A portal into fun, silliness and childlike imagination: Sofa magazine’s fourth issue collaborates with Gucci
Studio Yukiko and Sofa magazine's editors talk us through the playtime issue of the experimental mag featuring the wonderful works of Max Guther, Alexis Beauclair and Alice Z Jones, just to name a few.
- Jyni Ong
- 3 March 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
The latest issue of Sofa magazine is back with a big fat bang! Once again featuring the awesome design skills of one of our favourite twosomes, Studio Yukiko, the fourth issue of this contemporary mag whole-heartedly reflects its theme; It’s Playtime! Uncovering life beneath the bravado of social media, Sofa Issue 04 expresses game-like whims and childlike freedom through its fantastical spreads. “Sofa is supposed to feel like an editorially and visually exhilarating rollercoaster ride through various, and sometimes opposing emotions and opinions,” the magazine’s editor Caia Hagel tells It’s Nice That. It’s a fun-filled attitude adopted by the Berlin-based Michelle Phillips and Johannes Conrad – the founders of Studio Yukiko and former Ones to Watch – who communicate a sense of ludicrousness across the spirited spreads to match the content’s theme.
This is exemplified in the Gucci X Sofa editorial collaboration. Yes that’s right, Gucci. Sofa has collaborated with the Italian fashion house since its second issue, over time building up a relationship of creative freedom and trust to tell the Gucci story in a unique way. “We knew we wanted to do something illustrative or collage-based and also very dreamy,” Michelle tells It’s Nice That on the segment which, in one word, can only be described as playful. “Illustration has the potential to bring its own strong sense of storytelling to any brief,” continues Johannes, “and as ubiquitous as it is in editorial formats, we felt it was rarely used to its full potential within fashion editorials.”
The pair pitched the innovative work of illustrator Thami Nabil to the fashion house, and “it didn’t take much to get it approved,” given the exciting visuals of the Paris-based creative. With this editorial, Michelle and Johannes wanted to take the word ‘play’ quite literally. Drawing on nostalgia from 90s board game ads and rewatching the original film Jumanji, Michelle and Johannes delved deep into the visual trickery of Roger Rabbit and Space Jam to inspire the wacky collaboration. In turn, the designers came up with a “dreamy psychedelic game where our players move into a deep dream which they eventually become stuck in,” and as you can see by the images, it’s pretty great.
In the words of Caia, “Gucci is one of the few high-spirited brands in fashion which is ironic as an old Italian fashion house that still caters to the grandmothers of Italy.” On one hand, it has a rich history in its haute couture sophistication, but on the other, it has earned its power to be experimental and daring. “The vision since Alessandro Michele has been at the helm feels adolescent in the way it has the power to carry you back through a gentle fog into a time in life when there was freedom and feelings,” adds Caia, “like that heady time in high school where hormones, identity experiments, simple happiness and losing your mind inside the metamorphosis of your own body is a whole mood.” It’s a vibe that is not too dissimilar from Sofa, so with that in mind, the resulting campaign came about organically.
“For Sofa,” explains one of the editors Ricky, “we’re consciously working with styles and visual languages that are totally inappropriate for most of our other projects, which makes it a lot of fun.” It seems to cover anything and everything, from politics, to the aesthetics of butt cheeks. All in all, embracing unconventional means of communication to amplify the idea that “a diverse media diet is the currency with the most nutritional value.” Delicately balancing elements of high and low culture together in a staple-bound, glossy print publication for a bargain price of only six euros, it’s a magazine of clashing dualities all in one place.
Elsewhere in the mag, Michelle and Johannes had the pleasure of working with the German porcelain maker KPM and the artist Sebastian Haslauer, photographed by Philotheus Nisch. “Sebastian arrived at Johannes’ birthday party this year with this incredible crocodile party snack,” says Johannes, “which birthed the idea for the whole cover story.” Staying up “way past [their] bedtime to shoot the three comical covers, the collaborators recalls “getting high on all the snacks [they] made” to make these covers come to life with panache. Also featuring the talented likes of Aidan Zamiri, Max Guther, Alexis Beauclair, Alice Z Jones and Ben Mendelewicz, the accomplished roster came together to deliver a printed portal into fun, silliness and imagination.
GalleryStudio Yukiko: Sofa magazine 004
Studio Yukiko: Sofa magazine 004
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.