P A N O R A M A — Interview

p a n o r a m a, design studio founded by Lukas Betzler, Simon Bork and Armin Roth.

Hello Lukas, Simon and Armin, how are you?


Can you introduce yourselves?

We are Lukas Betzler, Simon Bork and Armin Roth. Everybody is 28 years – except Armin is already 29.

How did you come to start up the studio?

During our studies at the State Academy of Art and Design Stuttgart we shared an atelier. So we started to work together on different jobs. Soon we noticed that we work well as a team. After finishing our studies we spent some time working in different agencies. When the opportunity arose to found our own studio and work together again, we took it – and established p a n o r a m a.

How do you work together?

Normally we start a project with pen and paper. We talk about the assignment and what we could do. The first ideas usually come very fast. In case we have a blockade, we keep on talking about anything else. After some time, we come back to the problem and then we have many ideas. Afterwards everybody tries to decipher his hieroglyphic sketches and makes digital or analog tests. Usually following is the “Art Director’s Circle” in which we sort and kill ideas (and fight). Our workflow is not fixed or static. Everybody is responsible for everything. We also swap the tasks during the process. That keeps the soup hot.

Where does your interest in graphic design come from?

Lukas wanted to be an artist. Simon first started his visual career as a coloring artist for comic books, magazines and computer games. Armin liked to draw scenic views in his young days.

Your Theater Rampe posters have been selected as one of the 100 beste plakate 2013 and awarded by Type Directors Club Tokyo Award 2014. Can you tell us more about this project, and what does these awards mean to you?

We were assigned to design the new identity for Theater Rampe, because the theatre directors changed. Part of the whole new identity was the so-called “Neustart” (Restart), a big opening celebration. For this restart we developed a special three-tier poster concept. As a first teaser we printed only the headline “Wem gehört die Welt” (who owns the world). After this poster was up for display for a few weeks in every corner of Stuttgart, we organized a big happening, where artists and citizens of Stuttgart were invited to spray their personal answers on the posters. Those results were put up over the first posters. After some more weeks we printed the Logo and the additional information to complete the posters. The sans-serif Typeface is especially made for this project by us. It is inspired by the strong and somehow peculiar serif-typeface Stempel Schneidler (1939) by Ernst Schneidler, who taught at the art academy in Stuttgart.
We are happy that our posters were shown at the exhibition. It is some kind of additional reward, that an official jury rated it as “good”. But we don’t want to become award hunters.

Is there any designer or artist you appreciate a lot?

Lukas — The art exhibition “infinitum” 2009 in the Palazzo Fortuni (Venice) was the best exhibition I have ever seen. The artworks of different ages and styles were set so exactly right in this very heterogeneous spaces of the old and run-down palazzo. It felt like being a necessary and integrated subject between the artworks. The curator Axel Verwoordt has done a perfect job! Since that experience most of the art exhibitions are a bit boring.

Simon — Hm, I’m having a hard time deciding on a designer but Lukas’ answer reminded me of another great exhibition concept I saw in the V&A in London, the exhibition “tomorrow” by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. They transformed the rooms of the gallery into an apartment of a fictional architect not only showing objects from the V&A’s collection but also telling the story of a broken old man. Reinventing old, known structures always sticks in our mind, it seems.

Armin — Chip Kidd: killing presentations and he’s not that typical designer guy.

Which books are on your bedside tables?

Lukas — Robert Crumb’s Genesis and “An Anarchistic Banker” by Fernando Pessoa.
Simon — “Summer Crossing” by Steve Tesich.
Armin — “The invisible apple” by Robert Gwisdek (the head of Käptn Peng & die Tentakel Von Delphi).

The last word…

Thanks for having us.


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