We’re glad to introduce an interview with WeWork’s Visualization specialists, Greg Rogers and Jake Williams, students of Masterclass#7 and Corona#1.
Could you introduce yourselves to our readers and tell them the position you currently hold?
JAKE: Together Greg and I run the visualization department at WeWork’s global headquarters in New York City. In the last two years, our team has focused on communicating WeWork’s design aesthetic by creating images for our marketing, sales, and real estate teams. Often the images are used for interactive presentations, pitches for enterprise clients, and even the company’s social media channels.
How did you two meet and what made you choose Arch-viz as a career?
JAKE: Greg and I met 3 years ago while working together at a small studio in Los Angeles. During our time there we worked as a team on many projects and quickly became accustomed to each other’s work ethic. We both came from similar backgrounds of studying design and architecture but ultimately chose to pursue it in a different way as visualization artists instead. We were both drawn to design through pursuing new methods of visual representation. Once our artistic ability and love for tech were linked through visualization it seems our paths were solidified.
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What were the biggest difficulties you’ve faced starting your department?
Starting our department has been a challenge but in a good way. One of our goals from the beginning was to not just become another “in-house” rendering team but instead to operate as our own studio. We’ve strived to do things a bit differently and remain in control of how much work we produce and at what speed we produce it at. Having the best quality images has always more important to us than how many images we can produce. Ultimately we wanted to avoid being part of the design process and instead use our talent to be the guys who can really sell a project to the public when we’re excited to highlight a special location.
How much freedom do you have in your work?
Fortunately our unique position within WeWork’s design department gives us a great amount of control over our work. Depending on who our audience is for a specific project we ultimately get to decide what is the best way to tell the story of a space. We showcase important design features and compose the furniture layouts to better suit a particular view we like. One of our favorite parts of each project is getting to carefully integrate people and dogs into the images. For this stage we often like to find volunteers in our HQ to pose for a specific moment that we’ll stage and photograph ourselves. It’s been a fun way for us to include colleagues into our process.
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What do you do in your free time after work? Can you balance your working life and your private one?
JAKE: Finding a good work / life balance is very important to me although most would say I work too much as it is. I do spend some personal time working on side projects for fun which I think everyone needs once in awhile to let their passion resurface again. Other than spending countless hours at the computer other passions of mine are photography and traveling. I like to disconnect by getting outside and taking photos of cool things that catch my eye. Photography is a discipline that has become very important for me to pursue in my free time and for the past few years I’ve been using it as a way to experience my surroundings and more closely connect with architecture. I recently took a trip to the Amalfi coast and spent a week having Aperol spritz on the beach. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen before. I must have taken close to one thousand photos. All in all, if I have to put in some late nights every once in awhile to be able to take a trip like this, I’m okay with that work / life balance.
GREG: I enjoy spending time with my family watching futbol on the weekends but it can get a little stressful because I am an Arsenal fan. My hometown is not far from where I work so spending time with my closest friends is not too hard! One of my favorite pastimes is spending time in our local pub, Gallaghers (A place where friends meet), eating and drinking the night away. WeWork has an incredible amount of perks but one of the best is the flexibility for personal time. Just in the last two years, I have travelled more places around the world than all my other companies combined. It is truly a company that allows you to “make a life, not just a living.”
Is there a project that you created which is most valuable to you?
JAKE: One of our most recent projects we really enjoyed working on was for a new WeWork location in Paris, France. It was WeWork’s first location in Paris and is located in a beautiful 1930’s art deco style building on Rue la Fayette. The main lounge space has an incredibly detailed ceiling with a large skylight, crown moldings, curving panels, and everything. Needless to say it was a great challenge to model. We ended up using Forest Pack and a couple other plugins to get to the final result that we think turned out great. We had the opportunity to present this project to new audiences all the time and the reactions were very enjoyable to see. People will stop by our desks to look at the VR goggles and when this project comes up it’s always a favorite.
As for personal work, we like to push ourselves to find the time for competitions provided by Ronen Bekerman, Evermotion, and etc. Over the past couple years we’ve both submitted to a few of these contests and have created some of our favorite personal works. There is definitely something unique and freeing about building an image up from nothing but your mind. In my image from last year titled “The Orchid” I was able to incorporate a few elements reminiscent from my time spent in Los Angeles, including my roommates.
GREG: After completing The Masterclass#7 almost 6 years ago (wow) I decided to submit my image to 3D World and to my surprise they had put it in the community gallery section. Even though the image was no bigger than a matchbook it was incredible to see my work published for the first time. You can imagine how I felt when I opened last month’s issue and saw my latest work take up two full pages leading their Artist Showcase section. This particular piece was something that had been in my head for years and it was not until WeWork did I have the time and energy to finally complete it.
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