Reflections on Harry's Island: A Masterpiece by Stephen Bell / Jan 2023
Looking back at the Harry's Island project, it's hard not to feel a sense of nostalgia and inspiration. The idea of creating a world-class resort experience on the island of Sentosa, Singapore was an ambitious one, and one that we at Archiform were honored to be a part of.
The theme of the project was that of a fictitious character named "Harry", who was a world adventurer and bon vivant. The architecture was abstract, organic, and truly stunning. The centerpiece of the development was a massive caldera, which was designed to take visitors' breath away.
At the time, the project was a true test of our abilities. We had to work under extremely tight deadlines and with limited resources, but we pulled it off. I remember working with some highly accomplished people, including the lead on the project Mark Advent, who was a true professional.
Harry's Island was a reminder that true inspiration comes from embracing the unknown and taking risks. The end result may not always be what we expect, but the journey and the connections made along the way are what truly matter.
The renderings and video we produced for Harry's Island may look primitive today, but for 2006, they were nothing short of amazing. We had to be resourceful in order to get the shots we needed. I recall one instance where I needed the perfect vantage point for some day and night photography, so I found my way to a gym that overlooked the site. I had to take the shots through glass, which made it extremely difficult to avoid reflections back at myself. So, after taking the day pictures, I sourced some components, went back to my hotel room, and made a large black hood that went from the camera and pushed up against the glass, eliminating the light and reflections from inside the gym.
Another memorable moment was when I befriended the military colonel who came with me on the aerial shoot to ensure I was not a spy. He enjoyed the ride and seeing the photography shoot firsthand. I had an office in Singapore previous to Harry's Island, so I was already connected and set up. I was able to move quickly with the help of my regular chauffeur, who kept me on track and fed while I gathered everything I needed.
I have to give a special shout-out to Sean Powell, who worked for me at the time as a 3D artist and video producer in Australia. He is one of the few people in the world who can keep up with my own pace of work, and I valued our interaction. Without Sean, I am not sure whether I would have produced Harry's Island on time.
Looking back at Harry's Island, I am reminded of the importance of hard work, resourcefulness, and the power of a great team. Even though the project didn't come to fruition, it remains one of the most inspiring and enjoyable projects I have ever worked on.