Matter Of believes “design plays an important – often underrated – role in social interaction”
The founders of the Stuttgart-based studio tell us about the strong ethos behind their multidisciplinary work.
- Ruby Boddington
- 15 September 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
“It feels like a logical progression from loving the graphic on your favourite T-shirt to starting to create your own things,” explain the founders of Stuttgart-based studio Matter Of. A group who all met at art school where they collaborated on briefs, Adrian Riemann, Fabian Schewe, Marcel Mendler and Marian Rupp all came to study graphic design through similar avenues: skateboarding, graffiti, music and fashion, all the classic tropes of youth culture which pique a person’s interest in magazines, albums artworks and culture in general.
Consequently, Matter Of’s work sits firmly in the cultural realm. It’s transdisciplinary and sees the team building concepts, as well as executing the final outcomes. They take on commissions but also focus their energy on personal projects, and regularly give lectures and hold workshops at art and design universities and other institutions.
The studio operates on a strong ethos, explaining the team’s belief that “Design plays an important – often underrated – role in social interaction. It is an always challenging opportunity, but also a responsibility to take part in shaping our environment.” Because of this belief, they have a mantra which guides every new project. Firstly, instead of “fixed solutions and boundaries,” Matter Of wants to create an open negotiation process. Secondly, it aims to collaborate with and trust others. And lastly, it “re-constructs contexts with humour and seriousness simultaneously.”
This means the team immerses themselves in the relationship with their client, developing an understanding of the task at hand and analysing the given context in order to create a foundation from which to design. In order to actually produce work, they combine theoretical concepts and strategies with practical experimentation – a truly holistic approach to design. This approach also means Matter Of’s outputs are limitless and the studio works on everything from “merchandise for a film production company like Modest Dept.” to “exhibition designs for art institutions like the Kunsthalle Baden Baden.” And while these projects may look different, Matter Of remarks that the procedure is always the same. “We seem to like to use orange though,” they joke.
A recent personal project undertaken by the studio is Free Poster, which saw the team acting more as curators than designers, making the project a particularly interesting one for them. “It consists of 14 double-sided A2 posters with artworks and photographs by international contemporary artists that are offset printed on selected papers by Fedrigoni,” Matter Of tells us. “They are displayed widely and free of charge internationally in reopened facilities and bookstores. They can also be ordered free of charge at the Matter Of Shop.”
Currently, the team is working on an exhibition titled Beyond the Pain which will be held at Galerie Stadt Sindelfingen. The group show explores the universal theme of pain and, above all, how we get over it. “The show explores the central questions: What comes after pain? Can pain be a meaningful, even enjoyable experience that enables us to transform boundary experiences into a positive attitude?” In turn, Matter Of created an “archetypical key visual that does not show any artwork of the exhibition but creates its own imagery which reflects the questions raised by the exhibition. The key visual is applied to various media to promote the exhibition.”
Excitingly, the team is also working on the “most comprehensive book” they’ve produced to date, which will be released next month. They not only designed it, but created all of the content too. “It’s the first complete archive of art in the public space of Stuttgart,” they tell us. There’s also the reignition of a label they started years ago called Fun Time and a T-shirt in collaboration with Swedish illustrator Finsta. “So keep your eye on our webshop,” they finish.
Matter Of: Beyond the Pain Pill Blister/Various (Copyright © Matter Of, 2020)
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.