A Journey thru imaginary Mausoleum in Le Corbusier’s city

A journey through an imaginary Mausoleum in Chandigarh, Le Corbusier’s modernist city in Northern India. Utopia is a short film using a cross section view. This perspective is used exclusively as we follow the characters enigmatic journey as they navigate the complex concrete structure looking for the tomb at its core. As they navigate the structure we see and hear glimpses of the changing environment as the building reveals itself. 

Inspired by architectural perspective illustrations first developed in the renaissance period and still used in the present day - the cross section drawing of the Barbican by Chamberlin Powell and Bon is a fine example. The film adds the dimension time being compressed as we travel through the scene. The building was designed in collaboration with an architect to create a functional structure and incorporating the letter form of the ‘U’ in the final frame. The project was created in Houdini using a procedural approach to be able to globally control the timing, animation and lighting.

Watch the full film here: https://opticalarts.studio/u-utopia/


The building had to be designed precisely in the context of the film’s narrative as the layout and structure defined when each element, room and character appears and disappears. Due to the large amount of detail, several iterations were necessary to find the right balance between complexity and readability. Throughout the project various style frames were developed to explore the different materials for the building. 

The project was created in Houdini using a procedural approach to be able to globally control the timing, animation and lighting. This approach saved time as the geometry of the building kept changing regularly through the project.

The look of the project was achieved by combining several passes in compositing to create the illustration aesthetic.

Development and style frames

Optical Arts is a creative studio based in London. With an experimental approach and a collective spirit we explore new ways to tell visual stories, applying innovative techniques to live action, digital and print.

For more information make sure to check out http://www.opticalarts.studio

Written by


I'm a Brazilian product designer based in Oakland, California currently working for Google as a Staff Designer. I am also the founder of Abduzeedo, an award-winning digital publication about design and a personal project that has become the source of inspiration for millions of designers and enthusiasts.

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