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Thomas De Bruyne, Cafeine
Thomas has worked with architects and interior designers all over the world and is known for his ability to capture the unique atmosphere and ambience of the projects he shoots.
Definitely. I bring a graphic approach and eye to a space, which helps me to understand proportion and scale. It’s about deciding on a specific composition and how the image is framed to give exactly the right result that looks completely natural.
I’m known for shooting very fast – sometimes I’ve been told too fast! But to me it’s so instinctive, almost a second nature, and I can quickly pick up the ambience of a space. I like to try lots of different angles and light, using three exposures for each shot that can then be merged into one. That gives a fine, soft, rich image that gives everything more depth and texture.
It has given me an understanding of the need for balance between the creative and the commercial. Clients want a result and often there is only a day to shoot a project, so that is a consideration. It also means that I can view the image with a commercial eye, looking at white space and where a logo might sit.
For me, VOLA is an indication of someone’s sense of quality and style. If I walk into a kitchen or bathroom and see VOLA I know that it’s going to be a good shoot! The tap is absolutely the most important object in a kitchen, it forms the focal point of the shot. If VOLA is there, it reflects well on the rest of the house and no other product does that. It’s definitely my favourite tap.
There are so many, but I would have to mention Nathalie Deboel, the Belgian interior designer. We are collaborating on a book at the moment, which is very exciting.
I also find inspiration in the work of the architect Frederic Kielemoes, as well as contemporary interior architects like Brussels-based Nicolas Schuybroeck (named as one of the top 100 designers by AD France every year from 2013 to 2020) and Framework Studio in Amsterdam.
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Vlaminick Van Wetter architecten
Atelier Leymarie Gourdon
The way it works with me is that references get stored in my head. So when I visit a museum or gallery, I find that the references emerge later when I’m working. It could be a painting, a photograph or a piece of graphic design, so it’s all in there. Specifically, I would cite Belgian artists Raoul Dekeyser and Koen van de Broek for their linear, minimal style. American artists like Ellsworth Kelly, whose work is very graphic, and Donald Judd, whose furniture design and sculpture gained such global acclaim, are also major influences.
It’s a big part of what makes a good result. They are looking for ambience, balance and an image that people will understand and respond to. Also, they often don’t want to show everything in their home, for obvious reasons. So I need to decide what to keep in, what to leave out, to tell the story and create the right atmosphere without including everything. Sometimes that could be showing just part of a space or object.
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Music is so important to me and I have a huge collection of vinyl. I’m thinking of working with music for videos, adding a new layer to them. It would be great for Instagram Reels and would bring additional colour and texture to the imagery.
Every year there are new tools and techniques to try, especially in post-production, that give a finer, more natural result. I never stop looking for new solutions. It will keep changing and even a few years from now, I expect that the way we create images will be very different. It’s the same for architects and designers – they have to keep exploring new techniques, or we end up just doing the same thing for decades. I’m always searching for new ways to make more beautiful, natural images that perfectly capture the atmosphere of a space.