Designing fantasy. Industrial design into movies

By Martin Kelen | Industrial Design | 5 Aug 2021

 The film universe, mostly the SciFi genere, adopt the Design to help on its ambientation. Into this world specifically this job is called "Art Director" and works for the visual appearance and the ambientation of the set and characters. The role of the art director is essential to reach what the general director want to tell

This time I want to show you how the design have improved, and some cases have overcome a film narration. All this is just a personal apreciation and lot of things were left away for not make the post too long. I divide it in categories, and the first is:

1] Vehicles

Batmobile from Batman


From the 1955 Lincoln Futura to the "tumbler" Batmobile always have had leadership in every movie. If it was a tunned existing car or a prototype made from zero, this car always knows to partner the batman´s adventures

Akira motorbike from Akira


From a distropic future, this bike was encouraged to change the look of what a motorbike should look like

PodRacer from Star Wars episode I


Design sometimes helps to create things that couldn´t be real, like this case. That I like the most in this vehicle is the concept of 2 motors pulling a bodywork like 2 mechanical horses. By adding lots of details, design is able to make something impossible looks like a "it colud be"

2] Props

Hoverboard and self tie sneakers from back to the future


One more time, design make a step forward and propose how future could be (or should be) and bring us a skate without wheels, and we shall not know how it works, because it comes from the future. It was a great decision making it pink with clear stripes, like a Barbie accessory to improve the sensation of a possible product. Nike, by the way, have made a very simmilar pair of their shoes for homage of the date showed on the movie

Morpheus rimless sunglases from Matrix


Matrix was one of my favourite films for its disruption and originality. Wachowski brothers have made huge innovations on film playing effects, costume, music, screenplay, prop design. May be is an injustice for their work just talking about the glasses, but they are a piece that talk a lot about the movie

Power loader from Alien II


I really dont know which were the first exoskeleton show up in movies, but this one was the first I remember, similars appeared lately in Matrix 3 and Avatar. This device is a proof of how a prop could become protagonist on a movie narration


Augmented reality device from Minority report


What I like the most of this concept is the idea of manipulate information with gestures, the design itself is poor in this case , since its about a 3 fingers light glove and a transparent screen. But the idea is powerfull, specially if you note it was made in 2002

FreudMan from Condor Crux


I bet you never have heard about this Argentinian movie, and it is because the film really sucks, have several holes in the screenplay and the narrative is quite boring. But this device is deserved to be shown, its like a pocket psychologist. The movie was made in 2000. One more time, the concept is the most important

Sensitive suit from Ready Player One


Despite of being SciFi, this movie have the most possible props, indeed Tesla company have developed a similar suit with the capability of deliver touch sensations. Its about time every of us have one of these on home


Light Saber from Star Wars saga


Surely the common people think on light sabers when talk about star wars, and it is because this prop is an important star in the story, and an iconic object in the whole saga

Pod weapon from The fifth element


The destructive capability of this gun makes feel fear with only a glance, and this sensation is what the director wants to tell with this object

Noisy Cricket from Men in Black


This tiny gun makes anyone laugh, but the shoot power make everyone to love it, Men in black is an adventure comedy film, so this art decó joking design is absolutely proper

4] Creatures and characters

Buzz Lightyear from toy story saga


Nowadays with computer technology even the characters are entirely designed. This Disney's masterpiece was developed straight to land in the marchandising shelfs, to infinity and beyond

Ludo from Labyrinth


He is enormous, hairy with massive hands, feet, fangs and horns, but still looks friendly. And this was a huge achievement from the designers

ED-209 from robocop

6b4893814badb1dcb074b2e276f85128102d5255dfb882bc8deae654bade7695.jpgIn an inner self fight I was wandering if robots are characters, creatures or a different class. Anyway the list of robots in movies is infinite, most of them clever and beautyfully designed. I choose this one just because is my favourite and dares a non antropomorphical shape. A design I have always admired


This is not a design from a movie but it is inspired by an idea. A coffee table based on the inception concept. Totally unfunctional, but eye catching



That's all folks, thanks for reading and let me know if there is a design from movies you would like to see in the list


(wanna thank to all the original autors from the images a have used, it is a personal collection and don't have the sources)

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Martin Kelen
Martin Kelen

Well... Human at first, Industrial Designer graduated in UBA, Argentina I think come second. Comic drawer as an abandoned hobby, lover for making stuff of any type... and a procastinator who try to self fight. Husband, Father, High hopes

Industrial Design
Industrial Design

The charming of shapes, the intelligence making the functionallity and beauty working togheter. There are not just products, there are feelings

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