Duration: Four years.
Location: Athens, Greece.
Key creatives: Joshua Olsthoorn and Kostas Vlachakis.
Cultural influences: Although interesting and necesary, speaking about our influences is merely poetic or cool discourse. At some point, we have to realize that everything we see is a pure invention of the mind—the “original” never existed. Studying and restudying the beginnings of things—let’s say their “typical essences”—often reveals what we believe to be speculative qualities; for example, “surrealism” within cinema or “modernism” in literature—these meanings are not so neat. We find natural references in these fields apart from design: nature, philosophy, architecture, music, politics, internet reality and traditions.
Approach: We stand under a name that not only comes together with the demand for engagement, but also goes in the direction opposite to the notion of the “creative industry”—and what is promoted as “creativity” in general.
Favorite projects: We are very happy with TP Vorzeit Grotesk, the typeface designed mostly for our communication materials. Without using heavy optical corrections, we based every single stroke on early “grotesk” typefaces. We also designed a product series for the Eumelia biodynamic farm without using any strong branding and promotional elements, but rather the aspect of object materiality. The color we chose for the series, an earthly red rose, reflects the values of the brand. The final designs hold the object suite to a table and not to a trash can. Also, our series for Empty Gallery in Hong Kong gave us the space to produce work for a field that we are comfortable working in.
Aspirations: On the one hand, it would be an achievement if we remain where we are while finding a way to stretch ourselves further in regards to communication ideals, forms and matter. On the other hand—as building our studio within the Greek crisis has taught us to be pleased with little—we want to do more by looking more deeply and freely at seemingly small, banal assignments. One part of us aspires to stay as solid and as ascetic as possible; the other wants to mingle with the boundary-blurring complexities that the 21st century is throwing on humanity—especially in the omnipresent domain of visual culture. Perhaps we are aspiring to be a squared circle or a hermetically open platform.
Philosophy: Shaping the already existing, yet mostly undefined type behind the matter. We want to discover the typical structures of subjects relevant to our projects.