Reconciling the overlap of branding, copywriting and creative direction: Meet Antoine Roux
From creative direction to the design of objects, we go behind the scenes at Bureau Antoine Roux and its art and fashion clients.
- Jyni Ong
- 14 December 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
For the Paris-based graphic designer Antoine Roux, excitement lies in a project somewhere between the conceptual and answering the brief. “I try to consider both image and text as pieces of language with meaning,” he tells us. Image becomes text in his unmistakably clean yet characterful work, and in turn, text becomes image. Neither are a decorative means. The designer-cum-art director has a natural, effortless luxurious style which can be attributed to the way he considers image and text, and the way they connect.
Language is of great importance to him and he’s also “one of those art director's who’s really fond of copywriting – which obviously doesn’t meant I’m good at it.” Nonetheless, his talents have garnered Antoine clients such as Dior, Made Thought, Marine Serre, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, and Panconesi just to name a few. Specialising in a range of skills from creative direction to the design of objects, Antoine’s self-titled studio – Bureau Antoine Roux – has made a name for itself in the art and fashion institutions so far.
Despite the healthy list of clients under the studio’s belt, it’s a fairly new creation. Prior to Bureau Antoine Roux, the designer co-founded VLF Studio with Thomas Cristiani which ran until 2019. And prior to that, going back to the very beginning of his design training, Antoine studied graphic design and art direction at Penninghen where he took a year abroad in Rotterdam where he developed his physical approach to a brief. “This was an amazing time,” he recalls on the experience, “to be an expert in nothing yet ambitious, undecided yet highly motivated.”
Over the years, he’s collected a number of art catalogues which have grown to resemble “perfect objects” for their balanced combination of form and content. They continue to be a great source of inspiration for Antoine, along with many other avenues of the art and culture sector that’s always been a strong presence in the designer’s life. Hints of this inspiration is clear throughout Antoine’s work, coupled with a strong conceptual line of thought. He talks us through two recent projects which evidence the expanse of his practice, for two different jewellery brands in Paris: Panconesi established by Marco Panconesi and D’Heygere created by Stéphanie D’Heygere.
With the former, Antoine was tasked with overseeing the global image art direction. Collaborating with Marco Panconesi himself and stylist Georgia Pendlebury, whom Antoine regularly works with, the three embarked on a series of conversations to spark reactivity and inventiveness to kick off the project. Interestingly, this resulted in a lookbook which also acts as an intimate printed journal. Sophisticated fashion shots are mixed in with preliminary sketches, iPhone photos of Marco’s birth region (Tuscany) amongst other memorabilia. Snippets of genuine and authentic moments became looping videos for Instagram and in a nutshell, explains Antoine, the campaign “dropped the traditional idea of campaigns and lookbooks.” By contrast, “we simply tried to produce content regularly, following our ideas, collections and moods, rather than seasons.”
On the other hand, for D’Heygere, the project called on a very different skill: web design. Founder Stéphanie provided strong visual references from the beginning, centring on the conceptual Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers work. Known as a poet and filmmaker as well as an artist, Broodthaers’ work is witty and literate; a practice that Antoine “completely connected with” which made the entire creative process from ideation to execution “really fluid.” This project also consisted of significant three-way dialogues, this time, with digital artist Tristan Bagot as well as the jewellery founder – working together to translate ideas into functional web pages.
As with all of Antoine’s work, these recent projects are just two examples of how concept informs the work. It is worth noting that with both projects, the logos had already been designed, so it was down to Antoine to craft a complimentary visual language besides its existing trademarks. “It didn’t prevent a certain radical approach to design or image making that felt completely personal,” the designer adds on the matter, nodding to the unique treatment of the identities, something he applies to each and every piece brief that comes his way. Further notable works include the art direction and design of Middle Plane magazine’s issue two, created in collaboration with the Felix Gonzalez-Torres foundation. A design brimming with freedom in the form of a large screen printed envelope which can be used as a shipping medium, as well as cover and masthead.
Additionally, to round up an impressively busy creative year in spite of the industry’s fragility, Antoine has also put his hand to pure identity work, such as the re-release of Rose Paris’ new website and an ongoing identity for Bomba; two agencies who represent creatives working in the fashion industry. Despite being busier than ever, he’s also found the time to work with the charity Beirut Re-Store, an online shop selling artworks to raise funds for Beirut, “and I’ll keep overseeing the design as long as necessary,” he adds. Determined to continue offering up his conceptual and technical knowledge to necessary brands, Antoine wishes “to never have to choose between art direction and graphic design.”
Reconciling the worlds of branding, copywriting and creative direction, we’re excited to see what Antoine does within this overlap in the future – an area firmly placed between text and image where there is still plenty exploration to delve into.
Below: Panconesi SS21 ‘Alchemy’ (teaser) : Art direction by Bureau Antoine Roux, directed by Grégoire Dy
Below: D’Heygere website: By Bureau Antoine Roux and Tristan Bagot
Below: Panconesi as seen by Marie Valognes, Art direction by Bureau Antoine Roux
Bar Middleplane Magazine issue 2: Creative direction by Bureau Antoine Roux, design in collaboration with Dario Gracceva, photography by Benjamin Lennox (Copyright © Bureau Antoine Roux, 2020)
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.