Novedge: Tell us a bit about LevelArchiviz and what you do.
Level Archiviz: We are Stefano Mombelli and Samuel Silva Trovato and we are the founders of Level Archiviz, an Architecture Visualizations Studio with headquarters in Milan, Italy. Our adventure started 4 years ago, mostly as a hobby, but with time it has turned into a full time gig. Currently we work with companies from all kind of industries, for Architecture Firms and for Designers on their catalogs and products illustrations. We are young and excited to grow, we are not afraid to experiment and be challenged. Lately we have been working with team members specialized in technologies like Panotour and Virtual Reality.
Novedge: Partnerships are powerful. How did you two come together?
Level Archiviz: We grew up less than 10 miles apart without knowing each other. We both grew up with a passion for Art and Design and the research for a vehicle to express our creativity. After earning our Architecture degree we found ourselves working for the same Architecture Studio in Cremona. It was then that we started experimenting with rendering and 3dsMax , which none of us knew how to use by the way. We took it as a challenge to learn as much as we could, on our off time, and constantly compare notes. After a few months of healthy competition, information exchange and pushing each other, we realized we were able to create complex scenes and we had collected a portfolio we could both be proud of. It took a little time, but we eventually decided to take the plunge and founded Level Archiviz . It was the year 2013.
Novedge: What are the most important factors in creating memorable images?
Level Archiviz: Let's be honest, we are all constantly bombarded by all kinds of images. In our opinion, the difference in the impact these images make does not lie in the level of accuracy and realism. The real difference is brought on by the story telling and the powerful emotions evoked. When we create images for our clients we like to tell ourselves that we don't just create pictures; therefore it is important that each of our pictures tell a story. Lighting, geometry and staging are just the tools that allow us to express a point of view. There is more being communicated here.
Novedge: Can you share with us some of your favorite renderings and talk us through them?
Level Archiviz: We recently have worked for some Architecture competitions. One of our projects was for the Architecture Firm ARW in cooperation with Architect Francisco Mangado. We set the images of their Thermal Complex in Ponte di Legno at dusk, with light water and vapor becoming the main elements in the scene. On another partnership, this time for Architecture Studio CZA, we rendered a residential project to be developed in the city of Milan. We created two images, one during the day and one during the night. For both of them we depicted real life scenarios, reminiscent of our childhood. When we realized the images for an elementary school in Monreale, Sicily, by Mario Cucinella Architects we were facing a peculiar concept: the school was going to be developed at hypogeum level, on a hill and facing a valley. We tried to give the idea of a building embedded in the landscape. On top of the projects we get commissioned, we still like to render for our own pleasure and we keep challenging ourselves. When free to experiment, we can really express our creativity with very few limitations.
Novedge: What does your workflow look like? What software do you use?
Level Archiviz: Our workflow is actually very straight forward. We either model from scratch or import the building file inside Autodesk 3dsMax , where we assemble the entire scene. For our renderings we use V-Ray. For the post production, where we try to give life to a static image, we use Photoshop. We communicate with the client throughout the different phases of the operation. We are currently testing new technologies for real-time rendering, with the use of engines like Unity or Unreal, but it is still too soon to talk about them.
Novedge: How important is it to keep up with that latest 3D software and technologies?
Level Archiviz: We think it is very important to keep up with the constant changes , especially the software updates. Obsolescence is not an option. Often advancements will simplify things and new functions will save time in the end.
Novedge: Who is your ideal client?
Level Archiviz: We are constantly looking for that one ideal client.....hahahaha. Jokes aside, ideal clients are the ones that give us their trust. Often we are told that the image is needed "yesterday", in this case time becomes our enemy number one. The thing that takes up more time is the concept. A client with a strong concept and a completed project is very easy to render for.
What sets you apart form the competition?
Level Archiviz: Our strength lies in our ability for story telling. Each time we face a new project, we don't focus solely on the visualization but on the emotions we can trigger with our images. Do you have any fun fact about your business you would like to share with us?
Level Archiviz: In one of Level Archiviz' first assignment we were commissioned by the Prada Foundation to create about 20 renderings for OMA. These big names caused us to panic at first, but also to want to overachieve. After receiving the model and spending the day working on it, we left our computers to create the preview overnight. The next morning we found one computer over heated and the other one stalling. Long story short, the adrenaline kicked in and we were able to overcome the roadblocks and learn a few lesson that would serve us well in the future. We were able to deliver the preview on time and to be commended for the quality of the work. Not bad for a debut.
What do you appreciate most of each other's work?
Stefano: Samuel is clearly a natural in learning new programs and quickly digest them. He has also a knack for exterior scenes, where he can have fun with lighting and materials. I , on the other hand, feel more comfortable with interiors.
Samuel: Since I have known Stefano I have always admired his attention for details. I am not as patient as he is. I learn hands on, on projects I create for myself. Once I master the technique I often don't complete the project. Stefano completes every scene.
These difference are also our asset. We are fundamentally complementary and we are able to maintain a certain balance and freedom.