly magical to celebrate the Sydney Opera House's 50th year – and you could see that in the reaction of the audience, Live performance is such an exhilarating medium. It was a joy to connect technology and art in a way that elevates what an outdoor event can be, and do so in partnership with one of the most recognisable icons in the world."

As a recognised Sydney Opera House historian—not to mention an award-winning motion artist—Sam was uniquely placed to create From the Sail: Light Years.

"My prior expertise in the many facets of the story was never more useful than beginning to think how best to visualise and represent, in an inclusive manner, the creativity and abundance of this world-renown performance venue," Sam says. 

"With such an extraordinary canvas to work with, here at Art Processors we were instantly compelled to give this opportunity the dual function of projection art and cinema by inventing a seamless way for anyone to sync live with the soundtrack from wherever they were." 

"My colleagues Rob Keniger, Adam Phin and Anders Rasmussen developed the live audio synchronisation function. The technology itself is impressive for its ease and accessibility…but it's the magical quality of being onsite and suddenly listening in sync that is the transformative experience."

The whole project would not have been possible without the contributions of the Sydney Opera House team and a number of talented artists who collaborated with Sam, including artist Jake Duczynski of Studio Gilay, CG artist Jason Poley and composers Hylton Mowday and Andrew Stevenson of We Love Jam.

The judges included renowned designers from a variety of disciplines, business leaders from some of the most innovative companies in the world, and Fast Company's writers and editors. Entries were judged on the key ingredients of innovation: functionality, originality, beauty, sustainability, user insight, cultural impact, and business impact.

"So much innovation news these days is focused on AI," said Brendan Vaughan, editor-in-chief of Fast Company. "This year's Innovation by Design honorees are a reminder that it's human ingenuity that drives invention."

Winners, finalists, and honorable mentions will be featured online in the September issue of Fast Company.

For more on how we created From the Sails: Light Years

Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation, we acknowledge the many Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and honour Elders past, present and emerging. We respect their deep, enduring connection to their lands, waterways and surrounding clan groups since time immemorial. We cherish the richness of First Nations Peoples’ artistic and cultural expressions.