Set designer Amanda Rodriguez on creating interesting work in a fast driven digital era

SET DESIGNER AMANDA RODRIGUEZ ON CREATING  

INTERESTING WORK IN A FAST- DRIVEN DIGITAL ERA

INTERVIEW


Stockholm-based Amanda Rodriguez work as a set designer and stylist for commercial and editorial clients. Throughout the years she has found her own tone of voice, often focusing on a specific material or detail in an image, and letting that set the tone. Light, as well as the the absence of light, plays an important role in her compositions, and the result is often subtle and poetic. Rodriguez set up her studio in 2014 and work with a number of well known brands such as Ikea, Zara Home and H&M.

TNE           What’s your background and how did you end up doing what you do? Have you always had an aesthetic eye?

AR              I’m a Stockholm-based set designer working with interiors, concepts, shape, colour and light. I have always been drawn to photography and form. My father is a photographer and my mother is a creative director, so it came quite naturally. My fashion studies were quite practical and I learned a lot about working with different people with different skills and to collaborate. Studying art history was more theoretical and taught me the process of interpreting an image. This has been, and is, an important part of the way I work today.

Amanda Rodriguez Studio located on Södermalm in Stockholm.

TNE           Whats important to you in your studio?

AR              My studio is located on Södermalm in Stockholm, I found the space in March 2019 and renovated it lightly with calm and warm colours on walls and floor and with enough cabinet space for props to make the overall feeling calm. It’s a space where I can relax, get energy, get inspired, be in my own oasis. This is really important for me, especially in- between the shoots, to just pause and relax. But it’s also a space where a lot of creativity and work get done, all the planning and prepping and where I collect my props and have meetings.

TNE           You have developed your own poetic aesthetic, how would you describe your work, and how did you develop your specific sense of style?

AR              I feel that my work is a balance between reality and illusion where the materials, shapes and hidden details are in focus. Regardless if it is a commercial or an editorial assignment, my work is all about creating a timeless image. I have always been really consistent with what I show and how I work but still really curious to find new ways for each client. I think that balance - consistency and curiosity - is an important mix in my work. I have always followed my gut feeling. Clients that book me are comfortable with my aesthetics and trust me.

Photography by Kristofer Johnsson

Photography by Kristofer Johnsson

Photography by Mikkel Mortensen

Photography by Renée Kemps


”I am drawn to interesting shapes, materials like stone, wood, plastic, glass, paper and so on. It can be a beautiful marble piece, a used roll of tape or an avocado packaging from the supermarket. The balance between beauty and oddity is something that attracts me.”

TNE           How do you develop - and stand by - your own voice in a commercially driven world?

AR              In our digital world, new images are created all the time. For me, the most important thing is to convey a feeling, something that can touch the viewer. I believe in an image that can live and have a value over a long period time. I try to avoid what is regarded as trendy. In the end it’s the image the consumer will remember and associate with a brand, which of course is also the goal for my client.

TNE           What types of objects do you usually fall for?

AR              I am drawn to interesting shapes, materials like stone, wood, plastic, glass, paper and so on. It can be a beautiful marble piece, a used roll of tape or an avocado packaging from the supermarket. The balance between beauty and oddity is something that attracts me.

TNE           Whats your relationship to objects, do you collect tings, and if so, what?

AR           I’m a collector, most of my objects is collected in my studio, where I have a cabinet for each material - textile in one, stone in one, paper and books in one, painted shapes and cubes in one, glass in one and so on. It may sound a lot but everything is really consistent. To keep order and organise my surrounding opens space for my creativity. In my private life I prefer to have less but beautiful things around me. Instead of adding more and more I change an object for another one and rearrange

TNE           When everything is increasingly image driven, what are the main challenges in your work?

AR           Today we live in a very digital world where everything goes fast and is very competitive. Considering the stream of images we are exposed to every day, an image must really touch the viewer otherwise we just keep scrolling. The biggest challenge is to create that image, to do interesting work that is one step ahead and affect the viewer emotionally. The product doesn’t need to be the focus of the image.

TNE            What are your plans ahead?

AR             What I have learned from this devastating year we have left behind us is to not take anything for granted.

Photography by Erik Lefvander

Photography by Renée Kemps


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