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June 30, 2022 | Products News

In Profile – Glen Proebstel

Meet international stylist, Glen Proebstel, whose richly evocative signature style has set the mood of Smartstone’s beautiful imagery since 2014. New York-based Glen’s high calibre commercial clients include H&M Home, Marks & Spencer, Sonos, Woolmark, West Elm, Zara Home and CB2, for whom he styled a shoot starring Lenny Kravitz in the Bahamas!

Let’s take a stylist’s eye view behind the scenes of Smartstone campaigns, where creativity, spirited synergy and logistical precision make visual magic.

Q What is a stylist’s role on a photoshoot?
A You’re pretty much being responsible for anything you bring to the studio or location that is placed in front of the camera. For me 80% of the role of a good stylist is getting your logistics down and having a strong and clear vision of what want to create. In a commercial landscape, you also need to weave in the client’s expectations and balance out your aesthetic within the brief.

Q How would you describe your distinctive style?
A I would say that it has a very modern, Wabi-sabi-esque* vibe to it. Texture is a very important part of creating an image for me as well. I even co-created a book dedicated to it called Perfect Imperfect: the beauty of accident, age & patina, which was photographed by Sharyn Cairns who has shot most of the Smartstone campaigns. I often try to break out of this aesthetic and move into minimal modern or vibrant colours but somehow, someway, I’m always led back to this signature style which feels natural to me.
* Wabi-sabi is a Japanese aesthetic concept that finds beauty in imperfection and impermanence.

Q What is the styling process on a Smartstone studio shoot?
A First I work with thek withit the client [Smartstone] and creative agency [This is Ikon] on dimensions, colours and build kitchen or bathroom sets around these designs to reflect the environment that we are creating for each theme. I then plan out an interior space for each and then we take smaller detailed shots from there. Once that part of the recipe is brewing and being handled by the stonemasons and set builders, I then start pulling together my props list for my assistants to start pulling in. I put together a visual mood board for each theme and then list all the props or furniture pieces we will need for each, from lighting to soap pumps, through to taps and kitchen cookware. As a stylist, you also need to be aware of new trends and products, and people crafting amazing objects that fold into the look and feel of the shoot.

Q When creating the Ibrido campaign visuals late last year, Smartstone implemented leading rendering technology in lieu of a traditional photoshoot. How did you adapt to this new digital design technology to style the Ibrido images?
A Well, this was an interesting process. Until 2021, we took the traditional photographic shoot path but when Smartstone decided to launch its new, technologically advanced Ibrido product in Covid lockdown, we ventured into the world of 3-D renders. So, I thought I’d embrace new technology and see how I could work within new parameters where we were using innovative design technology to match an innovative new product. This rendering technology provided us with the opportunity to take our campaign to the next level by creating full kitchens, not just inspirational ‘environments,’ or vignettes. Due to logistics this is not usually feasible for each stone with traditional photography.
Searching through a 3-D library to source images for rendering and find the right products for each interior, I had to think about scale, colour, texture and lighting, just as I would on a traditional shoot. It was quite labour- intensive but the proof is in the pudding and the final resultss areare marvellous.

Q What you think of Smartstone and its surfaces?
A Smartstone has certainly secured a strong presence within the interior design, architecture and building industries. I believe that the product speaks for itself. When you see the quality and nuances in the detailing and finishing, it’s hard to believe that it’s an engineered surface.

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