I’ve taken shape from 20 years of exploring ideas and creating authentic design experiences and solutions across industries. A wealth of experience gives me the edge that’s well appreciated by a growing international community of clients and industry specialists, whose invaluable and continuous involvement keeps me moving forward.
Technology is my love language and beauty my inspiration. With curiosity and passion leading me forward, I chase the horizon to surpass expectations at every occasion.
Shifting my focus seamlessly from one industry to the next, I am as agile as I am authentic, and never cease to be inspired. My experience in design and technology spans from collaborations with cultural institutions, artists, luxury brands and international fashion houses, to high-end commissions for the automotive, telecommunications, food and beverage industries and beyond.
From multidisciplinary experiences within opera productions, to 360-degree soft-edge projection mapping and responsive data works, my in-house team of multi-talents covers every aspect of the vision’s demands. From the initial concept to the technical execution and supervision, every project is nurtured to completion, realising visions from their conceptual seeds through to their definitive details. My past projects my future and my future is now.
Behind the scenes at FFV, a team of talented professionals has been carefully curated over the past 20 years to create the dynamic design organism that FFV is today. Grown from side-line projects in the Berlin music scene of the 1990s, FFV was founded in 1999 by Leigh Sachwitz. Today Leigh still runs the creative side of flora&faunavisions, and together with her managing partner Daniel Karthausen, the studio continues to grow organically and has become a multitalented organism of limitless creative potential.
Drawn in from around the corner and across the globe, the FFV team is naturally and perpetually one step ahead of the trend, relying on the latest technology to realise diverse, international experiences and projects. Each studio member offers unique insights and inspiration, constantly refreshing the FFV organism as it evolves parallel to the Berlin art, tech and music scenes.
Yolandé: One sunny morning in Berlin, I head over to flora&faunavisions’ Berlin studio to shed some light onto the creative team and their experiences at flora&faunavisions. The city is abuzz with the hot topics of AI, AR, VR and the likes - plastered on posters and on everyone’s lips. I’m curious to know what the city was like back in the nineties when this prolific studio came into being. The studio’s founder and lead creative, Leigh Sachwitz, welcomes me in her usual warm, Scottish manner and, over a cup of coffee, we join the rest of the team and delve back in time to 1993, when Berlin was raw and brimming with potential...
Leigh: I came to Berlin on the 1st of November 1993 on a one-way ticket, with one suitcase and a thousand pounds. I was looking for adventure and very quickly got involved in the underground techno and house music scene in East Berlin. There was a huge amount of space available so pretty soon, I was setting up temporary events in warehouse and factory spaces with a group of people I found really quickly. I started working with light, projections and super8 films because it was interesting to me and it was clear that there was potential for these kinds of artistic events. Soon people were asking me to design these kinds of events for them.
At this time, you weren’t a company yet, right? So how did it happen that flora&faunavisions was created?
Leigh: The real transition to becoming an actual company came from an invitation for myself and a friend to create a three-day festival at the Volksbühne, which is a big theatre in the former East part of Berlin. I curated and designed the event, "Jugendmusikfestspiele" which involved numerous music/visual artists, and, out of this event, flora&faunavisions was born. I founded the company in August 1999.
12 years later, in 2011, you brought Daniel Karthausen onto your team…
Leigh: I had known Daniel before and my husband Andreas had said that we should really work together, but we were both so busy that we never managed to meet. Once we did meet, we had a fifteen-minute interview whilst eating ice cream and three days later he joined the company! Hey Daniel, what do you have to say?
Daniel: Yes, exactly. I’ve been working for flora&faunavisions for 8 years and for the past two years, Leigh and I have been leading the studio together and we really complement each other well thanks to our differing character traits. I am the more realistic one who ensures the studio productions run smoothly and come in on budget and on time.
Leigh: When we started working together, it just got better and better and better. It was a totally logical decision for Daniel to join the management of flora&faunavisions, because of his talents - he has a very different set of talents to mine, and he’s also totally different in character to me, and that’s really beneficial to the whole organism and the way we function.
Leigh, I know you’re an architect by training - we’ll get back to that later. Daniel, tell me, what’s your background?
Daniel: Well, not architecture. I studied communication sciences and worked parallel in the communication department in brand management for a very large firm, managing their brand presence.
