Local Production Designer Louise Knepscheld crafts visually stunning love mess in latest commercial [WATCH]

Renowned for her artistry in commercial production design, Cape Town-based Louise Knepscheld has once again demonstrated her level of craft and expertise in her latest work for the Canadian paper brand ‘Kruger.’ Teaming up with award-winning Canadian director Mark Zibert, Louise has created visually evocative environments that explore all the twists and turns of love, from first glances to growing old together. And for us, this ad was love at first sight. We can’t wait to see more of Louise’s talent in our local South African spots. Have a look Saffas.

If you haven’t seen it yet, this spot has received some major recognition from most top international creative news sources – Shots, Adweek, Creative Review, BestAdsOnTV and AdAge, AdForum, AdsOfTheWorld. Watch ‘Love is Messy’ for ‘Kruger’. Production Design by Louise Knepscheld, created by Broken Heart Love Affair and directed by Scouts Honour’s Mark Zibert.

Kruger ‘Love is Messy’
Production Design / Art Direction: Louise Knepscheld
Director: Mark Zibert

Going behind the scenes of ‘Love is Messy’ revealed that Louise had the almost impossible task of designing over 50 scenes, that needed to be shot on a 4-day shoot with only 11 days to prep before cameras needed to roll. Someone hold her beer! For those of you who’ve worked with Louise before, you’ll know that she eats most challenges for breakfast. To be honest, we would never doubt that Louise wouldn’t bring the energy, enthusiasm and passion (and fitness!) required to pull this off.

Working on incredibly tight deadlines and often even tighter budgets is nothing new to Louise, she says, ‘We used five main locations over the 4 days, designing multiple environments on each location, maximising time and resources. I thrive on challenges, and collaborating with a director of Mark Zibert’s calibre, whose work ethic and innovation set the standard, is truly inspiring.’

Framegrabs from ‘Love is Messy’

A lot of people might think Louise is ‘too heavyweight’ to work on ‘smaller projects’, but hold it right there. Yes, she has collaborated with big names like Zibert, The Tao’s and Kay Kienzler and works on many international service jobs that are shot in South Africa, but her heart lies with local talent. ‘I love working with local directors. Especially young talent. Yes, the budgets aren’t always that big locally but that is certainly not why you get into this industry,’ says Louise. A good production designer needs to be incredibly resourceful, imaginative and budget-friendly, something Louise can definitely hang her hat on. ‘Whether I have a large team or am going in as a one-woman show, there is always space for imagination and creativity to thrive,’ she adds.

Since starting out in the industry, working her way up through the Art Department, Louise has time and again proven herself as someone who can interpret a brief and understand a director, the product and the target audience. Starting out in the industry she quickly made a name for herself and in 2002 she was picked as one of the top three Art Directors in the world by the International Campaign Screen Magazine’s special ‘Legends of Production Edition’ published for the Cannes Film Festival. So yeah, she’s good, she’s organised, creative and her reel is proof.

It’s impossible, however, to watch ‘Love is Messy’ and not think back to the design Louise brought to the captivating and gritty ‘Right to Play’. Again, directed by Zibert. The spot won a Silver Cannes Lion in 2019 for Film Craft. The two commercials, Kruger and Right to Play, are vastly different, yet so brilliantly showcase Louise’s abilities.

‘Right to Play’
Production Design / Art Direction: Louise Knepscheld
Director: Mark Zibert

‘The research I did on this (Right to Play) was very disturbing. The Director wanted every aspect of the piece really authentic, so all the cast from that job were brought in from the various environments they were representing. In keeping with this authenticity, I needed to ensure each scene visually transported us to that environment. RTP was a passion project, with a tight budget, again maximising locations to create multiple environments. Limited resources do not equate to a lesser result. In fact, passion projects have been some of the best work I’ve been a part of,’ adds Louise.

This week Louise wrapped her latest commercial in Cape Town with the Chinese-American directing duo TAO/S, consisting of Aaron & Winston Tao. Names you might recognise from walking away with a Lion for Best Direction for their film ‘The Rabbit Hole’ at Cannes this year. We caught up with the directors whilst they were still in South Africa to find out what stood out for them when working with Louise (proof that it’s not just us singing her praises 😉)

Aaron Tao says, ‘A true professional through and through. I love the fact that Louise came up with so many great ideas based on research and was constantly sharing them with us. She has great taste and is one of the few production designers who design with purpose, everything has a purpose. She doesn’t just throw things into the room and ask if it looks good. There has to be a reason it is there. She was fast, she worked with a small budget and she was very efficient. Next time we are in Cape Town we would definitely work with her again, we loved working with her.’

Winston Tao says, ‘Louise is very proactive as a production designer and loves to collaborate closely with the director, which truly fits our style. We had an amazing time with her. She is the first and only Production Designer we’ve ever wanted to fly out to the States on our end, so that says a lot for us.’

Framegrab from ‘Right to Play’

Starting out her journey to Production Design in the Art Dept on international films, then local long form Television, we asked Louise how she fell into the commercials-making industry, her answer really made us smile, ‘A new company opened in Rivonia in Joburg and I was pretty young and naïve. I walked straight in and introduced myself to this guy standing there. That guy turned out to be Keith Rose and he was opening the doors at Velocity in Joburg. I had no commercials experience back then and the next moment I got a call from his producer and found myself Art Directing a Toyota commercial for him. That’s where the Love Affair with TVCs started and I still count my lucky stars every time I begin a new project. We highly recommend watching more of her work here.

Contact Louise Knepscheld

+27 83 626 0470
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Produced by the IDIDTHAT Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder

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This Editorial is paid for by Louise Knepscheld. Want our studio to create content that puts your agency/company/kickass ad you made in bright lights for the whole industry to see? View or editorial packages or contact julie@ididthat.co and we’ll make it happen! #Boom