Bow Tie 2.0: Shoot to Chill
Establishing relationships and shooting fashion photography for office furniture.
Whether one is a weaver, product designer, photographer, or interior designer—among other careers in the design industry—these artistic individuals possess a singular commonality: strict attention to detail. Designers and photographers have historically developed mutually beneficial relationships because of their ability to view and analyze content with a fine-tooth comb.
For example, creating desirable interiors to entice employees into the office has been a leading topic in the ongoing and evolving return-to-work narrative. From designing a “resimercial” space—interiors that use softer, warmer materials and tones found in residential spaces—or embracing “office peacocking” which focuses on the incorporation of bold colour palettes and untraditional elements within the office setting, these tools are some of the many used to attract employees back to the shared workspace.
To embrace this new way of outfitting commercial interiors, designers are looking to interior photographers to capture the intent behind each minute detail and provide a proper framework for each element within the shared space. While the purpose for each individual component may be generally understood, it is part of the photographer’s job to compose the intention that illustrates the message behind the photoshoot.
Choosing a Location
When collaborating with photographer David Peterson on Bow Tie 2.0‚—a recent photoshoot from Teknion that highlights the elements of fashion in furniture design—he emphasized the importance of structure and landscape. The house’s frame, angle, and positioning, as well as its natural exterior background, are analyzed separately and then together to determine if the furniture and chosen location can co-exist in harmony.
Shot at the iconic Stahl House in the hills above Los Angeles, also known as Case Study House #22, Peterson drew inspiration from the modernist principles—economy, practicality, material innovation—of this residential project. The rationale for using the Stahl House’s simplicity and Southern California’s tranquil aesthetic was to remove the brackets that separate office and residential furniture, allowing people to look at furniture with fresh eyes, see the breadth of the product offering and how pieces pulled from different categories work together.
Peterson’s experience in curating softened office interiors helped this shoot embody the impact of more contemporary product designs on mid-century innovation and used colourful textiles to add a layer of materiality, balancing the architecture’s strict metal, glass, and concrete geometry. Adding simple tables and lamps maintained a warm, inviting residential tone that evoked a calm yet energized, and purposeful yet pleasant feeling. “We could create images that tell a story to which viewers can relate, that create a look to which one can aspire,” says Peterson.
Styles and Profiles
Creating a theme and overall purpose for any photoshoot is similar to developing a storyboard for a new film or novel. There is usually a clear beginning, middle, and end laid out, a predetermined setting, planned colour schemes, and, of course, proper lighting. For this shoot, taking the idea that a bow tie is both a moment and a potential conversation starter, the image portfolio reimagines the concept of “office furniture” in the same way; more than a simple display of furniture, the Bow Tie 2.0 photoshoot is a “vibe” that captures the designer’s vision.
Keeping this theme in mind, Peterson drew inspiration and photographic techniques from fashion shoots while providing a subtle nod to California’s laid-back nature. Shooting from every top, bottom, and side angle—with and without models—highlights Bow Tie 2.0’s ideas about supporting basic human needs like comfort and wellbeing in any location, not just inside our own homes. The Stahl House’s entirely open framework promotes fluidity and evokes effortless yet sophisticated energy presented in residential living areas and commercial offices alike.
Collaboration and Feedback
Any discrepancies or differences can potentially fracture the melody created by each person on-site contributing to the photoshoot, so it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. This ensures the photography represents the design and captures the desired ambiance and emotional impact. For Teknion, emphasizing that work can be done anytime and anywhere was key in this photoshoot, if the environment provides users with the components that make them happy, promotes productivity, and supports the natural rhythm of work.
Choosing to showcase office furniture at the Stahl House removes the familiar lines of residential, commercial, and hospitality spaces, shifting the tides of normalized comfort (and slight conformity) to rework interior and exterior spaces into working for, instead of against us.
While yearly trends come and go, a constant will be producing visually stimulating interiors that consider colour psychology and are inclusive of residential interior elements. We’ve emerged victorious from an age of dark, dusky cubicles, and strive to create office interiors and workplace furniture that embraces the softer, more comfortable elements of life while maintaining a professional profile. Remote work has made employees appreciate feelings of relaxation and comfort during work hours; a feeling many are not ready to let slip from their grasp. Taking inspiration from fashion photography allows for new ways to illustrate how designers can develop functional spaces that directly serve user needs without sacrificing aesthetics.
Steve Delfino is vice president of Corporate Marketing and Product Management at Teknion