Computer Arts, 141, October issue, Book of Inspiration supplement, 57 of the World’s Greatest Illustrators, by Roddy Llewellyn, featuring Trans-form magazine, p.13, unedited Q&A, London, UK, September 2007 (English)
BOOK OF INSPIRATION SUPPLEMENT
57 of the world's greatest illustrators | Featuring FL@33's Trans-form magazine and interview excerpts.
August 16th, 2007 |
Was the piece commissioned or personal work?
After long discussions about how to boil down six years of FL@33 to only one project we finally decided to go back to the roots and ignored our ongoing projects bzzzpeek.com and stereohype.com in favour of Trans-form magazine – our very first official FL@33 project which was often described in books and magazines as a blueprint for FL@33's thinking and creation processes.
What was the brief?
Our own brief was: 'Go nuts, take risks in our explorations and don't be afraid to fail – that's what studying is all about. Then find sponsors and produce the final work to show everybody what we can and would do with only this one project'.
What was the process behind making the piece?
The project was inspired by the view from the window of our first studio in Notting Hill – a flat number 33. Trans-form is a multi-media celebration of the tower cranes that dominated the Paddington skyline at the time. The main challenge was to bring together three different kinds of media. Usually that’s not our starting point, but in this case it worked quite well. Normally we come up with an idea rather than a presentation environment, but in this case that’s how it started. Trans-form includes photographs, line drawings, photo montages, typography and graphics, animations and the website.
___ Collecting interesting footage for the project also involved climbing into a tower crane cab (a 30-metre vertical trip), armed with camera, sound recording equipment and a laptop. (We have a couple of friends who are architects, who allowed us access to construction sites. I ended up on a crane in Frankfurt. It was quite scary – I don’t like heights and the crane was being dismantled while we were in the cab.) We had a chance to interview a cab driver called Uwe. A picture taken from him at work ended up being featured on our website as the main navigation element.
What applications / tools were used?
Our hardware at the time (2001) was: Macintosh G4, Powerbook G3, PC Pentium, Polaroid SX70,...
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...Nikon FM2, Sony PC-100, Canon A1, Sony MiniDisk player (can't remember the model) with stereo microphone. Software: Photoshop, Freehand, Streamline, Quark, Quicktime Pro, After Effects, Premiere, Flash and Dreamweaver
Which artists and illustrators have influenced you?
There are so many, including Ray and Charles Eames (for the best lounge chair ever), László Moholy-Nagy (for his Licht-Raum-Modulator), André Breton, Vaughan Oliver, Gert Dumbar, Monty Python.
What do you like to read, and have any film-makers or musicians influenced you?
Mags: While we do try to find time to regularly read the usual suspects like Computer Arts, Grafik, Creative Review, Novum, etc. – we do usually find magazines about architecture, interior design, fashion or new and future high tech gadgets even more refreshing. If we have time to read mags at all that is...
___ Books: I'm currently reading the fascinating book 'Blink – The Power of Thinking without Thinking' by Malcolm Gladwell, the follow-up from the equally fascinating 'The Tipping Point'. Agathe is currrently reading a book on tri-lingual child education and also a few handbooks at the same time (Adobe CS3 bundle and Canon EOS 5D). We both always try to find time to improve our French and German (respectively) language skills and have found the book series 'Assimil' to be rather effective, it divides the learning process into chunks of 15–30 minutes each – which really works for us IF one finds the time for a lesson or two every single day...
___ Movies: While we have to admit to watch the occasional blockbuster comedy, action thriller or sci-fi flic we always try to catch great or promising independent movies, too. I'm a big Peter Greenaway and Stanley Kubrick fan but do always enjoy a nice Quentin Tarantino. There was an excellent exhibition by Peter Greenaway some 10 years ago in Barcelona featuring countless installations on the topic 'The myth of Icarus'. It was simply beautiful and I still think about it sometimes. Oh – and last but not least we do occasionally love watching Sesame Street and other educational children programs.
___ Music: The FL@33 playlists feature everything from Cuban music to Krafwerk, Joy Division and contemporaries like Editors, Interpol or CSS. The music we listen to in the studio does often seem to influence our design process and I don't know whether this means anything but the compositions by Steve Reich are probably played the most. It has to be said though that we do also enjoy days of complete silence.
___ www: We regularly visit link portals such as newstoday, ntmy (nice to meet you), pixelsurgeon or k10k to find links to new website launches, updates or other inspiring recommendations. It's also always very interesting to google/image google project-related topics or see whether YouTube has something funny to offer.
What do you do to recharge when your ideas run dry?
FL@33 is constantly working on at least three projects at any given time and it helps to leave one of the projects untouched for a few days to reflect on what's been created so far and what challenges lay ahead. One of the most refreshing new ideas and directions are often found while doing something completely unrelated. Be it a short walk, a browse through our extensive library, playing with my two year old son, meeting friends and family, visiting exhibitions and of course traveling – even if it's just a short break, etc. We have always found it particularly inspiring to work across different mediums and formats. One rarely gets 'writers/designers block' while working on a website, a book and two visual identities or an animation (like we do at the moment). Switching between these projects while respecting the deadlines seems to works just fine for our clients and us.
What are you working on next?
We are currently compiling, editing and designing the first FL@33-initiated book with the working title 'A Book of Postcards' which is due to be published in 2008 by Laurence King. We have unearthed a lot of postcard gems from all around the world and are very excited about the opportunity to continue to do what we started with our sister company stereohype.com – which is to showcase many emerging and established designers, artists, illustrators and photographers besides established ones.
FL@33 has designed and helped editing three books already during the last three years for the same publisher ('200% Cotton – New T-Shirt Graphics', '300% Cotton – More T-Shirt Graphics' and 'Patterns – New Surface Design') but our forthcoming Postcard book will hopefully be the first of many where we are actually authors, too. The book will come in an intriguing packaging we developed for the project containing specially designed postcards by hand-picked talents. All very exciting... 8)