To mark the 170th anniversary of Guerlain’s famed ‘Flacon aux Abeilles’, otherwise known as the Bee Bottle, we have crafted a unique film powered by human-led artificial intelligence technology.
Embarking on a captivating artistic journey, this film retraces the illustrious history of the bottle through the ages, history and artistic movements, before picturing it in a utopian future.
We have teamed up with MNSTR agency to conceive and direct this film by defining the key historical, artistic and cultural events that occured from 1853 to 2013, and pair these moments with periodic visuals which served as reference points for the film.
Guerlain’s archivists and artistic directors helped pull key milestones in the maison’s history, and shared real images, photos, and documents about the history of the Bee Bottle throughout the ages, and the House of Guerlain.
We also explored a variety of AI systems to gain insights into their capabilities, thoroughly trained them to recognize the Bee Bottle from all angles in order to accurately recreate the bottle, and ended up building our own system for this production. Ultimately, this journey culminated in a unique and symbiotic creative process, combining human ingenuity and artificial intelligence to create a visual artwork that celebrates the best of both worlds.
To generate effective prompts, we analyzed each historical period related to the House Guerlain and the Bee Bottle from 1853 to the modern era, starting with the Second Empire (1850-1860), when Guerlain’s founder designed the Bee Bottle as a wedding present for Empress Eugenie de Montijo and Napoléon III.
We then followed its evolution throughout the years, marked and inspired by the artistic evolutions in painting, photography, sculpture, cinema, and architecture, across France, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. This allowed us to draw inspiration from a variety of creative disciplines and refine our approach.
For the future (2023-2193), we have used the creative possibilities of generative AI to imagine surreal landscapes that serve as a canvas for the timeless future of the Bee Bottle, and it’s boundless transformations. From a rewilded version of the eternal Paris, inspired by Guerlain’s fascination with natural wonders, followed by a cosmic, astral reinterpretation of the bottle, this journey ends in a dystopic planet, liberated from its materiality and transformed into a liquid, where the Bee Bottle sits unchanged, four centuries later.
We pursued aesthetic perfection by experimenting with a variety of AI techniques. These techniques included prompts, image-to-image inpainting, and control nets. We refined these techniques through countless iterations and refinements. Drawing the Bee Bottle and keeping its unique design as faithfully as the original was essential for Guerlain, and the main challenge we faced.
To tackle it, we trained our own model with countless images from Guerlain’s archives to teach the AI what the Bee Bottle is, and use this custom AI system as a creative partner capable of interpreting the bottle’s essence and translating it into mesmerizing visuals. It could replicate the product’s distinctive charm with astonishing accuracy.
As designers, we worked to refine the visual. We generated over 10,000 images, and only the most captivating and unique were curated, with the sole purpose of crafting a daring and futuristic digital exhibition, unveiled at Viva Technology 2023.
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