LUXURY HOSPITALITY / CREATIVE DIRECTION
Creating new lifestyle photography for Regent Hotels & Resorts
With a rapidly growing portfolio of hotels and resorts, the legendary Regent brand sought to refresh its photographic identity through two lifestyle photography and videography shoots in Cannes & Hong Kong.
About this project
Founded in 1971 by three legendary names in luxury hospitality – Bob Burns, George Rafael and Adrian Zecha – Regent Hotels & Resorts paved the way to modern luxury, opening cult hotels like the Regent Hawaii, Regent Hong Kong, Regent Mayfair New York and Regent Beverly Wilshire.
The brand would be acquired by Four Seasons, most of their hotels changing pavilions, and would then enter a period of dormancy before joining IHG Hotels & Resorts in 2018.
The new team set to work to reimagine the brand, channeling the counter-culture spirit of its founders and working with the vast archive of architectural, interior design and service culture elements accumulated over 50 years.
I was called in to design and deliver a brand shoot in two of the brand’s flagships, in Cannes and Hong Kong, with long-term partners 24 Productions and two amazing photographers and videographers.
Thinking up, directing and executing a complex video and photo shoot in pre-opening hotels on two continents.
Early planning materials explored the creative avenues for the shoot, balancing the brand’s ambitions and its newly created creative platform, Regent Presents
Creative direction & planning
The early creative routes leaned naturally towards the cinematic DNA of the brand, which also inspired its Regent Presents creative platform. From the early treatment to the storyboarding of the films and scenes, the team imagined a number of sequences that could be narratives of their own.
Entering a novel, exquisitely designed space for the first time. Slowing down to appreciate an artwork. An encounter under the arcades. These were some of the prompts which generated our 60+ shot shotlist, and helped to anchor the storyboards of 20+ short-form videos, along with a longer 1-minute film.
“The world of cinema and storytelling is in the Regent DNA. The perfect location, the inspiring backdrop, the actors’ residence, and our dashing guests.”
– Extract from Regent Presents
Among the requirements were to shoot in both flasghips of the Regent brand, newly reopened after complete, multi-million-dollar renovations: Regent Hong Kong and Carlton Cannes, a Regent Hotel.
“Each image, a still from a film you must watch.”
– Extract from Regent Presents
Working closely with 24 Productions, local teams at both hotels, photographers Gareth Brown in Hong Kong and Przemyslaw Niececki in Cannes, reccies and pre-production plans were made, with the added complication of Covid-related travel restrictions and some renovation still on-going.
Visual example of Regent Presents, the brand’s creative platform which inspired the shoot’s direction
To portray what we – and Regent – thinks of as “Uplifting experiences”, we poured over blueprints, ligthing projections, material, casting choices and styling notes.
We needed to strike the right balance to best convey the natural elegance of the spaces and that of their most refined guests.
Finalising the casting, wardrobe and schedules based on sunlight and weather forecasts.
The first shots in Cannes came through beautifully, capturing the unparallelled quality of French Riviera sunlight
We played with the unique architecture of Carlton Cannes, a Regent Hotel, uplifted by the transformative renovation of architect and interior designer Tristan Auer.
The iconic entrance and uniformed doorkeeper
Cherished moments, utilising the Personal Havens interspersed throughout each Regent hotel, as one of the brand’s design signature
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the other half of our team was on the ground in Hong Kong, preparing the second part of the shoot.
Part of the endeavour was to maintain continuity in terms of treatment, finishes and overall feel.
The conditions couldn’t have more different – we oscillated between bright Winter sun on the Riviera and foggy mornings in Victoria Harbour. It meant making the most of sunny spells and cloudy moments alike, in both locations. Besides deft lighting by both photographers and assistants, of course.