Below, Dustin O’Neal, who compares the couch’s wooden frame to “whale bones,” explains how this magical video came together and how the sofa came apart.
“This being my debut film, I really had no idea how to manifest my ideas in the real world. But I like solving problems in real time. Donna and David Feldman, the founders of Dmitriy, produced three versions of their Belgard sofa for me to use in the video. They shut down the Queens, New York, workroom for a full day, and then turned to me like, ‘Okay, Dustin. We did our part. Now how are you going to make this sofa completely unmake itself without any human involvement or special effects?’
My solution was all rigged in the moment, with me grabbing a bit of string from the sewing room and a few heavy bolts from the woodworking station. I cobbled together a pulley system of sorts and suddenly had billowing sheets of linen peeling away as if catching a gust of wind. The frame dissembling for the grand finale was a team effort.
David, myself and a studio assistant each tugged at strings I connected to the individual pieces in one harmonious motion. In my role as creative director, I prefer to approach problem solving on the spot instead of planning for complications. It may sound like I’m being careless, but in reality the magic behind The Way Back is a direct result of spontaneous idea generation and totally open communication with the crew and the client at all times. And honestly, it’s more fun that way.”