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Interview with Studio that Brings Our Communities to Life Before They’re Built

We sat down with the abSketches founder and president, Anthony Billet, and asked him about his experience, his team’s process and what trends in the world of design he has his eye on.

For the last 40 years, Sunrise has become known for providing high-quality care and lifestyle offerings to our residents and their families at our more than 270 communities across the U.S. and Canada. However, there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that you may not have insight into, especially when it comes to the development of one of our new communities. One crucial part of that process is visualizing what the community will look and how it will fit into its surrounding environment in a way that standard blueprints don’t.

Enter abSketches, a York, Pennsylvania-based visual marketing company that creates the dynamic and realistic renderings of the exteriors and interiors of our communities that you have probably seen on our website and social media channels. We wanted to learn and share more about what inspires this incredible team to create these beautiful images, so we sat down with the studio founder and president, Anthony Billet, and asked him about his experience, his team’s process and what trends in the world of design he has his eye on.

Sunrise: Anthony, thank you so much for taking the time to connect with us today! You founded abSketches in 2009, nearly 15 years ago, which is quite an impressive feat. Can you tell us a little bit about what you did before founding abSketches. How did you get into this type of visual marketing and design industry? 

Anthony: Before I founded abSketches, I worked in the architectural and construction industries - I have always had a passion for working in and around architecture. During my early career, I performed various roles such as project manager, job captain, and designer, and had the opportunity to lead many teams in the office as well as the field. During the recession, I, like so many, was let go from my position and was forced to find ways to supplement my income. I began to focus on marketing and my love for designing and selling projects. This quickly became abSketches and 13 years later, here we are.

Sunrise: It is really inspiring that you were able to build such a positive thing out of such a negative situation. You mentioned that you have a love for designing and selling projects. When audiences see your team’s work, what feelings are you trying to capture? 

Anthony: The narrative largely depends on the intentions of the image and what phase of the project we are in. 

If we are creating images for schematic design, we focus on nailing a strong aesthetic for our client’s design and “Furniture/Fixtures/Equipment” team. This requires detailed and precise tonality, colors, and scale. Our goal is to provide our clients full confidence for the final built space.

Lastly, after being awarded the project and the design is finalized, we need to create a visual expectation for future Sunrise residents and their families. This entails not only getting all of the details and design exact, we also have to sell a lifestyle that those residents can see themselves in. It needs to feel warm, inviting, and familiar in a way that the viewer could see themselves being happy within the image. We focus heavily on composition of the image, lighting, and tone when doing this to create subtle ways of pulling the viewer in and eliciting an emotional response, often one that makes them feel at home.

Sunrise: Are you crafting those narratives in your designs, how does creating for senior living communities differ from other types of design and architecture projects? What considerations do you have to account for with this specific audience? 

Anthony: When focusing on senior living communities like Sunrise, we aim to sell an individualized, self-paced lifestyle that’s comfortable and accommodating, whether they are living in an Independent Living, Assisted Living or Memory Care community. When looking at a senior living community image, we want the future resident to envision themselves enjoying their life in those spaces with their families and loved ones for years to come.

Sunrise: Since the emotions and feelings around Sunrise projects are so different from others, are you inspired creatively by Sunrise’s current and future residents?

Anthony: For me, I think the connection comes from the fact that one day I, myself, could be a Sunrise resident. I always try to envision what I would enjoy within a community and how to creatively visualize that emotion. I am inspired by art, passion, and people who follow their dreams. When thinking of the current and future residents, I like to think they all in some way embody those three inspiring characteristics.

Sunrise: Let us know when you’d like to move in - we’d be happy to have you! Jokes aside, we’d like to ask you a few rapid-fire questions. The first one is which Sunrise community was your favorite to work on?

Anthony: There are so many to choose from but I’d have to say my personal favorite was Sunrise at E56th in New York City. The overall scale of the project was a lot of fun for our team. Being able to accurately represent such a beautiful project in an intimate, inviting, and diverse way was very rewarding.

Sunrise: What is your favorite space or room in a Sunrise Community to design?

Anthony: This is a hard one. I don’t want to sound cliché, but I enjoy them all! Each room is an opportunity to create a space for someone to enjoy.

Sunrise: Okay, final question: How do you stay on top of design trends? Which ones are you following right now? 

Anthony: We are fortunate to work with design firms worldwide in many different industries. We see trends come and go. Some stay longer and are more successful than others, and some do not last long at all. I have to admit, I tend to follow variations and subtle adaptations to traditional design. I enjoy seeing how designers bring nostalgic design around to be relevant again in a clean, modern, and lasting way.

Sunrise: Anthony, it was an absolute pleasure to connect with you today to hear about your background and work. Where can our readers find you and learn more about abSketches?

Anthony: Of course! We really appreciate our partnership and look forward to continuing our work together. You can find us on our website at or connect with us on social via our FacebookLinkedInYouTubeTwitter and Instagram accounts.  

Article By: Sunrise Senior Living

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