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.

3 March 2020


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.


Studio Yukiko: Sofa magazine 004

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

Hero Header

Studio Yukiko: Sofa magazine 004

Share Article

About the Author

Jyni Ong

Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.