INEOS 1:59 Challenge

Because the project was so fluid, decisions were being made completely on the fly and we had to be equally fluid. The project was one of the purest, agile projects we've run.

- SOON_ Team

Can you briefly describe your project and the concept behind it?

There were so many factors contributing to success that went beyond a guy running round a track really fast. Peeling back those layers–like using CFD and Mercedes AMG's wind tunnel to optimize the pattern of pacing runners was fascinating, explaining hyper complex technical challenges while still making it accessible.

Talk about your initial prototypes. How did those ideas change throughout design and execution?

Pencil sketches on pieces of paper, to get initial ideas out. The project was completely iterative so for sure - they changed!

What influenced your chosen technical approach, and how did it go beyond past methods?

Because the project was so fluid, decisions were being made completely on the fly and we had to be equally fluid. The project was one of the purest, agile projects we've run. Even for products like the Second Screen webapp that supported the live broadcast with rich, realtime content, we needed to approach it dynamically, prototyping and demoing to clients at speed while perpetually testing to ensure it would stand up to a high density of traffic. The infrastructure and application were iterated on in parallel. That tight coupling really helped so we knew the Google Cloud infrastructure / Kubernetes orchestration would behave very predictably.

What web technologies, tools, or resources did you use to develop this?

Main site: Django, Cloudinary, HTML5, Google cloud platform with dynamic horizontal scaling for spiky traffic loads, Memcached for lighting fast app response times, VSCode 😜, Design tech, Sketch, Abstract, Second Screen, React, Firestore realtime DB, HTML 5, React admin for mobile CMS

What breakthrough or “a-ha” moment did you experience when concepting or executing this project?

There were so many factors contributing to success that went beyond a guy running round a track really fast. Peeling back those layers–like using CFD and Mercedes AMG's wind tunnel to optimize the pattern of pacing runners was fascinating, explaining hyper complex technical challenges while still making it accessible. Also, the opportunity to support the live broadcast via a digital "second screen" experience. It was thrilling to be part of the effort on the day...in a world where we spend so much time forward planning to minimize risk, it's exciting to do something that 100% has to be right on the day and working with the broadcast team at Sunset + Vine was a treat.

How did you balance your creative and technical capabilities with the client’s brand?

I don't believe these should ever be in conflict. We're there to support the initiative and make it as good as it can be. I'm not sure that there is much space for auteur creative agencies who want to showboat any more. This was a good looking, emotionally resonant piece of work but for us it was a piece of engineering as much as a narrative. I don't see why we'd be trying to do things at loggerheads with clients; we should all be pushing in the same direction. I can genuinely say INEOS were (and are) great to deal with, as were the other agencies we worked with, like In To the Blue (who were responsible for the overall campaign creative. Lovely, smart people.

How did the final product defy your expectations?

It's easy to look at the site now and see how it hangs together as a coherent narrative with a great ending...he did it! But at the time we didn't know how any of these things would work or even if Eliud would be successful. It was really living week by week, day by day which was exciting but nerve wracking. In the end it's testimony to the efforts of the combined 1:59 team that this all made sense and had a great result in the end.

Why is this an exciting time to create new digital experiences? How does your team fit into this?

When is not in this bloody industry! I think the stuff we're most interested in at the moment is in reaction to digital product development. You can see how digital design is becoming increasingly systematized. The tooling seems to change every week–after 20 years of not having our own tooling (I'm looking at you Potatoshop!) we have Sketch, Figma, Invision, XD, the list goes on. The tools are part reacting to how we work now–and what digital design means on vast, modern digital platforms –but also part reacting to a maturing industry. It's nice to explore how far you can systematize what we do, so we know how to break the rules when we want to :D

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