KASPER-FLORIO — Interview
Kasper-Florio, St.Gallen-based studio founded by Larissa Kasper and Rosario Florio.
Hello Larissa and Rosario, how are you?
Hi. We feel good today. Thanks.
Can you introduce yourselves?
We are Larissa Kasper and Rosario Florio from St.Gallen, Switzerland. Together we form the studio Kasper-Florio, working in the fields of graphic design, typography and art direction.
How do you work together?
We usually work together right from the beginning of a new project. The start is set by a big discussion about the problem we have to solve, which hopefully results in finding the right questions and the right solution. It’s always a back and forth between thoughts, ideas and aesthetics that join together and lead us to a result.
Where does your interest in graphic design come from?
We both liked drawing and writing when we were kids and knew very early that we want to have a profession which was challenging in a creative and artistic way.
Typography is a core tool of your work. Are you thinking of creating your own typeface?
Definitely. It is both interesting and challenging to create a typeface while having an imagination of how you could use it in your own design. At the same time we imagine it very nice seeing your own typeface used in a surprising way by some colleagues. We did our first steps in type design while working on a lettering for an identity. As the process got more and more evolving we completed the main character set resulting in a simple display cut. At the same time we did some experiments with tweaking (or mutilating) existing typefaces, like a variation of Futura, which has been used for WAX magazine. We were eager to explore this field more and started drawing from scratch. Our first typeface « Monument Grotesk » is based on a little research on old English grotesques with a high vertical contrast. During the last year we’ve regularly worked on the main characters but there is still a long route to go. The aim is to finally expand it to a little family with an italic and bold cut at a later stage.
Helmut Schmid said that « typography is black and white since black and white represents truth ». Is your philosophy of aesthetic the same?
During the working process we’re usually first focused on content and composition. Every color transmits certain emotions, which in turn have an effect on the message. To us simplicity and abstraction help transmitting this message in a very direct yet open way, while color is something very subjective. Everyone has different associations seeing for example a green square. One is reminded of the coat of his grandma, the other of the peas he was forced to eat as a kid. It can be easy or very hard to work with colors. We’re more interested in observing and finding out how the different content can be stripped down to its most important information through a specific composition of letters, forms, shapes and contrasts. How far can we go in abstraction? Using black and white or a greyscale can help you making very precise decisions in those contrasts.
A-Typical Plan, the book you designed with Samuel Bänziger was selected as one of The Most Beautiful Swiss Books of the year 2013. Can you tell us more about the project?
About one and a half years ago Bänziger Hug got commissioned with this project and asked us to collaborate. The result is a 202 pages softcover book in the size of 190x285mm. It shows projects and essays on the architecture of open-plan offices, edited by Jeannette Kuo and her studio at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). The title image of the publication is a photography of the Gallery of Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy in the Natural History Museum in Paris. It represents the reference of Jeannette Kuo’s studies to precise the structures of the internal. This exposure of the structures was also the basis of our editorial concept. The clear structure in four parts becomes already visible on the jacket by the table of contents on the back cover. We reinforce these contextual structures visually using the atypical font size ratios for the individual types of text such as the introduction, project descriptions, essays and the colophon. The chapter pages and tables of content on the inside reference the back cover regarding position and form. The design grid on which the entire book is based, offers a lot of leeway for structuring these different types of text.
Is there any designer you appreciate a lot?
There are many we appreciate. Most of them not only because of their work, but also because of their attitude, their consistent quality, their courage, their personal aesthetic and their original methodology.
Which books are on your bedside tables?
– « Jenseits der Schönheit » by Georg Simmel.
– « Matisse begegnet Bergson » by Lorenz Dittmann.
– « Die Kunst des Bücherliebens » by Umberto Eco.
The last word …
Interview : Dennis Moya & Tiffany Baehler