At a light, airy loft in the heart of SoHo, Manhattan, Instagrammers pose and shoot on the millennial pink sofa, in the big, white-tiled bathroom, on the boho roof deck and the brass canopy bed, hawking products like face masks, hair treatments, sweaters, and bras. And because this place is custom made for their photoshoots, they don’t have to worry about the clutter of real life getting in the way of the perfect image.
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The 2,400-square-foot studio belongs to the advertising agency Village Marketing, which lets influencers book time to shoot photos in the drool-worthy space. It costs $15,000 to rent for the month, which is worth it for Village Marketing: The agency’s founder, Vickie Segar, realized that influencers were booking hotel rooms or shooting in furniture stores to get the photos they wanted, and decided to create the perfect Instagram lifestyle shoot location.
The e-commerce furniture company Wayfair designed and decked out the entire space in the company’s furniture for free, in exchange for all the social media impressions that the space will bring. Influencer marketing is a big business these days, with some brands paying as much as $100,000 for a single post. Wayfair even has a team devoted to it, and will often pay influencers to promote products as well as providing furniture.
Since the SoHo space opened in August, Wayfair has received about 5 million Instagram impressions–the company estimates it will bring in millions more as influencers continue to use the space and tag the company. “All the posts are totally organic and they’re tagging us because they want to, not because they have to,” says Wayfair media relations manager Lindsey Graziano. “That’s a win in our book.”
How does one design an apartment for Instagram? To find out, I spoke to Maggie Lydecker, a design manager at Wayfair Design Services who was in charge of designing the space.
Yes, millennial pink is still a thing
Lydecker used so much of the color that one of the project’s challenges was to find a balance between millennial pink and other colors. “It was a fine line between doing it right and overdoing it,” she says. Though based on Instagram, can there ever be too much millennial pink?
Don’t design rooms, design “vignettes”
Rooms are so 2005. Lydecker designed the Village loft by focusing on small “vignettes” that would make a good backdrop for a lifestyle shot. Each one has a statement piece of furniture: When you first walk in, a pair of bright blue velvet chairs arranged around a marble table is the first “moment” to steal the spotlight. The dining area has a branch-like chandelier with large round light bulbs suspended from the ceiling. The living room’s standout is a plush sofa in–you guessed it–millennial pink.
Skip the curtains
Village Marketing chose this particular loft because it has so much natural light–that intangible thing that makes you look good in your photos. To retain as much of this cherished resource as possible, and to showcase the views of downtown Manhattan, Lydecker decided not to add any window coverings at all. While it might look pretty in pictures, it also means the studio isn’t a great place to actually live–or get a good night’s sleep.
Texture is everything
With so much pink and white in the space, Lydecker broke up the monotony with texture: Rich velvets, shaggy faux fur, and shiny chromes to “add a glam factor,” she says.
Variety is the spice of life
In a space that hosts so many shoots, one of the goals was to widen the variety of spaces so that not every photo looks the same. The studio’s roof deck, which Lydecker calls her “pride and joy for the project,” features an antique indoor-outdoor rug, lounge seating, and lots of pillows and trees. Influencers have already booked the space to use for images of yoga retreats.