Douglas Freidman and Donghia make the interior personal
One can wear their space like clothes. Constructing an interior design is the same as constructing an outfit. It says to the world, “This is who I am, and this is what I care about.” Douglas Friedman took this to heart when assembling Donghia’s campaign, focusing on the intersection of personal and public style. He highlighted the dual inspiration behind Donghia (the designer's father was a tailor) by juxtaposing well-crafted interiors against impeccably hung apparel.
So many elements, the clothes, the casting, the curation of furniture pieces, meant a lot of moving parts. Donghia had their vision planned out, but it had to be executed in real time. Douglas explains the beginning stages of creating the campaign saying, “There’s only so much you can do on paper. And then once you start to put the elements together that process creates a whole new set of challenges that needs to be addressed and solved.” That necessity to change required a fluidity from Donghia that they managed expertly. “The people at Donghia were great collaborators,” Douglas says. “And they were very open to the creative process with me.”
Interiors are already challenging enough, and have a long list of inherent boundaries. The room is a fixed size, the page that the ad will be printed on is inflexible. “You’re kind of building out, you’re creating these environments and everything has to sit so specifically within this box you’re given,” says Douglas about those limitations. “That’s what takes all day. Because you end up adjusting things by the inch. Everything is so hyper considered, every line, every shadow, everything becomes important because it’s occupying valuable real estate.”
It’s a three dimensional puzzle that doesn’t have a correct answer. The variables are infinite, and the image becomes less about perfection and more about the pleasure of a delicately constructed composition. “That’s the challenge and that’s the fun part,” Douglas says.
Unlike a high stakes fashion shoot that is based on energy and eking out a performance from a model, shooting an interior like for Donghia allows a harmony to build over time. The image becomes about the meticulous creation based on reflection. It’s object mediation, finding the voice of the components of the room. Douglas explains, “You’re meditating on something. You’re looking. You’re staring.” Building a silent and visual harmony. “It’s such a nice headspace to be in.”
This near obsessive consideration has become an integral part of the way Douglas approaches his own space, and changed the way he sees his environment. He says, “Every room I walk into [I think], “How would I photograph it?” So my aesthetic, how I curate my own space, is based on that. Very geometric. There’s a method to it.” His own space has become a sort of outfit to express what he cares about and what he sees.
The Hair and Make-Up were done by another B&A artist, Kerstin Jaeger.