I am delighted you are taking the time to look at my work, thank you!
My name is Stefan Boublil, I am French, a traveller from the start, settled in the U.S. since 1989, design entrepreneur since 1999 and creative director-at-large since 2009.
Of course, I write this knowing that Creative Director is an oddly broad title for a position that first starts with listening, not directing; indicative of an individual who, beyond taste, discipline and leadership, is surely mandated to mainly offer a different perspective. My own, continuously cultivated and open-minded, is the fruit of a life spent in the study of others’ instruments, allowing me to grow into a conductor of sorts, encompassing their talents into a symphony that hopefully does not merely generate financial or practical value, but meaning above all.
The work contained herein is a sample of those orchestras it has been my privilege to be a part of in the past 20 years.
This is our first date with the consumer, if all we do is talk about ourselves, there won’t be a second one.
It has always been curious and willing to take risks but now Google is finally being looked at as a sophisticated design company, an incredible opportunity to push further. Like most brands, when we speak about building “experiences,” we usually mean a few small gestures such as event participation and online conversations, all part of the modern marketing playbook. I was invited by the insightful Head of Cultural Initiatives to join the team and help dig deeper into how we might affect social behavior and norms in order to engage potential customers.
Together, we learned that each moment is an opportunity to plant a seed. And water it. Those are cultural moments, and the opportunity was ripe to become a cultural engine.
As Creative Director of Cultural Initiatives, I was happy to contribute to a few wonderful teams across Google Hardware, YouTube and Marketing.
No two projects are alike, and studying each client’s purpose and context before any work is proposed is foundational. Thoughtful understanding of behavior and context is the cornerstone of a line well-drawn, and the following pieces of work are examples of such consideration.
From promotional posters to a spa franchise by way of a master-plan for a new city in the Ukraine, each industry we enter not only has its own set of peculiarities but also tend to morph with technological progress, trends and new insights. Each project must then be given detailed and timely attention in order to communicate correctly to their specific audience, and then, of course, go a step further.
Assembling different teams for different projects, from managers to designers to architects to filmmakers to set builders, is the main reason I love what I do, to be able to present bold new visions for each assignment that don’t merely borrow from the ones that came before. To invent, always.
Culture must be the foundation for our work because it places every idea, product and event within a frame of reference that people will recognize, identify with and hopefully aspire to. Creating culture then becomes an objective greater in scope than storytelling, the borrowed term over-used by agencies, including my own, to persuade clients that we are more than technicians. That ambition indeed requires us to make an exchange, it compels us to contribute something as we claim to engage, it drives us to put valuable things and ideas back into the world that weren’t there before.
When we marvel at the consideration put into an event organized by a company, they show us that they care about their craft, that they care about creating something meaningful beyond a sale, and that gives me confidence that they might consider their products with the same attentive purpose. That is why cultural endeavors are so important.
New York City. Nineteen Ninety-Nine. The Apartment Design Store is born. Set up as a functioning loft in SoHo, we presented objects of desire in a lived-in context, where you could lunch, watch tv, even shower, and buy everything you touched, from the Japanese toothpaste to the Italian sofa. We shaped our process around a simple philosophy: that since everything in the world is designed, we must be attentive and curate our lives only with those objects that we find personally relevant, useful and beautiful. Prioritizing community and consumer education, we were able to bring in a new audience to appreciate design for what it does, not just what it looks like.
Originating as a retail store, we quickly grew into an agency, doing for clients what we had done for ourselves. As a group of wildly influential individuals came together, we conceptualized events, designed products and built spaces, all to deepen the client’s narrative.
Without an orchestra, I’m just a weirdo gesticulating on a podium.
Through the last few decades of living in various countries and working in a variety of industries, I have been lucky to meet and join forces with exceptional people; hailing from the fields of design, art, film, music, theater, fashion and more, it has been my privilege to call them friends, mentors and collaborators. Moreover, it has been an honor to learn from all the members of this grand orchestra in order to become a more capable, knowledgeable and competent conductor. The ability to call on their gifts given a particular challenge is the moment I wait for every time a new challenge comes through the door.
The symphony would not sound like anything without them.