Tasks which look simple at first may very well turn out to be difficult. Styling rooms for a photo shooting was initially easy to sketch out in my mind yet later on in parts pretty tricky to realise. Embracing the steep learning curve and showing quite a bit of perseverance made for a gratifying debut as interior stylist. On an honest note, I put two all-nighters into this one, but it totally paid off: we kept the deadline, would produce beautiful results (and I justified my role as a stylist in this project).
When I got the opportunity to work in the same project with Grischa Rüschendorf, I would have said yes even if the whole scope of my work had been to make some coffee. Luckily though, I was entrusted with a bit more than that (nothing against coffee!). Grischa is not just any random photographer. He is the guy Apple calls when they need pictures to be taken of newly opened Apple Stores anywhere in Asia. Hence, working with him was already a reward in itself. And as I am writing this, we are working on the second shooting (Harbour Grand Hotel, Hong Kong).
After an early site visit, I began sourcing props for the room decoration. It was kind of funny to go “shopping by color”. I had a concept in mind and needed the right objects to put that on stage: a yoga mat, purple shower-gels, red headphones, a basketball, a can of protein powder… During the initial meeting with the WEAVE Team I already gained ample clarity on the target group – Millennials, unmarried expats, tech-savvy, mobile folks with a strong preference for experience rather than owning personal property. The typical co-living tenant would appreciate opportunities to socialise, finish the day playing a board game in the shared areas or  each other with the PlayStation. In this particular case, they would have a ticket to Hong Kong in their hands, as many of them come here for work. Matching the target group’s brand wishlist came rather easy to me because I had done it many times before. Apple, NIKE, Lululemon… would certainly resonate well with them. I felt (and still feel) safe about my decisions here.
The enemy came in the shape of mattress covers, blankets, duvet covers and shower curtains… There was only one weekend between my styling day and the photo shooting. In fact, early viewers would come to see the place on Sunday already. Starting my hike in this new terrain on a Friday, I spent two full nights on the scene trying to tame the fabrics to a flawless look. I openly admit that I totally underestimated this apparently ‘easy’ task! How do you iron wrinkles out of a folded plastic shower curtain?? That drove me a bit crazy.
The cumbersome tasks were compensated with a highly enjoyable part: I translated web design principles (2D) to a room (3D), which then again would be photographed and published online (2D). That meant I had to ‘flatten’ the view in my mind constantly when arranging the space with my hands. Some of the shots would later be taken from an angle that would only become possible with the doors removed from their frames, hence I couldn’t just take a “trial” shot with my own camera and check out the result. I had to do the trick in my head.
[photo of my sketch on paper with green dots]
The aforementioned “design principles”, simply put, mean that I try to control the movement of the eye on the layout, just like I do it in web design. In case of the kitchen shot, it was my goal to give the eyes a route to travel into the depth of the room from left to right. I placed small objects in a distinctive colour (in this case in lime green) along the path. The viewers would (unconsciously) try to connect the dots and like that we can be sure they perceive the whole room in it’s entirety.
Working with Grischa and the WEAVE-Team has been one of those “Anytime again!”-collaborations. Everyone pushed really hard and stayed committed to the deadline. After the shooting, I had a notable lack of sleep, yet I was equally charged with contentment :)