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Atelier Pierre Pierre: Maxime Rossi, Smile

Work / Graphic Design

Atelier Pierre Pierre is like a graphic design Swiss army knife with its skill and execution

The founders of Atelier Pierre Pierre, Pierre Pautler and Pierre Florent, think of their studio as a “Swiss army knife” of creative studios. They met while studying in Lyon at Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, going on to gain a few months experience at LA’s Commonwealth Studio before starting their own multi-disciplinary studio in Paris five years ago. Together, they combine varying skills and interests to take on a range of projects – explaining the Swiss army knife analogy – creating motion design, illustration, 2D and 3D animation as well as typography.

“From the beginning, we chose to create a studio with a ‘non-aesthetic’ idea, allowing us to work with a large panel of clients” the founders tell It’s Nice That. With an exceptional output of print design, Pierre and Pierre share their two most recent publication designs with us. The first is a monograph for the artist Maxime Rossi and the second is a book detailing two years of interviews between architect’s collectives and urban planning researchers.

While Pierre Florent is more interested in illustration and 3D work, Pierre Pautler brings his typography and layout skills to the collaborative duo. For Maxime Rossi’s monograph Smile, the designers curate five years of the artist’s personal and group shows into one compendium. “This is the kind of project we like because it is more of a collaboration between the artist and us, rather than a traditionally ordered publication.” The project is an example of a designers’ creative freedom, Maxime was “very attentive” to their suggestions as they proposed a graphic transcript of the work, told through the material qualities of print.

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Atelier Pierre Pierre: Maxime Rossi, Smile

Drawing on the colour in Maxime’s work, Pierre and Pierre “cleaned the pages of most textual elements” printing the whole book with neon colours rather than the usual CMYK scheme. “We gradually enter the book with black and white, pale pictures” explains the design duo, “then we climb to a crescendo with very colourful images that highlight Maxime’s main pieces to date.” Additionally, the studio chose not to design a cover, symbolising how Maxime’s practice is “in perpetual motion”. He often “takes a fragment of a completed piece to create a new one” so they didn’t want to “lock up his work in a ‘finished’ object”, opting for a cover that represents the artist’s work in progress, exemplified through its minimal cover design.

The second project, L’hypothèse Collaborative for Atelier Georges and Mathias Rollet, the designers look back on two years of interviews between architects’ collectives and urban planning researchers. The text questions environmental issues, technological and economic possibilities, and how architects, urban planners and landscapers “constantly need to find new ways of creating.”

The main challenge for the designers lay in “efficiently driving its readers through 300 pages, 90 per cent of which, is text.” Pierre and Pierre pull it off with a concept-driven design, demonstrating their skill in elevating a densely text-heavy book into interesting design. The text was separated into three different themes and the designers chose the metaphor of the Mikado to visually express these three themes be “be the backbone of the book.” This visual metaphor, told through the bold use of black, red and white, became “a way to translate both the inventive skills and fragilities of those collective structures.” Consequently, patterns inspired by Mikado graphics “run through the entire fore edge of the book, easily separating the text into its three main themes.”

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Atelier Pierre Pierre: L’hypothèse Collaborative

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Atelier Pierre Pierre: L’hypothèse Collaborative

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Atelier Pierre Pierre: L’hypothèse Collaborative

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Atelier Pierre Pierre: L’hypothèse Collaborative

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Atelier Pierre Pierre: Maxime Rossi, Smile

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Atelier Pierre Pierre: Maxime Rossi, Smile

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Atelier Pierre Pierre: Maxime Rossi, Smile

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Atelier Pierre Pierre: Maxime Rossi, Smile

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Atelier Pierre Pierre: Maxime Rossi, Smile

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Atelier Pierre Pierre: Maxime Rossi, Smile