Christian & Patrick on 20 years of directing

The director duo cut their teeth creating unusual animated visuals for artists like Björk as part of Lynn Fox. They reflect on how architecture influences their work, the elements that ads often overlook and the future of music videos

Christian Mckenzie and Patrick Chen rose to prominence in the early 2000s as part of directing collective Lynn Fox, which was completed by Bastian Glassner. Together, they created a spate of animated music videos and visualisations that often leaned into ethereal or spectral territory, brought to life with the burgeoning possibilities around CG. Their visual language especially resonated with Björk, who enlisted Lynn Fox for various projects over the course of a long-running creative partnership.

They also brought their taste for graphics and eerie visuals to brands like Audi, before the trio split and Mckenzie and Chen set up a separate directing venture, Christian & Patrick. They have since directed ads for luxury car brands like Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, as well as spots for Thomas Cook and Dulux that play with cinematic devices in their own way.

The two initially studied architecture and met while doing their diploma at Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL, which is renowned for its innovative approach. “Pat and I both came from very, very traditional architecture schools before that – I certainly thought all I was interested in was bricks and construction and making something,” Mckenzie says. They both signed up to a unit exploring the links between architecture and film. “I was just drawn to the madness of it and the fact that they were doing these flying animations that felt like music videos in a sense,” he remembers. During this unit, they not only found each other but landed upon the medium that would go on to define the next 20 years of their careers.