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Thomas Pheasant Behind the Scenes: Creating Room Scenes for the New Collection Catalog

Behind the scenes...

Behind the scenes…

One of the most important concepts to keep in mind when designing a furniture collection is versatility.  Creating furnishings that are representative of your vision is essential, but these pieces must be able to work within the interiors and vocabularies of designers and clients you will never meet.   During the final days of product development, I began to think about how I could showcase the new collection in a way that would show its flexibility.  If you have never been to High Point for Market, you are missing the opportunity to see new collections presented by the designers in a spectacular way.  Last spring when I was designing my space in the Baker showroom, I imagined the collection presented my way.  This could best be described as a fusion of Franco-American Classical Modern.  Realizing that the strength of the collection lies in its ability to fulfill a variety of interiors, I wanted to imagine the collection translated for three different clients. The trick would be how to do it and there was only one month left until Market.

During one of my furniture reviews in High Point, I had the opportunity to visit a local photography studio, Diana Parrish Design and Photography, to discuss potential sites for shooting interior images for the catalog.  While discussing possible venues, I was taken by the size of her studio and what I thought could be an opportunity to create three different room scenes within the space. I put aside my role as furniture designer and began to think as an interior designer entering a new space with clients and the opportunity to create for them.

Here is the space in the studio that I need to transform into 3 different scenes.

Here is the space in the studio that I need to transform into 3 different scenes.

The day after my studio visit, I asked Diana to meet me at the Baker offices to hear my concept for a three-day shoot.  I presented three different interiors by imagining the collection for three very different clients.

Initial concept expressed in sketches...that will be translated into renderings...that will be built into final scenes.

Initial concept expressed in sketches. Sketches will be translated into renderings, then built into final scenes.

For this to happen, I would have to turn the sketches of my ideas for the three spaces into renderings. My office in Washington, D.C. would then quickly send CAD drawings of my designs to the studio in order to have moldings, flooring, draperies, etc. ready in time for the shoot.

The key would be Diana’s ability to create my three sets in the same studio space and shoot in three days.  This would require her crew to shoot one day, tear down and rebuild the new set each night.  Diana is so fast and positive that her energy propels me to believe we could actually do this.  It would turn out to be a 72-hour marathon that was a fascinating and rewarding experience for all of us.

I discuss my concept for three room-scenes.

I discuss my concept with Diana Parrish for three room scenes.

After a few weeks of preparations and exchanging emails with information, it’s finally the first day, and I am excited to enter the studio and begin.

Day 1: The Park Avenue Apartment

Client profile: Young couple / traditional but wants a modern edge / serene palette

Palette: Ivory & Zinc new fabric collection

Apartment: Pre-war Upper East Side

Park Avenue apartment rendering

Park Avenue apartment rendering

I arrive early morning to check on the set for the first scene.

I arrive early morning to check on the set for the first scene.

It's 7:00 AM and the crew has been up all night putting the set together.

It’s 7:00 AM and the crew has been up all night putting the set together.

…still lots to do before I can set up the furniture and feel confident that my idea is going to work.

…still lots to do before I can set up the furniture and feel confident that my idea is going to work.

I review my vision with the photographer working with me throughout the shoot. He is terrific and very patient with my hands-on approach.

I review my vision with David Hill, Diana’s photographer working with me throughout the shoot. David is terrific and very patient with my hands-on approach.

The day is flying by and we are almost ready to begin shooting.

The day is flying by and we are almost ready to begin shooting.

The final shot…beautiful!  It has been a long day. As I leave the studio, the crew begins the tear down and works through the night setting up our next scene for tomorrow’s shoot.

The final shot…beautiful! It has been a long day. As I leave the studio, the crew begins the tear down and works through the night setting up our next scene for tomorrow’s shoot.

Day 2: The Bel Air Residence

Client profile: LA couple / Modern and dramatic / deep tones

Palette: Amethyst new fabric collection

House: Remodeled 1940s residence

Bel Air Residence rendering

Bel Air Residence rendering

I arrive early for day 2 and the crew has made great progress overnight building the new set. We are ahead of schedule for the day’s work.

I arrive early for day 2 and the crew has made great progress overnight building the new set. We are ahead of schedule for the day’s work.

I set up the flowers and accessories.  I used fabrics from my new Amethyst colorway and have decided to push the purple idea into a new “neutral alternative.”

I set up the flowers and accessories. I used fabrics from my new Amethyst colorway and have decided to push the purple idea into a new “neutral alternative.”

