“We want to do something different!” That was the first sentence of the briefing for this project. This is something creatives like me love to hear and immediately my brain started to come up with ideas.
With the production team and CGI artists, we worked out a couple of strategies to present to the customer. And one strategy, inspired by car photography, took the client’s interest. Lifestyle shots with CGI buildings in a semi-real environment that provoke emotion and show the vibrant energy of the “15-minute city” concept.
And so, here is the result. Our client even got the international attention of world authorities in urban planning on handling the whole project and putting it onto the market.
You can read the interview with the client below!
If you have (litterally) one minute to spare, check out our behind the scenes video. This gives you an idea of how we work.
If you want to know more about The Creative Collective, read further below.
When you want to read more about this project, underneath you can find an interview with the client, Animotions and Bram. This is a detailed viewpoint on how this collaboration lead to a great result with international recognition.
“You can no longer conduct marketing from an island. A transparent ecosystem with all your partners gives you the most creative results,” says Sonja De Greef, commercially responsible for residential projects at Nextensa. “I love putting creative professionals from different disciplines together. That way they challenge each other and push boundaries together. When Pieter from Animotions came up with the idea to work with a lifestyle photographer, I didn’t hesitate for long. I trust you, go for it’ was my gut feeling because as a developer you have to stand out among others. More than ever, we have to seduce people. Buyers must not only fall in love with a building, but with the whole site they will soon be living in or investing in. In real estate marketing, attention is often paid to a nice promising picture with bright blue sky and the surroundings are somewhat obscured. I don’t like playing this game. I therefore ask the marketing partners to pay attention both to the truthful architecture and to the human and environmental aspect.
What you see is at least what you get!”.
To give the new residential project in Brussels its own face and atmosphere, inspiration was taken from the automotive world. Lifestyle photographer Bram Declercq already had a few projects running there. “In the automotive sector, campaigns for cars have long been launched without putting the focus on the cars. Actually, we wanted to do the same with this campaign: show real estate without only emphasising on the bricks or the façade plans, but much more on the feeling that the residential site conveys. The real estate sector is the only one where this attention to perception has not yet sufficiently penetrated.”
Pieter Lozie of Animotions adds. “It is actually bizarre to see that in real estate, so much attention is paid to whether or not a project is located in a triple A location, but then the focus is solely on the architecture and not on the assets of the location of the site.”
And so Animotions and Bram Declercq did it differently this time, together with production house Elliot with whom both companies form The Creative Collective.
This cooperation gives them the opportunity to take a multidisciplinary approach to projects, allowing photography, CGI and video production to flow seamlessly together.
Nothing is left to chance.
Charlotte from Elliot meticulously prepares the entire shoot: from capturing and briefing the models to arranging the catering. So that Bram can fully focus on the photography. And that is also done very thoroughly.
“I visit the location twice beforehand. Among other things, I look at what the light is like at what time of day and what perspectives will work best. On the basis of this, I work out a shoot book that determines when and where which images will be taken. From then on, I can let the spontaneity of the models work.”
Because that is exactly what happens. Bram takes lifestyle images of models and mixes them with the meticulous CGI images of Animotions, which are of photographic quality. And that doesn’t just happen either.
“We pay an incredible amount of attention to the framing of the images. Everyone thinks that all the attention of the viewer will go to the model in the foreground, while the heat mapping proves that unconsciously a lot of attention is paid to the architecture in the background. The fact that the model then also makes a hand gesture to encourage the viewer to look at the right part also helps of course…”, Pieter frames.
The fact that photographers and CGI studios work together in such an intensive and professional manner is not evident.
“As a photographer, I only want to work with a CGI studio if the results it produces are of photographic quality. But if they are, then you do bring something about. Then you can effectively push boundaries. And that is the case with Animotions”, says Bram.
“It helps, of course, that as a photographer I have always been interested in CGI and that I started out as an architectural photographer. Pieter is also a gifted architectural photographer himself and that creates a bond.”
Both houses excite and challenge each other to do even better.
“We like to involve Bram in the assessment of our CGI images so that he can look at our creations with a photographic eye. We have learned from him how important light is. For example, a wall can never have exactly the same colour gradient; in other words, the light can never be spread entirely evenly over the entire wall. Only then can you get a realistic form in architecture.”
This way of working has already produced very surprising and high-quality images in which the distinction between photography and CGI can hardly be made.
And the campaign is also catching the eye within the sector. Nextensa has already received compliments from marketing professionals on its approach.
“In our campaign, we also play up the concept of the 15-minute city. Professor Carlos Moreno, a world authority on this urban planning principle, has also noticed this. He has already congratulated us on the way we want to lift up the neighbourhood and the way we communicate about it. From now on, he will be using our project as one of the best practices in that field,” says Sonja De Greef.
“This way of working is both instructive and driving. I see marketing as a mirror of your organisation. If you can and may shift boundaries, it shows how innovative your company is on the inside. “
During the redevelopment process of Tour & Taxis, Nextensa has prioritized giving a modern interpretation to the historic buildings on the site, while respecting their authenticity and architectural heritage. The original character of Tour & Taxis is intrinsically linked to its history. It was here, between 1902 and 1907, that one of the world’s first multi-modal freight transport platforms – incorporating water, road and rail – was constructed, along with the associated buildings.
Making images is more than just taking a pictures, it involves planning, merging ideas from different creative fields, etc. When you want your result to be the best of the best, you need experts in those fields to succeed. The Creative Collective brings those experts together and is able to offer you results. The advantage is that you, as a client, get something exciting and we just do what we like to do!
Client: Nextensa (Sonja De Greef – Marketing)
Photography: Bram Declercq
Assistant: Jonathan Du Mortier
Retouches: Kristina Gentvainyte
Production: Charlotte Dekuysscher – Elliot
Set Assistent: Wim Vanysacker
BTS: Jens Vandenbroeke