Studio Expansion

The Duggal Greenhouse hosts a Heineken launch party in its 35,000-square-foot space.

Dune Studios owner Jay Stradwick decided to take a risk when he crossed the border in 2009, moving his business to New York City after serving fashion clients in Toronto for 10 years. After 2007, when the Canadian dollar started trading equally against the U.S. dollar, he found his clients were no longer saving money in their budgets. They did, however, express interest in shooting in New York, and they have followed him since.

Establishing a studio in a new country was tricky, but Dune Studios found its home in a ground-floor retail space on Varick Street in July 2011, after a two-year partnership ended and a new one began with Sandbox Studio. In two years, he has opened up seven more studio spaces within the building, moving out of the pricey ground-level space, and expanding upwards. Loyalty has been an essential part of his journey, and Stradwick says he owes his success to his faithful clients, as well as to a flourishing e-commerce business.

© Dune Studios
Dune Studios has added three new spaces to their five existing full-sevice daylight studios at 121 Varick Street. Studio one (pictured here), two and three have retractable doors that allow each studio to expand into each other.

Further down Varick Street is Splashlight Studios, which Benoit Lagarde and his business partner James Ingram reopened after facing an eminent domain closure further uptown. They reopened with more than double their previous space: 60,000 square feet between 15 studios that host a mix of editorial, advertising and e-commerce shoots.

Splashlight has partnered with several brands for dedicated service. In 2011, they partnered with Aldo in Montreal to create an international photo and video-content studio located in their distribution center. Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s both have custom dedicated studio environments year-round at Splashlight, and the studio is expanding again to open a custom studio for Nordstrom’s photography and video content. The demand for e-commerce digital inventory is high, and Splashlight has taken a personalized approach to providing one-on-one service.

© Splashlight Studios
Splashlight Studios’ Runway One can merge with neighboring studios for a combined total of 8,300 square feet. Their studio services and in-house creative team have made them a leader in the fashion industry.

Roy Schwalbach, owner of Chelsea-based Jack Studios, has his sights set on Los Angeles. After adding an eighth studio to Jack’s home base, he’s begun to look to the other coast, and is searching for a building to rehabilitate in the City of Angels. In the next year, he expects to open both the L.A. location as well as two additional locations in New York. The demand for both still and motion photography has kept Jack Studios busy, with a hefty 850 active clients spanning all types of visual content.

© Jack Studios
Studio 8 is the latest addition to Jack Studios. Jack is growing rapidly, with plans to open new spaces in New York as well as Los Angeles. 

Over in the Midwest, Shelter is running out of space for larger productions at their 8,000-square-foot location in Minneapolis. In order to cater to the growing need for larger open space for room sets and expansive light setups, Shelter is in the process of expanding down the road in a building that has 12,000 square feet of wide-open usable space, 20-foot ceilings and large windows with southern exposure. There are also drive-in capabilities, a 2,000-square-foot space for large room sets and construction, multiple loading docks, client meeting areas and a full-sized kitchen.

© Shelter Studios
Shelter’s new 12,000-square-foot space is saturated with natural light and features a spacious kitchen, identical to the one in their existing space.

Duggal Visual Solutions founder Baldev Duggal understands that expansion requires both an innovative brand and exciting culture to propel it. His vision for sustainability is clear in his eco-focused subsidiary of Duggal Visual Solutions, Duggal Energy Solutions, which is poised to become the world’s first environmentally conscious leading resource center. In 2008, Duggal began transforming a massive space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard into the Duggal Greenhouse.

The Duggal Greenhouse is a sweeping 35,000-square-foot arts, events and alternative studio space with 70-foot ceilings and 45-foot windows overlooking the East River and Williamsburg Bridge. Once home to the USS Missouri battleship during its construction in 1941, the building fell into disrepair and neglect for years until Duggal saw it as an opportunity to combine his passion for photography and the arts with his groundbreaking sustainable initiatives. Toward the end of the initial renovation, the venue had to be re-renovated because of damage suffered from Hurricane Sandy. The second renovation was completed and the venue officially opened in February 2013.

© Duggal Visual Solutions
The Duggal Greenhouse is light-flooded and spacious, and promotes its eco-conscious direction with details such as "The Living Wall."

The sun-drenched Duggal Greenhouse is designed with sustainable detail and will be even greener with wind and solar power, and other innovative technologies in the coming years. The building is currently surrounded by 91 solar panel and wind-turbine-powered street lamps designed by Duggal and his subsidiary company, Lumi•Solair.

In addition to sustainability, Duggal and the Duggal Greenhouse are dedicated to full-scale visual and events management covering all aspects of consultation, graphic design, production and fulfillment. The space is open to rent for private functions, live events, creative projects, fashion shows, product launches and photo shoots, and has already hosted Nike, Heineken and international recording superstars.

Duggal also occupies six other buildings at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, housing much of its photo printing and display graphic production, and plans to expand its culture worldwide. Baldev Duggal has turned the Brooklyn Navy Yard into a hub for sustainability, and hopes to place New York City on the map as a center of eco-friendly living by combining creative culture with viable environmental solutions.



PDN August 2016: The Fine-Art Photography Issue



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