Data-Orbit delves into “task-specific peculiarities” to influence its crisp work

The quartet of Swiss designers flits between visual styles, uniting its projects through a conceptual process instead.

Date
16 January 2020
Reading Time
3 minute read

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Nayla Baumgartner, Fabio Menet, Louis Vaucher and Daniel Weber first met while studying graphic design in Switzerland. From an early age, each designer developed a unique creative approach due to their respective rural upbringings, and went on to channel this way of seeing into innovative systems of thought. Though they continued to further their individual set of interests with time, eventually, the quartet decided to pull together their various skillsets and form a studio in the northeastern city of St Gallen.

Making the most of their diverse interests to form a distinctive collaboration, the studio never fails to deliver unexpected and challenging outcomes. Going by the name Data-Orbit, the studio has spent its first year in the business creating crisp designs with a dollop of artistry work for a number of predominantly Swiss clients. With type, book, corporate and exhibition design at its core, the studio has also ventured into animation as well as poster and textile design. “As a team, we try to create all the material specifically for each project,” says Nayla. “We see our studio as a tool kit that is connected through an overarching conceptual process.”

For the founding designers, concept and aesthetics are mutually inclusive. They understand that the two terms cannot be separated from one another and that “the latter should always arise as a consequence of the concept.” For this reason alone, the designers don’t aim for a specific visual style in their work, instead, they examine unusual thematic or task-specific peculiarities project-by-project.

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Data-Orbit: Poster and flyer for the Graduation Show of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) in collaboration with designer David Walsh

This is exemplified in their exhibition design for the Historical and Ethnological Museum where Data-Orbit’s core visual system revolved around an unusual use of Photoshop layer masks, found in the artist’s finished work. “Together, we decided to use the masks as the poster topic,” Fabio tells It’s Nice That. They also directly incorporated the working mechanism of bricolage (working from a set of resources that were available at the time,) exemplifying how the designers prefer to delve into existing methodologies already present in the work to extend an idea through graphic design.

In a book design proposal for History of the Rhine Valley, Data-Orbit studies the content of the book (the river Rhine) and reinterprets the book as an “overall current”, fluidly navigating through clusters of text and gaining more and more momentum with each evocative image. “This is made possible by an alternative navigation and linking system which makes the various contents accessible in temporal, geographic and thematic order,” says Louis on the flowing, yet unorthodox layout.

In other projects, the Swiss designers envisage the graduate identity for Zurich University of the Arts as a “ticket to the future,” utilising elements of ticket design to express the moment of transition through a variable design concept. Alternatively, the challenge for Data-Orbit in creating the exhibition design for Aargauer Kunsthaus’ exhibition Caravan, tasked Nayla, Fabio, Louis and Daniel with communicating an unfinished exhibition. Creating a concept around the exhibiting artists’ work, namely the fragments of inspiration and thoughts behind the work, Data-Orbit consequently reimagined the flyer as a preview of each artist’s idea “acting as a link between the art, artist and viewer.” Daniel finally adds on the most recent of the studio’s concept-driven work: “The design refers to the classical exchange of letters and the working mechanism of a folder.”

GalleryData-Orbit

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(left) Lantern for the Carnival of Basel in collaboration with graphic designer Lucas Manser; (right) bag for ModeWeber, in collaboration with artist Yolanda Zingg

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Book about the history of the Rhine Valley for the Abbey library of St.Gallen (proposal)

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Book about the history of the Rhine Valley for the Abbey library of St.Gallen (proposal)

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Scenography for the Graduation Show of the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) in collaboration with designer David Walsh

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Book about the speleologist Emil Bächler in collaboration with graphic designer Laura Prim

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Poster series and scenography for the Bricolage exhibition at the Historical and Ethnological Museum St.Gallen

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About the Author

Jyni Ong

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.

jo@itsnicethat.com

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