A Parisian Creative Studio With An Epic Client List (We’re Looking At You, Rihanna)
In some ways, the five-year-old Parisian creative agency Bonsoir Paris has everything a modern-day entrepreneurial venture could want — creatively fulfilling commissioned work from cool, high-profile clients (everyone from COS to Rihanna) as well as the time and space to pursue their own work on the side. (The studio has a lab that encourages its workers into “boundaryless exploration,” as managing director Ben Sandler puts it.) But perhaps the point — which could be well learned by most companies — is that it’s not just the paid commissioned work that fuels the personal. Bonsoir Paris’s personal work has in fact often acted as a calling card for clients who might need help crystallizing their vision or for those who just like what they see. “We are so fortunate and lucky to do what we do on a daily basis, even if it’s for a client. So when we get to do it for ourselves with the resources that we have at our disposal, that exploration grows tenfold,” says Sandler of their approach. “The personal work expresses our aesthetic but it also shows our clients and potential clients what we can accomplish. We’re constantly researching and trying new methods. Maybe we’re not experts in something yet but because of the sheer interest and passion behind it, we can engage more and more.”
That attitude in fact sums up how the studio has worked from the beginning, when it was founded by Rémy Clémente and Morgan Maccari, two graphic designers who got together most nights (hence the name) before founding a proper 9-5 agency. “They started off doing graphic design — Rémy is more technologically oriented and volumetric in his approach while Morgan is more 2D — and that led to set design and photography, which led to ephemeral design for pop-ups and windows, which led to permanent installations,” Sandler explains. Now the team includes a full-time product designer, photographer, and another junior art director, all of whom collaborate on the work, which is heavy on just the kind geometrics and abstraction we love. We recently caught up with them to find out a bit more.
Describe your most recent project and how it was made.
We’ve recently wrapped up a few design and image projects, notably a furniture installation for a fashion house and ongoing photographic experimentations. On the former we can’t say much more at this time but it will be out soon and we’re excited to show it. Beyond that, we have an ongoing photo series entitled ‘Wasted Time’. We set aside a certain amount of time and budget per month to produce this personal series in addition to our commissioned work. It gives us the chance to try out and experiment with any ideas we may have had, whether it be testing new photo lighting techniques, experimenting with parametric design and 3D printing, still-life experiments, film-making, etc.
Our last project, which was a personal project entitled Digital / Nature, used inspiration from molecular biology. We sought to create complex organic forms replicating morphogenesis and carbon-based exoskeletons using entirely digital methods made up of codes and algorithms. The parametric designs were then manifested in physical forms (3D prints using a digital sintering process) and an animated short film. The objective was to blur the lines between natural forms and the digital processes, taking advantage of new technological methods to create a level of depth and complexity with abstract forms.
Describe your next project and how you’re currently making it.
We’re currently working on a collective experiential project. We’re in the early development phases but we’d like to create something in the same vein as a former collective project called ‘Duramen’ we created at the inception of the studio about 5 years ago. The intention is to merge the various skills and capacities of the team, mixing spatial and object design and image-making. We see it as a step forward in our experiential design and a statement of future direction of the studio, something explored in our collaboration with Esquire and En Noir (above). In any case, stay tuned for more, we’re all looking forward to a studio-wide collective project of this scale.
Tell us one thing that’s been inspiring you lately and why.
As we work as a collective studio, individually we all have slightly different roles and focuses but we are currently inspired by: parametric and algorithmic design, spatial video installations, and interactive technologies that bridge the gap between physical and digital experiences. To be specific, some of those influences include: OMA/Rem Koolhaas, Ricardo Legorreta, Jean Paul Jungmann, Tadao Ando, Olafur Eliasson, Krij de Kooning, Banks Violette, Patrick Hill, Sol LeWitt, Koichi Sato, Steven Meisel, Scheltens + Abbenes (above), Synchrodogs, Viviane Sassen, Proenza Schouler, Prada, Apple, Louis Vuitton, Audi, Google, Acronym, Martin Margiela, SSENSE, Biennale d’architecture de Venise, Opera Garnier, Fondation Prada Milan, CIRVA (Centre International du Verre et Arts Plastiques), and the MIT Media Arts Lab.
Show us your studio and tell us what you like about it.
We’ve imagined the studio in a modular manner, as we bounce from project to project or work on several projects simultaneously. We don’t have designated spaces for certain departments, we are all distributed throughout the office to keep an open dialogue and overview on what we’re working on. Of course, most importantly we’ve tried to create a warm and inviting space. The abundance of natural light and the configuration of desks create an open layout that’s quite conducive to both collaborative work and individual focus (when needed). Peace of mind was one of the most important elements when we created the studio as we spend a lot of our time here, and its become more than just an office space but a sort of hub for our collective activities.