From Shakespeare to Hemingway to… plumbing? When we were approached by the folks at 22 Squared to create and shoot a new campaign for their cleint American Standard, we were immediately excited at the opportunity ahead of us. The goal: bring to life four unique concepts each rooted in a piece of classic literature that focused on the four different eras of design referenced by the new American Standard DXV kitchen and bathroom fixtures. The process: build everything from scratch, working from the ground up to create truly unique worlds for these products and models to exist in.
So how did these ads come together? Let’s take a look at what goes into building, lighting and creating these imaginary worlds.
Born out of weeks of sketching, mockups, and diagrams, Chris and our team collaborated with the creatives mind of the agency, 22 Squared. Ultimately, we knew these images needed to be beautiful, striking, and ownable – both in a way that reflected the luxury of the new American Standard brand and kept consistent with the literary references each ad was based on.
Four final ads, four amazing custom built sets – shot over the course of two days in studio in Philadelphia. This campaign is a great example of what can be created when you bring together a team of creative and technical minds to truly execute a unique artistic vision. Here’s the real question though, can you guess which pieces of literature each of the ads reference?
Here’s where it all started. Shooting this project in our hometown afforded us a chance to work in a huge rental studio inside of a giant chromakey’d cove. The green actually worked perfectly on the shots where we had to drop in various worlds outside of the windows.
T-minus two days before our shoot, this is what the studio looked like. Over the next 48 hours as our pre-build and pre-light days wrapped up, the set builders assembled all four rooms in this studio.
Every single piece of the four final images you see was custom designed and built to exactly Chris and the agency’s collaborative vision. Being our biggest and baddest set build to date, we were amazed at the specificity and control that creating this environments would allow. If we could dream it up and it was within budget, our build crew made it happen.
Interested in a little know fact about our crew? Trusty assistant and digi-tech Jared actually has a ton of experience and knowledge when it comes to plumbing. That being said, he was still just a digital tech for this shoot, we brought in a whole team of set builders to handle the heavy lifting.
And I think I speak for everyone involved when I can say that it’s a good thing we only used David for a few light tests. I’ll be the first one to say our actual model talent for this shot was a much better choice – sorry David.
All joking aside, when it came down to working on lighting and shooting these incredible sets and ads, we really got down to work. When you’re shooting a special product like this, you need to pay extra attention to not only how your human subjects are taking the light, but how the product itself is rendering. This meant that we needed to create and hone beautiful lighting for our models and the fixtures – not exactly the easiest task. As you can see in the shot above, we were all lights on deck to make sure every reflection and surface was perfect.
The beauty of a total set build is that it allowed us 100% control of the entire environment – straight from the idea in Chris’s head to fruition.
So aside from Chris and the rest of our crew, who was the set-building, art-department mastermind behind this vision? None other than our good friend Matthew Englebert. A recent transplant from the west coast with years of experience under his belt, we first met Matthew in the fall of 2013. Little did we know that only months later we would be collaborating so closely with him and his team. And what a collaboration it was!
More than just Matthew, we owe a huge thank you to everyone involved and all of their hard work: the talented folks at 22 Squared for the creative direction on this project, our great producer and her team, Susan Shaughnessy and Liza Harding, Arwen Spargo and Avery Osbourne on wardrobe, Adam Dietrich our prop-master, Megan Ambroch and Carrie Gehman on hair and makeup, and last but not least the entirety of the Crisman team – thanks everyone!