Are We Designer Interview
Here at Lemonade we’re really hoping to push things forward in 2013. The first thing myself and Matt noticed was the shortfalls of Issuu. Don’t get us wrong, we do love certain aspects of it. However we think to really move the magazine forward we’ll be soon parting ways with it and moving onto a much more suitable platform, both in terms of reading and publishing. We do this labour of love for you, the reader and also for the people we feature. Feedback from artists and creatives we’ve interviewed has shown us that we can make a difference and a positive impact on the art scene. As a result of this decision we’ll be publishing our back catalogue of reviews, features and interviews from Issuu onto our main site for easier reference, better searching and hopefully more exposure to a wider audience. First up we have design collective, Are We Designer, from volume 4 of the magazine. We hope you enjoy it and stay tuned for more!
Lemonade Magazine: For those who aren’t aware of you or your art could you give us a brief introduction?
Are We Designer: We are a fantastic design studio based in Cologne, Germany. We are 4 lovely designers Daniela, Janina, Ruth and Sascha plus our current charming intern Miro.
LM: Can you tell us a little about your artistic background?
AWD: We all studied Design in Germany, three of us at the Köln International School of Design in Cologne and one at the university of applied sciences in Trier. After graduating we all worked as freelancers for different companies, before we decided to run our own office. Having the opportunity to gain experiences before hitting the ground with ARE WE DESIGNER was something very precious.
LM: Who or what inspired you to start creating art?
AWD: This is really hard to say. None of us have creative backgrounds in our families and didn’t have fathers, mothers or grandparents to show us how to live a creative life. Maybe it has something to do with our very own talents and interests, we guess. The only thing we were not prepared for is the fact, that creativity forces you to do something – anytime. If you are a creative you have to do things. Full stop.
LM: How would you describe your art?
AWD: We always try to be bold, breaking down barriers and attempt to elicit a smile on people’s faces. We believe that the rational part of everything is better understood with sympathy and fun. You can bring together the most interesting information in a straight and neat way – not many will remember the contents or conclusions. But if you add some smile-makers in it, than people start talking about it. The best thing we can do as designers is helping people to laugh, think and talk.
LM: How would you describe your creative process? Do you always start from the same point or do you try to work more organically?
AWD: First of all we want to impress ourselves! So no matter what, we are looking for new and inspiring solutions. We love to combine unseen topics to get a strong result. This is not the easiest way we admit, especially because we are aware of life being exactly as it was said in Pixar‘s Ratatouille “The new needs friends” Fortunately we are friends and most of the time our clients go all the way with us from start to finish.
Regarding the process, many times our starting point is research and thinking. After everyone has done this, we bring everything to the table and start talking about it, exchanging thoughts and perspectives. Then we start coming up with ideas – sometimes good ones, sometimes weird ones (always our favourites). A teacher once taught us never to use the word “but” while brainstorming. It is really tough to follow this advice, but it is always worth it. After we found our idea the process is always different. So at the end it is some sort of combination of “always” and “organically”.
LM: Tell us about your favourite piece of work that you have created to date and why it is so special to you?
AWD: We always try to make our last work the best. To quote the New York City Metro we are “Improving non-stop.” Our goal is always to look ahead and to discover something new. We are not really into nostalgia regarding our own work. But since you have asked… a very special project was our first trend book that we did for BASF Coatings. What makes us feel special about the book is the fact that it was totally realised in screen printing. The printer asked us several times if we really want to do this (he thought we were crazy!). It was a huge adventure and we died a thousand deaths but at the end everything worked out great.
LM: What’s the craziest idea you’ve either been proposed or come up with?
AWD: For outsiders our craziest idea was closing our studio for 2 months in 2011. Sascha took parental leave, Ruth learned Spanish in Barcelona for 4 weeks and Janina and Daniela went to New York City and spend the entire time there. During this time ww did not only explore spare time but also our own thoughts. By the time that we all met back in Cologne we had tons of inspiration, hundreds of ideas and some really important findings in our pockets. All our friends told us that it would be crazy to risk losing our clients. But at the end, we didn’t lose a single one.
LM: Who are your favourite artists, past or present?
AWD: This is a funny question because we are working on a video right now, where we try to mention all the people that influence us. We detected that there are many of them and we don’t even know how many people are still out there that we haven’t come across yet. To answer your question – we love people like James Victore, Ferran Adria, Tilda Swinton, Lady Gaga, Sanaa, Stefan Sagmeister and Wes Anderson, just to mention a few.
LM: What is your favourite piece of work created by another artist and why?
AWD: It always alternates. You know that situation when you come across a new project or work and end up being completely blown away by the whole project? A few days this happened to us when we read about the recent work “Rain Room” by random international. This installation gives visitors the experience of what it is like to not be hit by the rain even though it is raining all the time.
Bringing people out of their comfort zone and giving them an idea of how things could be different is always something we feel very attracted to. Finding those works and having this moment of being super energised is the best starting point for doing something new. It really kicks ass.
LM: If you had to up sticks and leave the country where would you choose and why?
AWD: There are so many interesting places on earth! But New York City and Barcelona definitely would be a good choice. Why? Because we love cities that are inspiring, exciting and vibrant. But the most important thing is the people living there – this is something we really love here in Cologne because the people are nice to each other which make even the greyest days shine bright.
LM: Do you have a particular material, brand or technique that you swear by?
AWD: Having fun and listening to pop music.
LM: Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for aspiring artists?
AWD: Oh, we LOVE wisdoms. Ours would be: Trust and be yourself, don’t be afraid of anything – failing just makes you wiser (even if sometimes it is hard to endure), work hard while having fun doing it and keep your social life in the real world.
LM: What can we expect from you in the future and is there anywhere you would like your work to take?
AWD: Our crystal ball is currently on vacation. What will be, will be.