I can see how that could complement Leigh’s creative abundance. It must be great to work with such a diverse team on projects. Tell me, what do you appreciate most about working at flora&faunavisions?
Daniel: Well, what I appreciate about flora&faunavisions is that there are projects where I can bring a lot of my personality into the project, and I also appreciate the extreme breadth of projects that we realise.
Who else on the team has been here as long as you have?
Daniel: Kirsten has been working with Leigh for even longer.
Kirsten, am I right that you’ve been a part of the flora&faunavisions organism for the second-longest after Leigh? You must have so many great memories. What are your thoughts on flora&faunavisions?
Kirsten: Actually Sebastian joined the company in 2008, I joined flora&faunavisions 10 years ago. What makes flora&faunavisions exceptional is that there is absolute passion in every project that’s visible from the outside, and once you’re on the inside you realise that it really is true and this passion manifests as this crazy love that goes into every last detail. I don’t think there’s another place where such a high level of creativity is combined with innovation, new technologies and all kinds of new things, and it’s all because of the people who make up flora&faunavisions.
I can imagine that you must have seen many projects come to life. Can you think of the most suspenseful moment that you have experienced through your work with flora&faunavisions?
Kirsten: Last year in autumn we opened the Mercedes Benz Platz in Berlin. It was a very large scale installation with many different media. This included a massive 360° video projection on the buildings around the square that was synchronised with video content on permanently installed columns in the square. The stadium lights, water fountain, light show and fireworks, were all synchronised to create one immersive emotional experience for the public. The square is huge, it’s about 250m long, and the installation was really incredible. The challenge was that we couldn’t test the show in advance, because it’s a public square being built during the production process, and at one specific moment there were all these different technologies that had to work together. There was a lot of suspense before it started and it was extremely exciting to see it all take place.
I have a rather philosophical question for you: where do ideas come from and what are they made of?
Kirsten: That is a really exciting question and since I often work on developing concepts, I can honestly say that I haven’t figured out yet where my ideas come from. You busy yourself with the theme - the project, the brief, the client, and then you have to somehow let it develop from one idea to the next and then the possibility arises, that an idea will suddenly show itself. Sometimes it happens quickly and the right idea shows up right away, but other times it may take half a day and still, you’re unsure. Sometimes it helps to stop and to do something else and then there’s an unexpected spark.
Do you know what ideas are made of?
Kirsten: Ideas are definitely very individualistic and related to the specific person who had the idea. I really like that. It never happens that two people come up with the same idea, but what they’re made of I don’t know, perhaps out of light - light and love.
That’s beautiful. I also know from my experience that the trickiest part of this process is transforming the idea into something visible and tactile and for that, a whole new set of tools is required. I’ll head over to the designers. Hey Sebastian hi Toni, hi Lukas, hi Marco. You’re all motion graphics designers at flora&faunavisions, which in my mind means that your work is to create really exciting video and sound content for others to enjoy. What an exciting reality! Would you tell me what flora&faunavisions is to you?
Sebastian: I’ve been working with flora&faunavisions for 13 years and I have really enjoyed how every project takes on a different angle, that every project is a challenge that demands a specific team and a specific approach. I enjoy the challenge and also the necessity for new perspectives that come with every project.
Toni: For me, flora&faunavisions is a special second family, a unique collective, a bubble, or a huddle of people I appreciate and that I like and I look up to. flora&faunavisions gives me space and time to express my ideas and give them shape, to concentrate and focus on finding solutions and to be a part of a team.
Lukas: It’s about diversity, because what flora&faunavisions does is multilayered. At the same time, as Toni said, flora&faunavisions is a family and I’ve felt that way since I started here.
Your work is very much an expression of the latest available technology. Tell me more.
Sebastian: Technology has changed dramatically. I’m constantly trying to stay on top of technology. That’s also encouraged amongst us at flora&faunavisions. When I started, we made videos that we wouldn’t show anywhere or to anyone now. In our work, there are constantly demands for new things to be created. Very often we push technology to the extremes and that’s exciting, but also frustrating.
Lukas: I would like to introduce more procedural tools like Houdini so that we can create more complex, interactive 3D experiences. I would also like to play around with real-time interactive gaming engines, like Unreal Engine, or Unity. That would be interesting to do.
What kind of projects do you most like to work on?
