Responses by Pum Lefebure, cofounder/chief creative officer, Design Army
Background: Our goal was to reflect new artistic director Septime Webre’s innovative, electrifying, high-energy and wildly unexpected vision for Hong Kong Ballet. Our intent was to capture the audience’s imagination with that same escapism and fantasy, and transport people—regardless of age—to a timeless Hong Kong where past meets present.
Reasoning: The concept “Never Stand Still” brings Septime Webre’s amazing, new 2018/2019 creative productions to life with a modern interpretation of iconic Hong Kong. Starring dancers from Hong Kong Ballet, the brand photography reimagines the classic art and iconic Asian city with a wildly fresh twist—establishing a consistent, eye-popping brand language that is recognizable, unforgettable and undeniably Hong Kong Ballet.
Challenges: Capturing eight shots, in multiple locations, in a single day? Quite a feat! But photographer Dean Alexander and I are a long time collaborators and know how to accomplish a lot in one day. Also, while we sweated every detail, hiccups always pop up. For example, when we sketched out the Jumbo Kingdom Restaurant boat image, we thought it was going to be much bigger. But after the final scouting round on location in Hong Kong, not only did we discover the boat was tiny, but also the boat was super wobbly! After some careful boat maneuvering, we caught a break as the fog machines were rolling, wind was optimal and the dancers finally got their sea legs.
Favorite details: Inspired by the movie In the Mood for Love by filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai, we chose Mido Café—a chic micro 1950s cafe that had an incredible graphic appeal and the perfect backdrop for a modern day romance—for one of our shots. What makes it surreal is that the cafe is so tiny and the dancer must have kicked that ceiling 100 times. We’re glad the owner didn’t kick us out.
Visual influences: We looked at the familiar elements of Hong Kong. We created a bold, rich color palette—with China rich reds, jade and mint greens—and brought in iconic elements like dim sum, oriental fans and parasols, but we reimagined all the archetypes. We were also inspired by specific iconic locations, like the Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant, the Tin Hau Temple and the high-rise apartments known as the Ying Fat Buildings.