Flötotto – PRO Campaign / Film
An interview with communication designer Florian Lambl on the design approach for PRO and working with star photographer Oliviero Toscani.
Mr. Lambl, what is the guiding idea behind the communication and marketing of PRO?
Florian Lambl: We think our idea is simply very logical. Oliviero Toscani, the photographer with whom we had the pleasure to work together, extended his arm when he saw all the wonderful chairs in the photo studio and said: “Please, have a seat!”. He was addressing the models who would serve as substitutes for all the people who would sooner or later be sitting on these chairs. In our communication strategy, we focus on people, the users, because they communicate the crucial point: that PRO delivers a very pleasurable sitting experience and, what’s more, that you can even move around on it.
What was the reason for selecting Oliviero Toscani, a photographer who clearly polarizes opinion? And did he agree immediately?
Florian Lambl: When Konstantin Grcic introduced the project to us in all its various designs, it was clear to me that we had to communicate the most obvious fact: this is a fantastic chair for everyone and for all kinds of situations. It’s a high tech product, it’s colourful, highly ergonomic, designed by a world- renowned designer, available in many different designs and reasonably priced so it’s affordable for almost everyone. And when you want to communicate via images in as simple as possible a way, then you can hardly overlook the wonderfully humorous and energy-infused portraits that Toscani has done for Benetton and Prénatal. When you then delve deeper into his work, you will encounter numerous icons that are not even shocking. So Konstantin and I exchanged a few emails containing these images, just for fun, for trying to define a visual language. And then there was that moment between two of these emails where we simply gave Toscani a ring. One month later, we met him in Berlin and from then on it was clear that he would be the photographer for the campaign. Flötotto have always supported the idea that is a rather unusual one for the furniture industry: to abandon the usual sterile milieu photography in favour of direct communication via people. It’s people who breathe life into this chair by simply using it. We wanted to communicate this aspect by means of visual language.
Which challenges did you encounter during the design process?
Florian Lambl: It’s a very complex project and this complexity was most strongly felt in the organizational aspects: we had a photo production where both the shooting with Toscani and the still life shooting were run in parallel. And if you go through all the possible combinations of the chair, you end up with some 250 possible chair designs. Altogether 60 people worked on this production. Additionally, we had to anticipate how this would look in different media. There are not only catalogues but also large format posters, smaller posters, advertisements, documentation and an image film, shot by Marc Comes from CHBP during the photo production, which will be shown at the trade fair.
Photography: Oliviero Toscani
Conceptual Planning: LHCK, Katharina Kemmler
Casting: Tomorrow is another day, Eva Gödel
Film by Marc Comes, CHBP
Music: Carlo Peters