Atelier Choque Le Goff — Interview
Interview with Donald Choque and Yoann Le Goff from Atelier Choque Le Goff.
Dennis Moya: Hello Donald and Yoann how are you?
Donald, Yoann: Hi Dennis! We’re great, thank you for having us on Ligature.
DM: Can you introduce yourselves?
D, Y: We met in a classroom sculpting foam and listening to psy trance music. Yoann likes the mountain, Donald likes the sea, Yoann rides a bike, Donald drives a car, Yoann comes from the south, Donald comes from the north, Yoann likes to drink, Donald likes to eat, Yoann likes mangos, Donald likes passion fruits, Yoann is organized, Donald is a mess, Yoann wanted to be an architect, Donald wanted to be a racecar driver, Yoann dances, Donald shakes his body, Yoann writes in roman capitals, Donald writes in cursive, Yoann likes straight bold lines, Donald likes thin scribbling lines. We both love Kate Bush.
DM: Where does your interest in graphic design come from?
DC: As a kid, I grew up experimenting simultaneously drawing, writing and car racing. The approach of shapes, curves and speed came to me as living experiences, sensations providing me emotions. I call these relations “shapes of movement” and they’re the roots of the way I see design, how you deal emotions in a particular context and giving it a face. Since childhood, in parallel to my driving practice, I went deeply through graffiti, painting, calligraphy, drawing, dancing. What I saw during this period, the echoes of all these visual worlds (lines, textures, curves, occupation of a space) made me want to question and work on it.
YLG: I grew up in Avignon, where there’s a huge theatre festival. Each year, for one night, the city is “hacked” by people hanging posters everywhere. After that night, the city is covered with images and it stays for a month. It creates a beautiful mess. I think my interest in graphic design started here. Otherwise, I am mostly influenced by architecture and urban space, and more precisely by the non-expert things you can find, the vernacular.
DM: How did you come to start up the studio?
D, Y: We gathered around the same willing for our diploma: let’s do something else but graphic design. From this point, we started working together at school but also doing few freelance projects on the side. Diploma was a decisive step that helped us a lot in our approach of design. Since a year we are officially working under the name: Atelier Choque Le Goff. Working with four hands is an evidence, it’s important for us to share constantly our ideas, drafts, computers, tools, always working like if we were doing a ping pong game, but on the same side.
DM: Can you explain to us one of your projects?
D, Y: We’d like to speak about our diploma project, it is the foundation of our collaboration and thinking process. This project was made with six hands, ours plus Louise Douet-Sinenberg’s. She is a close friend and great set designer that joined us in this adventure.
The idea was to focus on space, body and language. We built a participative performance for cultivating clumsiness, accidents and imbalances. In a number of open sessions/research workshops, we collectively designed a set of game protocols and tools for the public. We were particularly interested in observing, experimenting and questioning the relations between professionals and amateurs, from experts to apprentices and more generally to the transmission of practices and knowledge.
The point for us was to give to our practice of graphic design a strong input from another field. During this experience we wrote a manifesto that set our working process.
DM: A designer that you admire?
D, Y: Tough question, we could say a lot of names but let’s not speak about graphic design, we like looking around it. Our main inspirations come mainly from living art, we admire choreographers and stage directors like Jérôme Bel, Yoann Bourgeois, Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, Philippe Quesne. Their approach of working with living matter, conditions of the body, how they deal with space inspire us a lot. We try to play in a similar way but with our tools, giving a kind of living relation of form and content/context.
We also have strong admiration for Ellsworth Kelly, Carl Andre, Raphaël Zarka, Ken Isaacs and obviously what happened at the Black Mountain College.
DM: What are you reading these days?
DC: I am very slowly reading “Défonce verticale” by Jim Bridwell, a famous climber reminding us we have to stay savage.
YLG: I just discovered Watership Down by Richard Adams, a fantastic book that shows the importance of taking subjects from unexpected angles and perspective.