Meet new studio Europium, a female-led duo who will give large studios a run for their money
Studying together years ago and always admiring each other’s work from afar, Julia Andréone and Ghazaal Vojdani decided 2020 was the year to form a collective studio.
- Lucy Bourton
- 27 October 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
The decision leading photographer Julia Andréone and designer Ghazaal Vojdani to name their newly formed studio Europium is a tale which gives a sense of their carefully researched approach to projects.
Both fascinated by “minerals, earth elements, and material in general,” Ghazaal describes how she began researching rare earth elements and rare earth metals, while travelling in the mountains of Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca, Mexico. Here, she came across Europium, the world’s most reactive rare earth element, known as the element Eu, which, suitably, is found in France “where we are based,” and is named after the continent of Europe, “where we initially met.” The element, much like the studio, even has a hand in bringing visuals to life as it readily oxides in air and water, causing “a revolution in the colour TV industry resulting in a much brighter image,” Ghazaal tells us. “Given our strong interest in image and our back story, we landed on Europium.”
Despite displaying such care in the studio’s naming, Europium came together relatively spontaneously earlier this year. Julia and Ghazaal have known each other distantly for years, both studying graphic design together at Central Saint Martins. After graduating they parted ways, “to further explore independent practices” says Ghazaal, with Julia moving to Lausanne to study art direction and photography at Écal, and Ghazaal hoping across the pond to study an MFA in graphic design at Yale. The idea of discussing work together again, let alone starting a studio, was encouraged through their mutual friend and artist Marguerite Humeau, who has worked with both on separate occasions. “Ever since Central Saint Martins, Julia and I have always been following each other’s work from afar,” explains the designer. “It was definitely a very spontaneous move which suddenly made sense to us both.”
With Julia working primarily with a photographic focus and Ghazaal leaning towards graphic design, the pair describe themselves as thriving with separate skills, yet “we are truly complementary to one another and what we bring to our shared practice.” Believing that their difference and separate creative experiences are a real strength, the pair find that they are “connected and parallel in what we produce at the same time.” Both sharing a love for building a narrative at the beginning of a project, “which without a doubt comes from our strong passion for cinema and cinematic images,” the pair describe their ideal project as one which builds upon this interest in fiction, whether that be through photography, image-making, design, publishing, art, dance or theatre.
Examples of this approach stem back to the pair collaborating in 2018 for the Paris-based fashion collective Gamut. Creating and managing the collective’s identity and online presence, the work signifies the first collaboration of the pair in which they challenge “the norms within the field of fashion, which means that we have all the right to propose projects, concepts and content,” adds Ghazaal. The second, which features image making at its core, is a more recent piece on the theme of research for Bard Graduate Center, which sees the pair work “around the idea of a round-table, dialogue discussion to create a series of images which are abstract interpretations of themes from the conversations within the text of the book.” Both examples of their strengths making a collective whole, even in these early projects Europium could give much larger studios a run for their money, with Julia’s photographic eye clearly at an industry-leading standard, and Ghazaal’s typographic ability to set a verbal tone showing her ability across various outputs.
Launching a studio in a middle of a pandemic, despite their collective successes, is no mean feat. One Julia and Ghazaal appear to have pulled off however, they admit it “has not been an easy year, in our case especially when launching a new practice means the process of everything is much slower,” explains Ghazaal. Unable to attend social events where they could meet clients, or in some cases even set up those all important relationship-building meetings, “it is even difficult to foresee a clear future for the studio.” That said, they’ve still made an immense amount of progress (as one can see on their newly launched website) deciding to spend confinement together “and kept ourselves very busy working on some projects, documenting/editing our work, and designing and launching our website.” Also both still teaching and operating separate practices, Ghazaal concludes that rather than distract, working in such a varied way only spurs them on. “It’s a dynamic that we both need and luckily we are able to continue to research and produce in these uncertain times.”
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.