Marco: I love projects where I have the time to experiment a bit, to challenge myself, to try things out, to follow new paths, to potentially make errors, to learn something new and express my visions. One such project is one of the first that I worked on at flora&faunavisions: the visuals for the Solomun live set. I really like designing for musicians and music labels, because there is more freedom in terms of visual approaches. It was a great opportunity to move my images faster than usual.
For the same reason, I liked working on the Universal event last year. Producing visuals for live bands is something I dreamed of doing for a long time.
It must be incredible to see your work live after having spent weeks at a computer screen developing it. Can you share some of your experiences with us?
Toni: Oh yes! One of the first projects that really impressed me was for Audemars Piquet in Kraftwerk. I learnt a lot at that time because I was still a junior. It was truly impressive to see the video-mapping live! Last year I worked on the design of the GQ award again for the 4th time. As part of the project scope, I created the key visuals and it was a crazy experience to enter the Berlin Opera and to see the pattern I had designed all over. That was great.
How about travelling for work? Your projects are often realised in cities other than Berlin.
Lukas: Travelling for work and being on location means that I can make changes on-site, it’s super nice. I have to plan it well though since I have 2 dogs at home.
Has it every happened that a project didn’t work out?
Sebastian: It has never happened that at the moment when something had to be done, it hasn’t. It’s part of the job to check that everything works as it should and it’s always thrilling to see the finished work.
I’ll head over to the creative producers to find out more about the process of how projects meet their locations and their audiences. I was speaking to Daniel and Kirsten earlier about how ideas are formed and brought into being and from what I understand, your work is to accompany ideas through their materialisation process, so to speak, and also to pull the strings behind the scenes to arrange the location, set up, meet everyone involved and liaise with the client. That’s a lot!
Adam: It is a lot, but this intensity is essentially what draws us at flora&faunavisions together and it’s also what drew me to flora&faunavisions after working for agencies like Archimedes Exhibitions, and Triad for the past 20 years. To create projects of the high standard that flora&faunavisions achieves, this kind of tightly knit studio situation is essential. At flora&faunavisions there are no departments, only individuals, and we form teams and ideas that are created organically.
I can see how it’s important to work closely. It’s also a lot more economical in terms of creative energy and liaising. In the end, creative projects are made up of thousands of tiny tasks performed in more or less in synchronicity by many people and these all need to be orchestrated in a harmonious way, which is essentially what you as creative producers do.
Alina: I remember when I went on location for the first time - suddenly everyone who I had been in contact with was there. Everyone brought their little piece to one place to create one exciting project. At that point, it became clear to see that some things were still missing and others had to be readjusted, but in the end, everything made sense.
That sounds incredible, like a lot of suspense that’s met with the appropriate reward. Marcus, can you share with us how it feels when a project really works out?
Marcus: A project never really works out...
Wait, hold on, what do you mean by that?
Marcus: There was never a project that was 100% the way it was thought it would be at the beginning. I have been trained to become a perfectionist and so it happens that my expectations turn out to be more than 100%. Also, the road is often bumpy, but that’s my job as a Creative Producer: to focus on our creative aims, fight for them and react to external influences. What I can say is that the feeling that you have created something is always a very unique and an insane feeling for yourself - you feel like a conqueror of a kingdom! In that moment when you realise it works, you have forgotten all the difficulties that were in the way.
That’s a lot of passion, Marcus, but I’m not surprised. You have realised some incredible projects, like the installation for HERE technologies. I thought that was fantastic. Paul, you’re very new at flora&faunavisions and an intern working with the creative producers. Could you tell me what your favourite activity at flora&faunavisions is?
Paul: It’s really interesting to me to do research when developing a concept - brainstorming together with the team and finding an idea. I really enjoy the constructive working atmosphere.
That’s definitely a very important part of the process. Ideas are born from ideas. Alina, essentially, what would you say flora&faunavisions is to you?
Alina: flora&faunavisions is about taking any kind of input, from the client or any initiator, and working in a team to develop ideas and piece things together until something beautiful and exciting is created. It can be an event, a design, a picture. It’s about the process and the team.
It sounds like a continuously developing learning process on both a professional and a personal level.
