studio VIE was founded in 2013. It’s responsible for the Logo and Corporate Identity of the Take-Festival for Independent Fashion and Arts among many other projects. When I drove to their office, located in Vienna, I didn’t expect such a great interior design. The rooms were flooded with light and wooden bookshelves, which looked more like art than what they really were, covered the walls while presenting their work. Big windows, high ceilings and the clean, scandinavian vibe inside made me feel comfortable. I love clean no-nonsense interiors that don’t over-clutter but let you relax your eye and focus on the fundamental. Anouk and Christian welcomed me with a smile and an obligatory cup of coffee.
The first thing I was wondering about is: How do you come up with such ideas?
Christian: After you receive the briefing your brain automatically starts rattling. While talking to each other we quickly realised that the main component should be fun and from there it’s only a short walk to weirdness or to things, that are non-existent in the fashion context. But one of the main questions was – how can we integrate the color yellow, which is key in our CI? Will the typography be yellow, will the make up be yellow? We felt too trapped in that thought and decided to color the typography to remain faithful to our rather sculptural and sober concept. In this way we have the recognition value. It’s like playing ping pong, you exchange ideas until you find the right solution.
“Why does she carry him, why doesn’t he carry her, as we would expect him to?”
How does it work, after you have decided on a concept and are on your way to the photo shooting.
Christian: You mean in form of the image composition? It’s spontaneous. The models start to interact with each other, and we see what happens. You have some ideas, of course.
Anouk: We had some moods, where we had thought out how we want the models to stand or pose, but then you have to let it fly and see what will happen. You have to see how it looks in reality in front of the camera. Sometimes things you thought out before may not work like you thought they would and you need to change it during the photo shooting. That’s natural.
Christian: One of the elements we had talked about with Maria Ziegelböck, our photographer, was a contortionist but we couldn’t find any. So we went for an acrobat wearing Wendy and Jim boots and a long straddle. In the end, we wanted people to be emotional, be it a grin or irritation.
Storytelling is the It-word in social media marketing right now, how would you describe the story behind the final pictures?
Christian: The longer I look at the photos, the more I can tell you about them. The main picture, with the girl carrying the guy, has many possible interpretation levels. Should we take “Take” literally? And if so, why does she carry him, why doesn’t he carry her, as we would expect him to? Yet again this role swap is one of the topics the festival is trying to critically examine.
I like the irritation those pictures cause. You need to look closely – is it one body or two? Whose legs are those? We tried portraying fashion in an art context.
“It’s like playing ping pong, you exchange ideas until you find the right solution.”
I guess your job is quite crazy at times – what must stay the same so that everything else can go on? Is there a constant?
Christian: This is a good question.
Anouk: Do you really need a constant? If you break it down, then it’s clear – it’s the way we interact with each other. But it’s also important to have the change – sometimes interesting and often exhausting – but important, be it interns who are there for some weeks or clients who have ideas and suddenly change them completely. It’s like oil for the machine, in this way it can stay “alive” and work properly.
Christian: Even the working process is different for each project. Of course we have classical steps such as draft, presentation, corrections and further development with the client. But the way we do it is always different for each project.
Anouk: I think it has to change. Because if it doesn’t it may be dangerous to fall into a specific scheme and forget to try new things. I believe that we as a team are the constant. We know we will meet the next day, sit down and go on working on something together. Trust is one of the key components!
What was your Plan B for life?
Christian: I never had one, really. When I was 15 years old I knew I would be a graphic designer. In 2007/8 Anouk and I met. I was an intern at that time and even then we were working great as a team.
Anouk: It was clear that studio VIE would be there at some point. Difficult was the patience and the knowledge we had to acquire before we could start the company. When I was young I wanted to study fashion design. But after taking both exams I preferred graphic design. The fashion design world wasn’t the world I wanted to be in. Even though I love working with companies in fashion and it’s very exciting – but I prefer doing so from a graphic designer’s perspective.
And finally, what do you do for relaxation?
Christian: We were talking about this not long ago, that it’s difficult for both of us since, even when at home, we cannot switch off work. But we both, if I may speak for us, can relax with our family.
Anouk: Yes, the family is important. And I got a garden now. Doing something in the garden relaxes me. It’s even better than sitting on my sofa at home because my head doesn’t stop working then. But if I plant something, I have to concentrate on that and it’s great. My day-job is so different compared to gardening, since we sit in front of the computer a lot.
Christian: You are right, I take Sunday strolls to get flowers every week – it’s great to switch off.
(*Translation: huckepack means piggyback in German.)
Take Festival for Independent Fashion and Arts – April 25-29, 2017
at ALTE POST, Dominikanerbastei 11, 1010 Vienna.