Project Details

Squint/Opera created a film to unveil the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)-designed Mindfulness City, shown to the people of Bhutan in December 2023, during the National Day of the country. 

Located in the town of Gelephu in Southern Bhutan, the 1000+ km2 masterplan by BIG, Arup, and Cistri is informed by Bhutanese culture and the country’s strong spiritual heritage.


Bjarke Ingels Group


Gelephu, Bhutan


Architecture & Built Environment


Brick Visual, Myth Studio, Coda to Coda

The Brief

BIG approached Squint to create the narrative and direct a film to reveal Mindfulness City to the Bhutanese community. The film was part of the first announcement that the people of Bhutan would see of this new city, played by His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck during the National Day of Bhutan in December 2023 and circulating across national media.

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Our Response

The Mindfulness City is designed with Buddhist principles and enhances the country’s long tradition of bridge-building, allowing nature, water, flora and fauna through the city. With this context in mind, the film seamlessly integrates the infinite zoom technique, symmetry, loops, mandalas, and a sense of discovery to create a mesmerising and meditative journey. 

Squint has a long-standing and valuable relationship with BIG, working on a variety of projects through the years. Despite tight deadlines the team were able to work closely and effectively together to deliver a visually rich film. 


We used an infinite zoom-loop for the film, focusing on the symmetry of the design and architecture whilst constantly moving. This creates a visually immersive, mesmerising journey for the viewer, allowing them to detach from their surroundings and dive into a meditative state, aligning with Buddhist philosophies of mindfulness.

The whole film itself also acts as a loop, with the final frame mirroring the first, allowing it to continue infinitely, accompanied by a soundtrack carrying this same motif.

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In Bhutan mandalas are employed to focus attention, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. Throughout the film are visual references to the Buddhist mandalas, designed as 2D animations by Myth Studio. It was important to visually quote the motifs as much as possible to represent their importance within Bhutan, with the illustrations opening and closing the film. 

They are also used as tools for transitioning throughout, enhancing the infinite zoom effect and drawing the viewer to the focal point of the shot. The viewer’s attention is focused on the mandala, creating a profound connection with the visual narrative.

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We also wanted to create the notion of Bhutan opening up more to the world, and a sense of discovery within the film. Mindfulness City will become a bridge between local and global, past and future, nature and humanity, all of which are explored and represented using CGIs by Brick Visual from BIG’s designs and the animations by Myth Studio.

This combination creates a magical world visually, full of historical traditions, but representative of an exciting new future. The visuals strike a balance between realism and approachability, ensuring engagement and a clear picture across all age groups.

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Working in close collaboration with sound designers Coda to Coda, we created loops using traditional Bhutanese instruments and Buddhist chants, modernised to represent the future of Bhutan.

Respect and appropriate representation of the culture were at the forefront of every decision within the film, collaborating with BIG and the Bhutanese government throughout the creation process. 

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“Unlike any, Squint’s team is geared towards idea driven innovation. The form and content is never a stylistic exercise but rather a thoughtful and fearless pursuit of the most blatant way to embody the story of the design.”

Bjarke Ingels, Founder and Creative Director at BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group.


“It was an honour to create this important film for Bhutan, working closely with their Government and our friends at BIG. It is a testament to the power of creative partnerships; and as with all Squint projects, we created a strong and tight narrative with our client, ensuring that Bhutan’s values were at the forefront of every creative decision.” Bianca De Ritis, Senior Producer at Squint/Opera.

Mindfulness City