BIZZARRI RODRIGUEZ — Interview
Bizzarri Rodriguez, Paris-based graphic design studio founded by Alain Rodriguez and Thomas Bizzarri.
— Hello Thomas and Alain how are you guys?
Hello, we are good. Thank you for the invitation.
— Can you introduce yourselves?
We are Alain Rodriguez and Thomas Bizzarri. We run a graphic design studio based in Paris, since 2010. We design mostly books but also posters, visual identities and typefaces.
— Where does your interest in design come from?
It comes from various influences and interests. From painting to literature as well as a mutual affinity for drawing and typography. When we were students we discovered how to feed a project with all these influences and it naturally turned into a daily practice.
— How did you come to start up the studio?
We have been friends for a long time now. We met in design school and shared a flat when we first moved to Paris. We started working in our rooms on random projects with no big expectations. At some point we found a studio to work from and we then decided to take it more seriously.
— Would you like to explain to us one of your projects?
We have been designing the visual identity and books for Lyon-based publisher Le Feu Sacré since 2012. They recently released Specimen, a type specimen book which is about Thermidor, a typeface we designed as the main element of the identity for the publisher. Based on an existing alphabet called Type Beaudoire by French typographer Charles Beaudoire and designed at the end of the 19th century, Thermidor belongs to a category generally referred to a ‘revival’ typeface. Its design involves issues relating to temporality, appropriation and renewal.
We decided with the artist Ève Chabanon (who was involved in the project as editor) to come up with a design and layout that would go beyond the purely formal purpose of a type specimen book. Thermidor became the focus and in that sense, the basis for a series of invitations. Various authors working in the field of art and design embraced the proposal, allowing the typeface to take on myriad forms depending on the areas explored. Specimen is therefore not strictly a specialist book about typography or about the question of ‘reworking’ or ‘revival’, but rather a collection of texts into which the reader can delve according to his or her particular areas of interest. Generally, all our work for Le Feu Sacré is based on a real collaboration as opposed to a pure design commission. Fabien Thévenot, the founder of the publishing house and us share a mutual understanding on both the design and the editorial content which is what makes this collaboration so precious for us.
— Do you have a favorite typeface to work with?
No, there are many typefaces we like. We want to be relevant with the content we are working with but we also try to work with different typefaces on each project. Maybe we act a bit like collectors.
— Is there any designer you appreciate a lot?
We feel very close to and with admiration of the work of graphic designers we know and are friends with, such as Coline Sunier & Charles Mazé, Spassky Fischer or Olivier Lebrun, among many others.
— Is there a book or a manifesto which opened your eyes about design?
Not really, but the work of Philippe Millot had a great influence on us when we discovered it for the first time. We were very impressed by the way he takes care of each detail in typography, paper choices, formats, the connections he makes with the history of French books and typography. Since then, we try to be as meticulous as possible on these particular aspects.
— The last word…
Pictures and projects by Bizzarri Rodriguez.
Interview: Dennis Moya + Tiffany Bähler, 04.16