The photographer and I review today’s shots.  My iPhone camera has been a great tool in sharing my ideas on shooting details and composition… the photographer’s patience is still amazing as I work through my thoughts.

David and I review today’s shots. My iPhone camera has been a great tool in sharing my ideas on shooting details and composition. David’s patience is still amazing as I work through my thoughts.

The crew installs the last few pieces and we are ready to shoot the room scenes.

The crew installs the last few pieces and we are ready to shoot the room scenes.

The final shot…and we are all feeling confident and looking forward to tomorrow’s shoot.

The final shot…and we are all feeling confident and looking forward to tomorrow’s shoot.

Day Three: The SoHo Loft

Client profile: Single professional/Comfortable sophisticated modern/Layered neutrals

Palette: Platinum new fabric collection

Loft: Modern/multifunctional space/great light

SoHo Loft rendering

SoHo Loft rendering

Our last day for shooting and it has been a long night for the crew but I am happy and amazed at the progress of the new set

Our last day for shooting and it has been a long night for the crew, but I am happy and amazed at the progress of the new set.

I immediately begin to view the space through the camera’s lens to put together my list of desired images for the day.

I immediately begin to view the space through the camera’s lens to put together my list of desired images for the day.

It is early morning and I have an idea for a large tree to anchor this large volume of space.  The stylist for the studio begins searching local resources and finds me the perfect tree and it’s only 8:30am…that’s teamwork.

It is early morning and I have an idea for a large tree to anchor this large volume of space. Fran Marshal, who is a stylist for the studio begins searching local resources and finds me the perfect tree – and it’s only 8:30 AM. That’s teamwork.

Furniture is placed and we are moving fast. Great sunlight today really helps capture the mood I am going for.

Furniture is placed and we are moving fast. Great sunlight today really helps capture the mood I am going for.

The crew waits while I create a tablescape for one of the detail shots.

The crew waits while I create a tablescape for one of the detail shots.

The final shot…perfect!

The final shot…perfect!

It has been three long days, but we are all amazed at what we were able to accomplish. I have to give thanks to all the team at the Baker factory that produced all the furnishings I requested for the shoot in record time and to the crew at Diana Parrish’s studio whose efforts made my concept for the catalog a reality.

The new Thomas Pheasant Collection catalog is now available on bakerfurniture.com.  Order or download your copy to see more beautiful photography and inspiration behind the collection.

10 Comments

  1. Ron van Empel, The Netherlands says:

    That was a very interesting post!!!
    Showing was goes on behind the scenes is just what I love to see and I think a lot of design enthusiasts also.
    To do this will show us how much work is involved in creating ‘just those roomscenes’. So interesting to see how a set is created. I seriously always thought real rooms in real houses were used.
    Without knowing this, it all looks so effortless. One hardly thinks about it.
    Now ….I will never look at a ‘roomscene shot’ the same way as before.
    I think, at this time and age, people want to see how things are produced. It is a sign of the times. It is also a good way to show your clients what happends before a product is finially ready to be put on the market. It makes the product so much more interesting. It no longer is a ‘dead’ product. Now there is a story behind it.
    Kind Regards
    Ron van Empel ( empel collections )

  2. Victoria Athens says:

    All beautiful settings. If I were forced to pick a favorite, it would have to be the amethyst collection. I love the idea of purple — certainly the grayed-down color you have chosen — as a neutral alternative.

  3. Tom, how wonderful to look back and see the journey we traveled together in order to launch your vision for this fabulous new collection! It is one of the most rewarding experiences of our collective careers at Diana Parrish.

  4. Brendan Sheehan says:

    That’s amazing that you were able to create such stunning and authentic images in just 3 days!! The “T-phez” version of extreme home makeover!! Really fun to see “behind the scenes” as to how the magic is created!

  5. R. Jane Morgan says:

    Really enjoyed reading about what goes on behind the scences. You all did an amazing job creating the three vignettes. My only regret is that while I was at Highpoint in October I did not make it over to the Baker showroom. This will not happen the next time.

  6. Amy Wakefield says:

    Wow, wow, wow. Just reading this makes me exhausted! 3 amazing and beautiful spaces!

  7. I found this post to be informative, creative, beautiful and inspiring. Wow! I will now download your new Thomas Pheasant Collection catalong!

  8. Priscilla MacDuff says:

    I love what you did with the loft, but it could use a screen to hide the bed, not a tall one but something that would show the art over the bed. Just a thought

  9. Absolutely stunning and inspiring!

  10. Simply stunning, can’t wait to see these beautiful pieces in LA on the 13th!

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