For my bachelor thesis, I had the choice to present my research in any way I thought relevant. I picked the form of a short video, the kind which can be found on YouTube, to present it. It would therefore be spoken in English, the universal language of the internet, in order to reach out to as many people as possible.
As for my theme, it came naturally. Architecture has always been a part of my life, and I thought it was too bad people didn’t seem to realise how emotional it could be. In my opinion, architecture is a medium just as emotional as music, and should be used as such more often in films. So I showed examples of science-fiction films (one of my favourite genres) that did just that.
The last project I did at the Netherlands Film Academy was this photograph. We had to make a picture inspired by a text (could be a song, a poem, a few lines from a novel or theatre piece, or even a newspaper clip). I chose a specific scene from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, in which Juliet, distraught after the exile of Romeo and her coming marriage to Paris, goes to Friar Laurence for help. She is ready to die, but he offers her hope in the form of a vial containing poison. The contrast of those strong emotions was what I wanted to show.
I took more inspiration in the Pre Raphaelites movement for the form. They had a way to show the emotions of the characters in their painting in a beautiful and tragic light, while rendering the textures and colors with immense precision, which I find mesmerising. The clothes and setting are obviously not historically accurate for the quattrocento (when Romeo and Juliet should take place). I did this the same way as the Pre Raphaelites, as they took loose inspiration from legends and stories, and put a story in a beautiful setting.
The beautiful set location in this case is the Apotheek Museum in Maaseik, which I highly recommend visiting. The actress playing Juliet is Louise Verdoot, a long-standing friend of mine, who’s also a talented graphic artist. And Friar Laurence was played by René Martin-Prevel. It was presented during the Keep An Eye Film Academy Festival 2019 in Amsterdam.
In my third year at the Netherlands Film Academy, we had 5 weeks to research whatever interested us. I had long loved the book series “The Pillars of the Earth”, “A World without End” and “A Column of Fire” written by Ken Follett. It was actually part of the reason why I wanted to study architecture and engineering back when I was younger. Especially in the first book, the description of how three different builders (no such thing as an architect back then) imagined the cathedral of fictional Kingsbridge, struck me for its poetry and accuracy, without ever feeling like reading a history book. Afterwards, I fell in love with the tv series, based on the two first books, but the books were still my favorites.
As a Production Designer, it felt really interesting to study a building that is fictional but really accurately described in a book. I wanted to study other churches from around the same period and area to see what could have been. Since there were 3 different builders designing and changing this cathedral over a whole century, it seemed relevant to imagine what these designs would look like, what they would have in common and what would be different, following the storyline and the personalities of each character.
Here’s the power point presentation I made back then, explaining the different steps of my research, from the books to the proportions of the designs, through the research in real locations for historical accuracy (sorry it’s in Dutch) : ontwerpen-2-celeste-coupez.pdf
During the summer of 2018, I co-directed this aftermovie with Cato Kusters as a part of my internship at 87seconds. Couleur Café is an alternative, family-friendly, world-music festival taking place every summer in the parc next to the Atomium, this iconic Belgian monument. 87seconds had already made the previous aftermovie, so Couleur Café asked them again. In turn, 87seconds trusted me and Cato to direct three different camera teams throughout the festival (3 days long). We actually had to make one film for Friday, one for Saturday and one for the whole festival. It was an amazing experience, with tons of great artists and quite a bit of sun.
This was an exercise I made with Anouk Regensburg (studying vfx in my year). We had to make a loop and imagine a world that excited us. The background (stars) and the frame were made by hand by me and she made the animation and added the jellyfishes and the lighting.
My second project as an engineering and architecture student (my first one being this chair) was to make a shelter out of cardboard. We could then choose for whom it would be destined (I chose a hermit) and where we would place it (on a cliff in Ireland), and determine with which “real” materials we would built it (I chose a concrete-like aggregate mixed with the type of limestone that can be found in Ireland).
As for the form, I was inspired by the nautilus’ shell, which would create a unique and cosy shelter for my hermit. The outside should be simple, square, the size and shape of manufactured cardboard. In my design was included a bed (following the natural curve of the shelter), a table inside and a chair outside to reflect or simply enjoy the sun. There were windows as well, small holes in the cardboard version that would be replaced by glass bottles in the “realistic” version.