Design Friends Luxembourg
by Afsaneh Angelina
It’s been 3 years since you’ve been in Luxembourg, what have you been up to in the time since?
Since then, I worked with architect Jean Nouvel, who asked me to design the signage for the Louvre Abu Dhabi. The pictogram’s basic shapes are inspired by the light forms generated by the dome, which is made of several layers forming, somehow, a gigantic Mashrabiya. Also an opportunity to combine a modernist Latin typeface, the Frutiger Next, and a classical Arabic typeface designed by Lebanese type designer Kristyan Sarkis. I also designed the logotype, the complete corporate identity and the signage of the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Marrakech, built by KO Architects. The logotype’s global form is a pure diamond shape, based on Yves Saint Laurent’s passion for Mondrian’s art spirit, and also the traditional Moroccan tiles “zelliges”. I have used the initial letters of every wordto complete the logotype, and preferred to use the lowercases for the two “m,” because their round shapes match the typical Moorish arcade forms. The combination of lowercases and the capital letters used for the initials of Yves Saint Laurent entails a hierarchy inside the diamond shape logotype. For all the printed materials, and for the animation, I wanted to use a very large color palette, to reflect how much Yves Saint Laurent was himself influenced by the Mediterranean light and the very colorful local artefacts.
Last year, I was honored to be invited by Issey Miyake to design the package visuals of his iconic fragrances for the 2017 season. I used the shapes of the two bottles (for men and for women) to design two bespoke typefaces, which I then used to create the box designs. In addition, the same year, I was lucky to see the result of more than a year of research with the famous French national ceramic manufacturer “La Manufacture de Sèvres,” who invited me to conceive three rhythmic patterns, which have been applied on various plates. One of my designs consists of gold slashes that diffuse outward and curve like a cresting wave; another one is madeof dots arranged as a galaxy, with the Sèvres blue as background; and the third is a light sprinkle of elongated hyphens.
During the summer of 2017, the GGG Gallery in Tokyo held an exhibition of my recent works, and published a catalogue in their series GGG-Books. On top of that, I also designed the new logotype for the “Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode”, as well as the “Sidaction” visual identity for the second time. Sidaction is a major event, aiming at raising awareness and collecting funds for various AIDS-related organizations and institutions. This volunteer work marksmy personal involvement in this project.
What is your next big project?
This fall, my book about the 1939–1945 commemorative plaques in Paris will be published. This incredible and unprecedented work gathers photographs of these unique urban features over 1200 pages, which will be accompanied by an autobiographic text I wrote, and another one written by a Philosopher and Professor of Aesthetics at the Sorbonne University. The book will be dedicated to youth. It’s an invitation to understand the past in order to live better together, today. While the last survivors of the Second World are disappearing, the transmission of the memory of those who have fallen during the German Occupation and the Liberation of Paris is particularly crucial. These plaques, regularly decorated with bouquets of flowers, are whispers of stolen lives, and honor people that have become ghosts.
Today more than ever, what does honest design mean to you?
A permanent respect for those who will receive the designed production.
Where do you look for magic these days?
I would probably say the sky. I wonder where the sky startsand where its stops: when does the space become the Space?
Which designer should weinvite next?
I would recommend Swiss designers and type designers Clovis Vallois and Anton Studer, who have founded the foundry Nouvelle Noire (Nouvelle Noire). They create very interesting typefaces, and among their projects, I was pleased to see them develop ten typefaces based on letters I drew for various projects, to form their “Apeloig Type Library”. Recently, they released a new typeface, called Rektorat, initially designed for the Museum Für Gestaltung. To draw the letters, they used the historical letterings, which were on the modernist building the museum and the art school is in.
Do you feel like in the past decade there has been an increased interest in design (in your field) and if so why do you think that is? Conversely if you feel like there should be more attention given to design creation and innovation what do you think is missing in order to achieve that goal?
The nonstop use of technology implies that we are, all around the world, starving for images. I think this phenomenon has entailed something of an increased interest in design, to learn the processof visual communication.
How would you define timeless design?
Your work pays your bills,but how do you stay excited about your chosen path?
By not being afraid of engaging myself in work positions or jobs that I have never done before.
Design Friends Luxembourg
Presse, Août 2018