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This story begins on a slightly discordant note. The source of contention is just five months old, a pug-beagle mix that is, without question, extremely cute. But his name is Enzo, despite his aster’s known love for one thing above all else: Porsches! “Yeah,” says Chris LaBrooy with a grin and a conciliatory wink. “His middle name just might be Ferdinand.” Well, in that case …
Chris LaBrooy lives with his wife, Jessica (who is originally from California), their nine-year-old son, Chase, and now Enzo in a townhouse on the outskirts of the small Scottish town of Ellon. Enzo can hardly contain himself at the sight of guests and runs circles around them like a helicopter. After all, not many visitors find their way to LaBrooy’s hometown, located about half an hour north of Aberdeen, with a population of just over 10,000. One site of interest near Ellon is the abandoned Tolquhon Castle. A weathered monument with a nearly unpronounceable name, it has a notable history in one respect. William Forbes, an ancestor of the present-day lord, built it as a defense against enemies, but the castle was never attacked. The locals are keen to point out that the reason it never saw action is because of its hidden location—no potential aggressors ever managed to find it.
The television is on in the LaBrooys’ living room, although no one is watching it. We follow the artist into one of the small rooms on the ground floor of his narrow brick house. A bookshelf, three chairs, a desk with an enormous monitor, and a graphics board—that’s his studio. He needs nothing more to give life to his extraordinary visions.
Unique take on reality
LaBrooy is a product designer who earned his master’s degree from London’s renowned Royal College of Art—a top-notch education. Following his studies, he began designing furniture and other largely practical objects. During this early stage of his career, he realized two things. First, that he has a talent for capturing—and not infrequently surpassing—reality in a special way with his computer- animated renderings. And second, that images can be enormously alluring. To illustrate this last point, he mentions Marc Newson, a designer he admires. Newson’s shiny aluminum Lockheed Lounge was the most expensive piece sold at auction by a living designer for more than a million pounds (around $1.7 million): an iconic item. “Everyone loves it,” says LaBrooy. “But very few people have ever seen the object itself. They love the image of it.” The image in both senses of the word.
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