FRONTLINE

Masha Kontchakova,
Creative director,
& founder at Frontline Studio

Head of communication and creative director of Frontline Studio, Masha Kontchakova puts her sharp eye on brands to help them emerge. For French Bloom, the alcohol-free bubbly wine, she brought her creativity to develop the brand’s art direction through a photo and video campaign.

What inspires you about French Bloom and what were your inspirations for the Art Direction of this project?

French Bloom has developed a non-alcoholic sparkling wine that is a new version of champagne for those who do not wish to drink alcohol. I wanted to find out how this drink is different from others – wine, beer… Champagne by its very nature is a festive drink and above all a drink of celebration. We never drink champagne alone and we drink champagne to celebrate. “Champagne!” – we exclaim when we have won or achieved something important. 

So the whole art direction revolved around that – a festive moment of sharing. 

What were the different stages in which Frontline was involved? (stylisme, post-production…)

What’s special about Frontline is that we do everything in-house. Every client who comes to us will have only two people to talk to – me and Emma Brante.

On the French Bloom project we handled the entire production of the website, which includes editorial, messaging, text, design, graphic design, art direction, styling, photo production, post-production… bringing together the different talents on the project.

From a marketing standpoint this makes Frontline Studio less readable, less easy to categorize as an advertising company, but we like it that way. We have the pleasure of working on all these posts and in the end the client is always happy to have us because we guarantee the consistency of the art direction.

 

How did you choose the talents you wanted to collaborate with on this project?

I really like Bruce Weber’s group photos and especially his work for the Italian brand Dedon – it’s always the spontaneous moments, caught in the heat of the moment where people are smiling, uninhibited, caught up in the event. I wanted to find this feeling in the photos to be produced.

While strolling in a bookstore, I came across the book “Paris Chic” by Assouline with a superb work by Oliver Pilcher. I loved his look at our capital, I loved the way he captured moments of intimacy and happiness sharing between people. I was completely seduced by his approach. 

I contacted him. He happens to live in Costa Rica…. It was not easy to persuade the client to hire a photographer on the other side of the world, when we have so much talent in France. But I succeeded in my bet. I am very happy with this collaboration with Oliver and the result is exactly what we expected!

 

“French Bloom reinvents moments of happiness and conviviality.” How did you manage to convey this new Art de Vivre through the photo campaign of French Bloom?

I think the most important thing is to take the right tone, here it’s spontaneity, naturalness, good-natured spirit. Then to find the photographer who knows how to capture it – that was really the case with Oliver Pilcher.  And then let things happen. You always need a good dose of trust in this kind of production that involves so many people. It’s all about saying that what you want to convey is the only possible direction. 

 

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Every project is different, in terms of vision, mood, statement. How does Frontline Studio manage to dive into each of the brands’ universes with which you collaborate?

It’s actually quite easy! A good dose of curiosity and cultural references, and then you let your imagination work!

I have a lot of books and I’ve always loved books, I draw from them – from art, photography, architecture. Most of our projects start with research, I need to capture the essence, to get the real principles on which we can then put our creative eye. The meaning is very important in Frontline studio work. 

 

In addition to the photo shoot, a video campaign was created. How is this type of campaign organized and what were the challenges?

The production of this campaign was a real challenge! We shot in Provence and with 10 people to manage! The production part was very busy – we had to deliver the styling there, scout the day before to find great spots, take care of not only object styling but also clothing styling with its share of surprises at the last moment… We shot from sunrise until late at night. 

The biggest challenge was physical: for the end of the video we absolutely wanted an unobstructed view of the Beaux de Provence where the women will meet the sunrise. We climbed mountains, passed through very prickly brush to get to the end of the cliffs, Oliver was barefoot! It was very nice, these are the moments I like the most on the shoot and it was really worth it, because we found an incredible view!  

Discover the whole project for French Bloom here.

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Emma Brante,
Creative director, graphic designer
& founder at Frontline Studio

The French architect Maxime d’Angeac entrusted us with the creation of his visual identity and his entire communication. In this context, Emma Brante, our Artistic Director, conceived the designer’s logo.

I love monograms because I find that typography alone – in the context of a visual communication – is sometimes poor. Of course there are cases where it can work very well, like for Orange Telecom which relies on a color. But I find that a strong emblematic sign fascinates more and marks the minds.

 

Why did you choose the monogram shape for this logo?

In the context of the graphic identity of the architect Maxime d’Angeac the monogram was perfectly adequate. It has a noble character that comes close to the nature of his work in its aesthetic dimension, his personality, the singular style of his architecture, the luxurious universe of his clients. Finally, the possible play around the particle specific to his name was also a singularity that pushed me to use it and make it a differentiating element.

 

How did you choose the typography?

I drew the letters from a classic typographic structure and then removed certain parts to give the logo a slender character and a contemporary look. In his architecture, Maxime d’Angeac draws on styles from all eras, but he remains an architect who designs contemporary interiors and houses.

 

How to deal with particles?

There remained to solve the question of the particle its name which moreover is controversial in France. I decided to reduce the particle to the apostrophe alone, giving it a more interesting look than if we had kept the whole thing with the letter D. In the end, it became the strong point of the logo.

 

Discover the whole project for Maxime d’Angeac here.

Glassdebourg commissioned Frontline-Studio to design a reference brochure for architects. We conceived the brochure’s editorial line, the photography and the graphic design.

 

How did you define the editorial line of the brochure? 

As a specialist in high-end hotel projects, Glassdebourg had to seduce its target audience with a coherent brochure that, without falling into the trap of a catalog of projects, would promote its expertise and the quality of its know-how.

After an analysis of the brand’s DNA, we isolated the term “integration” as the key word at the center of our photographic and editorial work. Integration is the real strength of the company – concrete or brick, marble or corian, each material is “domesticated” by the glass arranged by Glassdebourg. 

 

What was your photographic bias in producing the photos? 

With the photographer Fabrice Fouillet, my partner in crime, we produced fifteen photo reports in Parisian hotels decorated by renowned interior designers: Dimore Studio, Tristan Auer, François Champsaur, Sarah Lavoine, Ora Ito… With all these settings, the temptation was to photograph the interiors as a whole, but in doing so, would we be highlighting the work of the studio or rather that of the decorator?

Our approach was to focus our attention on the details and rigor of each project. Some of these photos have also given rise to abstract photographs that emphasize the quality of the materials, the know-how of the workshop and the excellence of the execution. The main goal was to enhance the work of Glassdebourg, even if it meant leaving the functionality of the installations.

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Why did you photograph the hardware store?

Any glass installation is enhanced by the metal: it provides structure, fixing and gives the whole thing a sparkle. In a way, without the metal the glass does not exist. After discussions with the client we decided to do a specific photographic work around the hardware. We approached these massive pieces as if they were photos of jewelry. Playing with reflective backgrounds, we designed each image with a graphic and minimal scenography. A simple hinge or hook was transformed into a piece of art. 

Throughout the project we worked closely with photographer Fabrice Fouillet. Thanks to his rich experience in still life photography and his current specialization in architecture, we were able to approach the subject in perfect coherence.

 

The cover of the brochure is very specific. What was your approach? 

For the cover we wanted to convey the feeling of glass – cold and sharp. The iridescent paper on the cover is again reminiscent of the reflection of glass. In the line of this idea, we designed the typography taking up these characteristics of glass. Thin, sharp and designed, it stands out on the blue background of the cover. 

Discover the whole project here