Conceptual idea
Technical Development

Creating a miniature replica from a 148-year- old drawing for Gassan’s 75 years anniversary

Gassan, the Dutch luxury diamond specialist founded in 1945, approached us with their campaign concept to celebrate their 75-year anniversary.

The luxury brand are experts in diamonds, jewellery, and luxury watches. Gassan is headquartered in the old city centre of Amsterdam, in a famously distinctive building. A 150-year-old building, embedded in the brand’s DNA and identity.

Gassan was founded by “Grandfather” Samuel Gassan, and today, it is still a family-run business. Gassan represents reliability and high-quality craftsmanship and its initial core focus is the polishing of diamonds.

We have had a long term relationship with the team at Gassan, where we have worked together on several VM projects throughout the years. Gassan’s 75-year celebration was just one of many campaigns that required high levels of precision and accuracy.

The challange

Bringing a 148-year-old drawing to life

In celebration of the 75 year anniversary, Gassan wanted a 3D replica of their iconic headquarter. Gassan presented us with the original hand-made drawings from 1837, on which the replica should be based.

The element needed to be a grand and opulent structure. It needed to feature the building’s elaborate ornamentation, with the same proportions, as the real building.

The replica should be elevated so that it appeared slightly higher than the jewellery. As background, a suede-like back panel with embossed logo should support the campaign and expression.

The project required a high level of precision and accuracy. Due to the zoomed-in nature of jewellery VM, plus the accurate translation of the original detailed drawings. Achieving this level of refined detailing was paramount to the final expression.

The solution

Photo etching and hand- pressed techniques for a luxurious look

Since technical drawings with dimensions did not exist, the 3D perspective drawing became the base for the design of the replica.

Therefore, we went about drafting the structure initially in 2D by hand tracing the original drawing. Figuring out the proportions to the correct scale, and which features protruded and which did not.

Next, the structure was drafted by computer software to investigate the structural aspects of the different building elements.

The different structural elements were separated for production purposes. And as part of the technical drawing work, joining principles of the parts were identified.

The different structural elements were made from stainless steel.

The intricacies like the roof tiles, the groves, the offset stones, the windows panes, the ornamentation around the window, the door detailing, and the railings were achieved by photoetching.

The effect obtained by photoetching is that the areas which are not photoetched remain smooth and therefore become mirror-shiny after electroplating. Whereas the areas where the material is etched away get a slightly rough and textured surface, which then appear matte upon electroplating.

By playing with the difference between shiny and matte surfaces, the building’s structure is defined, and the details come to life.

After finishing each element, the steel sheets were bent into the shape of the individual building parts and joined together to form the complete replica of the historical landmark.

To level up the 3D element, a wooden rectangle podium was used, which was covered in a suede-like material. To match Gassan’s existing display podiums and back-panels, fabric samples were sent by the brand. We were able to locally source an exact matching fabric with the same density and hair length.

To ensure correct positioning of the building and to secure the element, it was mounted to the back panel by magnets.

On the back panel, covered with the same suede-like fabric, the Gassan logo was silk pressed by hand. This technique was utilised to create the logo’s other aspects like the established date and the “handwritten” design of the campaign slogan.

For distribution, the 3D structure was packed, fully assembled, in EPE foam, cut to support and offer maximum protection.

The cardboard boxes were drop tested to ensure that there would be no damage to the delicate goods during transportation.

We distributed the goods to the brand’s headquarters, where Gassan locally distributed the VM to their stores.

The results

A beautiful, intricate, 3D element with a luxurious look

The final expression was a beautifully- crafted 3D element that features the exact finest and refined details to the same proportions, as seen in the original drawings from 1873.

The 3D element stood on a fabric-covered podium with the jewellery showcased at a lower height. This gave a grand appearance, with the product in full display.

The back panel, which was also suede-like, featured the intricate Gassan logo design, with a very dark grey ink used to create the thin lines of the inside of Gassan’s logo. This detail added a touch of additional elegance to the panel and tied in well with the whole campaign.

The replica with its supporting elements served as the perfect 3D element to celebrate the history of the brand and its iconic headquarter.

Whether you need a unique campaign for a product launch, holiday season or special occasion, we can make your vision a reality.


More case studies

Receive our portfolio

Our work includes custom-made visual merchandising campaigns, for both window and in-store use – for a wide range of well-known retail brands.