If you’re into archviz, chances are you are familiar with the work of Jonathan Nicholson. In fact, chances are you’re not just familiar with but have been salivating obsessively over his buttery-smooth, uncannily realistic interior renders. I know I have.

So when our discussions about furniture brands and the perfect carpet fiber workflow meandered into possible collaboration territory, I jumped on the opportunity and grabbed it with both hands, hoping for some of that magic to rub on me.

Some brainstorming ensued, and after a few days of intense long-distance digital communication, we settled on our plan: A vast, tantalizingly empty Soho showroom to use as a showcase for our respective interior, styling, and photographic ideas. Jon would design, I would model and texture.

Soho Showroom (V-Ray version)

Our initial idea for the space was heavily influenced by the cast-iron district’s industrial past, emphasizing rough, weathered surfaces, white walls, concrete floors, exposed wiring and pipes. But as the modeling went on and we kept swapping references, we felt like exploring a different side of Soho, cozier, more luxurious and refined, with warm earth tones, lots of wood and cleaner surfaces.

Monochromatic, industrial vibes on the first floor

The space as it finally gelled became a two-storey structure, with a raw, industrial studio-like first floor, suitable for art exhibition or photoshoots; and an elegant, more residential-looking second floor, where expensive furniture would be perfectly at home. Both spaces include a wealth of period details, from the cast-iron Corinthian pillars that just scream Soho to the heavy wooden shutters (complete with a clever joint hierarchy that allows them to be easily open and shut) and the fire sprinklers typical of renovated Soho cast-iron workshops.

Warm elegance on the upper floor

The rest was just a lot of elbow grease and time, ending with two versions of the scene, fine-tuned for V-Ray (GPU) and FStorm. As a bonus, both scenes include a selection of my photo-realistic Soho facades, which give the exterior a final real-world touch. Jon added his magic FStorm LUT file, which many an artist has lusted over. You can get all of it in one neat, ready-to-render package, here.

Period details abound, from cast-iron Corinthian pillars to internal wood shutters
Soho Showroom (FStorm version)
Rough surfaces, clean modeling