One to One Hundred 17 The Grey

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    David Hillier, Jamie Holmes
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Member
    Emily Jurilla
  • Client
    Mark Speedy

Perched on the ridge of Great North Road in Grey Lynn, The Grey is an apartment development with unit types ranging from studios through to penthouses.

We were engaged to produce 3D renders to showcase the development. The architects provided the base 3D model and interior specifications but our team created the shot list and had full creative control over the angles, lighting, grading and styling.

The Grey features monochromatic cladding including charocal brick, off-the-form concrete and black metal. It is the texture of these materials – and how they respond to light – that gives interest and sophistication to this urban design. Our challenge was to make these materials the ‘hero’ while not letting them appear too cold or brutal. We have achieved this by immersing the building in lush greenery – both within the project and in the surrounding context - and using the architecture to frame the spectacular view.

The interior styling also softens the raw architecture and adds a bit of ‘lux’ to how the building is presented. We have chosen a range of contemporary, sculptural furniture in warm tones that includes pieces from some of NZ’s best designers. The rounded edges, bold curves, and cylindrical elements create a pleasing contrast with the square lines of the building, while the mix of leathers, wools, velvets, timbers and stone adds to the textured palette. Layered cushions, plush throws, minimalist artwork and high-end homeware add to the curated aesthetic.

Our approach to the choice of angles was inspired by architectural photography: square-on composition; a mix of lenses and orientation (landscape and portrait); the use of depth and focus; and a desire to capture the essence of the built form. We explored key design features – the stepping of the western façade and the large level 1 private courtyards – with close-up studies using zoom lenses and heavy depth-of-field. These images, while not part of our formal engagement, add a richness and realism to the set.

We chose to light the scenes (and subsequently the drone shoot) with afternoon lighting so strong sunlight could warm up the grey palette and create an interesting shadow play on their textured surfaces. The afternoon sun also penetrates deep into the interiors meaning the exterior is not as over-exposed as in the middle of the day – giving a better colour range to the view and a less harsh image overall.

The dusk three-quarter render is the only exception from this afternoon lighting, done so we could have the interior lights on and activity inside to give some life to the building (as all the other shots are so architecturally-focused}. By removing the blue of the sky and reflections, we have kept the look cohesive with the other renders. The grading of the image set is restrained with soft shadows; subtle tonal variation; desaturated colours; and a warm overall grade – the effect of which is a beautiful balance to the renders. They are striking and sensuous without being too flashy or loud.