DVTK, a French duo now based in London, is producing some of the most exciting and innovative work in the digital design sphere thanks to one key understanding: “Just because a screen is flat, that doesn’t force us to do flat design.” Formed of David Broner and Kim Boutin, DVTK understand the architectural possibilities of a website or digital experience, constantly asking, “Why, if interior design in retail spaces is so diverse, rich and fun, do brands’ websites just all look the same?”
David, who is from Toulouse, and Kim who is from Paris met ten years ago while attending a Parisian art school. A mutual frustration with the state of design led them to start collaborating. “However, as exciting and creatively satisfying our young collaboration was at that time, we felt that we were both missing the technical skills to free ourselves from designing pre-existing ideas and forms,” they explain. As a result, Kim went off to do an interactive design master’s, while David attended a 3D design school.
Three years later, Kim brought David onto a job for Kenzo where she was working as a digital art director. The experience of working on this job, blending their new 3D and interactive design skills gave the duo “the feeling that we could think, design and build stuff that we’ve never seen before on the internet”. It’s this feeling that has been driving the work DVTK makes ever since.
When deciding whether to take a brief or not, an instant turn off is the question “Can you do the same thing for us as you did for them?” Not born from a belief that you shouldn’t reuse or adapt an existing concept, instead DVTK feels it would “deprive us of the reason we love doing this job, which is coming up with fresh ideas”. A studio with an explorative practice, the pair is motivated by projects in which “we’ll get the chance to thoroughly scratch our heads and come up with something that hasn’t been seen before”.
One of David and Kim’s most recent projects, launched last week on 28 March, is for the Galeries Lafayette Champs-Élysées, a 6,500 square metre flagship offering visitors, “a new retail approach that in challenging the department store concept”. DVTK, in response, designed a human-first design based on three principles: conversational, personified and transformable. “From the mobile app dedicated to the sales assistant’s to the website browsed by upcoming visitors on their smartphones, the user always gets the feeling to be interacting with someone who’s welcoming him online,” the duo adds.
It’s a project that typifies their approach to digital design. Although technically complicated, DVTK’s projects are free from the often overly-serious aesthetic associated with this kind of work. Instead, David and Kim inject fun, colour and even surrealist element into their outputs.
Ultimately, however, it’s not aesthetic qualities that define their portfolio but rather the constantly challenging of ideas including, “humanising digital”, “making the internet more immersive”, ”allowing friction online for positive outcomes” and “breaking the internet boredom”.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.