Migrant birds and music: An eclectic update from the Madrid-based Koln Studio
The renowned design studio talks us through three recent projects including a recently published book by Oslobiennalen and a series of posters for Dialektik.
- Jyni Ong
- 15 June 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
We’ve long been fans of the Madrid-based studio Koln, covering its work for many years now. Last year we delved into its design for the political essay And you, why are you black? – a narration of extraordinary and every day events told from Black perspectives. And the year before, we ogled at Koln’s work with the Madrid City Council to celebrate Pride 2017. A staple in the Spanish capital’s creative scene, since Koln’s creation in 2014, the studio has showcased a range of innovative identities, web developments and editorials. Needless to say, we have a few more to show you today.
The Observatory of Progress, a recently published book by Oslobiennalen, is one of its many new projects. An editorial design project by the artist Adrian Balsec, the publication centres around the life of migrant birds and how they fare in the city, urban developments, and in reaction to the effects of global climate change. “The idea of the project is that it is an ongoing investigation,” co-founder Pablo Mariné tells us. Structuring the publication design to embody this, the project begins with a report featuring a series of sketches, archive posts and drawings. It’s then followed by a series of site-specific installations drawing attention to how birds nest on antique or historic landmarks throughout the city.
Pared-back in its design, Koln interlaces rough sketches with green hued images and bold typographic headers to create a piece of work representing the ongoing. In a subtle nod to this concept, the studio also includes crop marks as well as other gentle nods to the creative process in the final book. Elsewhere, the designers have been experimenting with visual musicality in a couple of other projects for the music industry. In a long-standing piece of work, Dialektik – a music collective based in Madrid – Koln has designed a series of posters to accompany the platform.
GalleryKoln Studio: Toop-Adrian-Balseca
The Madrid-based music collective is home to a number of emerging and contemporary artists, “exploring the limits of contemporary musical tendencies in their output, regardless of genre and style.” With this in mind, Koln’s posters express the versatility and variety of Dialektik, particularly in its playful use of type which pivots from the grotesk, kinetic, gothic and reversed contrast across a dynamic range of layouts. Pablo adds on the project: “We have enjoyed it a lot in the studio since we love this kind of music. And the projects end very well because there is always the grand finale of going to the music event!”
In another music-themed project for Delaporte, Koln has been designing the covers for the Spanish duo’s new songs. “The idea is to represent a different mood/stage of the vital trip with each song,” explains Pablo, the majority of their songs composed around the journey of finding oneself. In turn, the designers interpreted this theme through a series of symbols and photographs, a challenging visualisation for Koln, tasked the studio with communicating several abstract concepts. Eventually however, it found a way.
Extrapolating the essence of the songs’ messages, Koln distilled the fundamental elements of each song and channeled its message through symbolic photography. Utilising graphic and ubication symbols to express a transformation, the ongoing project for Delaporte is an evolving creative output. It’s also not the only ongoing project for the Spanish studio at the moment. Currently working on an identity for the cultural centre Matadero, Koln has plenty more exciting work coming our way soon.
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.