Marcus: That it definitely is! Something personal I’ve achieved while working at flora&faunavisions is learning to deal with situations that are short in time and budget and to get the best out of them. I see my work as one part of a family that’s all about the super exciting experiences that we create, working on them together and bringing them to life. Actually, I wasn’t ever planning on moving to Berlin! After finishing my master's thesis in Australia, I came to Berlin to visit a friend before hoping to move to Hamburg, but the friend told me to apply at flora&faunavisions and I started as an intern the very next day after the interview. That was seven years ago.
Thank you. That was really inspiring! I can imagine that there must be some people working behind the scenes here too, to keep things running so smoothly.
Marcus: That would be Anna and Athol.
Anna, would you like to join in the conversation and tell me what flora&faunavisions is about to you?
Anna: When I moved to Berlin, I was looking for a great place to work - a new family. I found flora&faunavisions and started as the studio manager, which was both what I was looking for and what flora&faunavisions needed. flora&faunavisions is a second family to me.
Could you describe your role?
Anna: My role in the studio is to support the team from day to day and to make sure that everything runs smoothly. The best part about my role is that I have contact with everyone in the studio and insight into all the projects. I also offer people from outside the studio a single point of contact.
Athol, you don’t even live in Berlin, but from what Leigh tells me, you have quite a bit to do with the vision of flora&faunavisions. Could you tell us more about that vision?
Athol: flora&faunavisions is about realising the most innovative, most creative projects possible. flora&faunavisions is about technical invention - we don’t let anybody tell us that we can’t do it! Every year we talk about where in the world we would like to go with our creativity and then we see how we can make it happen. Our projects are becoming increasingly international and always at the edge of what’s creatively and technologically possible.
Talk about shooting for the stars! Thanks, Athol. I feel inspired myself! Leigh, sounds like you have created a fantastic team.
Leigh: The team at flora&faunavisions is an ongoing project and one that we collectively undertake with as much love, care and dedication as every one of our other projects. Together, we bring out the best in each of us to produce memorable experiences to the best of our combined abilities. I would say the flora&faunavisions team is our most successful project to date.
Just before we end this interesting discussion, earlier I touched on the fact that you studied architecture. How does that relate to what flora&faunavisions does and do you still have architectural ambitions?
Leigh: I do have architectural ambitions, because I feel like there are some really important things happening in the world of architecture at this point in time which make me happy. One of them is the fact that architecture is coming very close to experience again, because of the way that architecture, technology and the world are developing. Materials and the way that spaces can change through light and content, like media, make architecture non-solid, temporary and interesting and totally push the boundaries of what I ever thought would be possible when I was studying.
So architecture is important and it always has been, because architecture is about the way that you solve a problem. What we do at flora&faunavisions was always ‘architecture’ actually, it’s just a different form for a different reason, but in the end, we’re creating spaces which are experienced through a live person and a live audience, so in the end, it’s very close, wouldn’t you agree, Yolandé? You’re an architect by training too.
Sure, I can totally agree with that. The way I see it is that flora&faunavisions' projects are about taking all the most exciting aspects of architecture - spatial experience, discovery, light, shared experiences - and condensing them into a shorter timespan, thus creating more dense experiences. So yes, I would say flora&faunavisions' work is an ‘architecture concentrate’ with a serious amount of excitement. As for contemporary architecture, I do enjoy seeing how technology is applied to the built environment and look forward to when these technologies will become readily available on the building side of architecture. Clearly, advanced modelling software is already widely used. It’s been a pleasure, Leigh. Thanks for sharing all these insider views. I’m really excited to see what amazing projects the flora&faunavisions organism will be materialising in the future!
Leigh: Thanks Yolandé. Go well!
Dragon Spring Phoenix Rise at The Shed, New York
Mercedes Benz Platz Opening Ceremony
INSIDEOUT @ Dubai Art Week
Creating New Dimensions – MIELE @ Fuorisalone 2018
Ethihad Airways 15 Year Anniversary @ Louvre, Abu Dhabi
Olympus Perspective Playground 2018
Maybelline | Hot Trends Exhibition
INSIDEOUT @ Dubai Art Week
Electronic Beats Exhibition
INSIDEOUT | Art Installation by Leigh Sachwitz
INSIDEOUT | Art Installation by Leigh Sachwitz
Photography Playground 2014
Photography Playground 2013
Photography Playground 2014
Cable Congress Party
Opening of the AMAG RETAIL Autohaus Zürich
Hilfiger Denim LOUD
IFA 2009 Opening Gala
Project FOX, Volkswagen