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Set Design

Sarah Illenberger: Parade

Posted by Rob Alderson,

Set designer Sarah Illenberger has an astonishing ability to create worlds within worlds and her recent ten windows for Hermes/Kadewe showcased that talent at its best. The whimsical, fantastical, dream narrative she wove through horses, drums and less immediately-identifiable figures and objects confirms that Illenberger is a creative at the very top of her game.

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Set Design View Archive

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    All too often these days we stumble across a jaw-dropping example of set design, only to discover the impressive final image is actually the result of some clever visual trickery and digital manipulation. That’s an impressive art unto itself, don’t get me wrong, but pure CGI can leave me feeling a little shortchanged.

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    For some the summer is a time to wind down and get away from it all, but in the heart of east London an exciting new pop-up space from glacéau vitaminwater is a vibrant hub of creative inspiration.

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    When set designer Nicola Yeoman emailed us to say her newly simplified website was live, I went to check the last time we’d featured her on the site. Astonishingly I found that aside from mentions in a feature by Dan Tobin Smith (with whom she collaborated on the Jay Z album The Blueprint 3) we had apparently never dedicated a post to her extraordinary talents in their own right. So consider this long overdue.

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    Here at It’s Nice That we spend an awful lot of time talking about, thinking about and writing about creatives but ultimately we don’t get too many chances to really see what goes on in their day-to-day working lives…until now. Our new collaboration with super-cool eyewear brand Ace & Tate is taking us inside the studios, and inside the minds, of a host of some of our favourite creatives.

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    Thomas Petherick is a set designer with a client list including the likes of Dior, Nike, Nowness and Wonderland, and considering the strength and consistency his aesthetic it’s no surprise that there are so many absolute stonkers in there. He works often with large abstract shapes, creating backdrops and props which structure entire editorial shoots with his vibrant colours and light tricks. This editorial, shot by Michiel Meewis for Fucking Young! magazine is based around Yves Klein’s famous blue, and for it Thomas created what is basically a giant wooden cheese and projected light and clouds onto it to make it look like the coolest, most high fashion object ever. It’s no mean feat, but he pulls it off with panache.

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    The best things in life are spherical. But before you take my word for it, let’s consider the evidence: the Earth is spherical, the sun is, all balls in sport are, many fruits are and of course (my personal favourite) Malteasers also are.

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    Last week I saw the photographer Jess Bonham give an excellent talk about her work, during which she showed this project for Kenzo which I had never come across before. Collaborating with long-term partner in creative crime Anna Lomax, she created this series of GIFs to mark the launch of the brand’s Resort 2014 edition in association with New Era. Playful and visually arresting, it’s rare to see the GIF used so neatly in a commercial context and is proof positive of why you should trust creatives of Jess’ and Anna’s calibre to deliver the goods.

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    Art directors don’t come much glossier than Romain Lenancker, as we’ve noted while marking his progress on a near yearly basis over the last couple, and perhaps as a result his unique brand of set design and art direction are basically unrivalled by anybody else in his industry. From creating sand dunes out of cosmetic powder to freezing products in decadently huge blocks of ice and sinking bottles of scent in swathes of black leather, Romain knows exactly what it takes to promote an everyday object from the realms of the ordinary to something altogether more majestic. And majesty is exactly what his ideas possess; all high fashion and luxury in no small measure.

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    Welcome to the strange universe of Gemma Tickle – where balloons are square, hexagonal and cylindrical, where they’re as big as a person, and where they never, ever deflate. Her window installation for London boutique Darkroom plays with the kind of things you might expect of your favourite party favourites and makes them into the exact opposite, in an installation that’s as playfully funny as it is aesthetically pleasing. What’s more, Gemma’s on the site not once but twice this week, in a perhaps-never-before-seen double whammy of a celebration of her creativity, and the best possible demonstration of how great we think she is. Which is very great! Surreal and abstract and a bit weird, and all the things we like to see in a set designer. Woo! Go Gemma!