What will cities and urban life look like decades from now? Speculating about new and groundbreaking technology, artists from around the world tried to envision the future in a major 3D challenge.
Metropia 2042, sponsored by Nvidia and ArtStation, called on creators to visualize a futuristic world—a world where humanity has benefited from breakthroughs in robotics, autonomous transport, augmented reality, and environmental protections.
The contest consisted of four categories for participants to submit their creations—Cities, Vehicles, Characters, and Interiors of the Future.
The 1st Place prize for the Cities of the Future category went to freelance CG generalist / 3D concept artist / art director Alexandr Melentiev (Russia) who envisioned a future where electricity is developed on photosynthesis technology. This means entire cities—complete with high-rise buildings, offices, and administrative complexes—would be entirely under a dome.
In his submission, Melentiev explained that the city he developed is built on a swamp. “From the swamp, the city takes clean water [and] minerals (oil?), [and] grows fish and algae.”
“I really liked the theme of the challenge. It was interesting for me to make a city of the future,” Melentiev told Strelka Mag. “The city is not the distant future, as I see it. I wanted slight modifications to turn an ordinary town into something unusual, to come up with new technology for life.”
Speaking after Melentiev’s win, Nvidia praised the fact that his submission saw technology bringing people “closer to nature, rather than further away from it.”
René Mitchell-Lambert (UK) landed 1st Place for the Vehicles of the Future category, envisioning an AI-operated autonomous drone capable of transporting a paramedic crew and patients.
“Once the drone finds a patient in need with the authorization of the paramedics on board, the drone will deploy a medical bed that can be used to transport the patient on board, [while] simultaneously charging its batteries while its landed,” Mitchell-Lambert wrote.
Lukas Walzer (Germany) landed the 2nd Place prize for his Interiors of the Future submission, which pondered what might happen in a world where deforestation and natural catastrophes have made real wood a rare material.
Speculating about the near future, Walzer spoke of a technique called FFU wood, a synthetical wood made out of glass fibers and polyurethane. Сombined with the possibilities of 3D printing, a new technology would result in interiors which would include “laminated” large beams of artificial wood. “While being laminated, the fibers harden and form a material very much like wood in appearance and quality, even a bit stronger,” Walzer wrote.
The contest took a playful turn in the Characters of the Future category, with a quirky and loveable robotic handyman named Billy Bob Ball Bot taking 2nd Place.
“My goal with this challenge was to focus on personality, character, and to just have fun with it. I’m not as interested in realism, but more in getting a certain feel and playfulness with the design and overall look,” wrote Billy Bob Ball Bot’s creator, Wouter Gort (Netherlands).
The character that nabbed 3rd Place was far more serious, representing a military adaptation of universal bipedal robotic platform mimicking human anatomy. That creation, complete with powerful military-grade weaponry and gear, was the brainchild of Luka Mivsek (Slovenia).
More than 2,500 artists from across the globe participated in Metropia 2042, with awards granted to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place winners of each category. Those who won 1st Place prizes received a wide range of awards, including an HP Z4 Workstation containing Nvidia Quadro RTX 6000 and an HP z27 27-inch 4K UHD Display.
Winners were chosen by a panel of eight judges, including Vitaly Bulgarov, creative director at Black Sky Symmetry, Inc., and Ian Spriggs, 3D character artist at ImageEngine.