Ones to Watch 2017: creative studio International Magic
It’s Nice That’s Ones to Watch is our chance to showcase 12 creatives who we think will be making an impact in 2017. The people featured have been whittled down from a global pool of creative talent and have been chosen for their ability to consistently produce inspiring and engaging work. Each one practices across a diverse range of disciplines and continually pushes the boundaries of their creative output. Ones to Watch 2017 is supported by Uniqlo.
We caught up with each of our Ones to Watch, to talk about their work so far and their hopes for the year to come.
Studio Remote’s Adam Rodgers and interactive art director Stefan Endress recently joined forces to create digital design studio International Magic. The duo has already worked together for a while, creating landmark projects for the likes of Warp Films, Brian Eno, Hudson Mohawke, Jake and Dinos Chapman, and More and More Ltd’s 50 Days project, so has more than earned its rep for go-to for cutting edge digital work, and it’s only the beginning.
Its name, amazingly, is inspired by Stefan’s background as a magician, and gives some clue as to the duo’s creative approach. “We want to entertain and surprise people,” Adam says. “We’re keen on this idea of intrigue and excitement. The last 10% of a project takes as long as the rest because it’s the micro-interactions and flourishes that count.”
“For me it’s about mystery and intrigue,” says Stefan. “Provoking curiosity and keeping the secret.”
Adam and Stefan first met when they shared a space at Dalston’s Studio 3, whose other residents included Thomas Traum, Malika Favre and Carl Burgess. With Studio Remote, Adam worked on projects such as Hudson Mohawke’s interactive video for Chimes RMX featuring Pusha T, French Montana & Travi$ Scott; an identity for east London sushi-restaurant-cum-club Brilliant Corners, and Everyday Jazz, a digital calendar with studio Mytton Williams featuring sound-reactive animated numbers. He’s also the co-founder and art director of music label Numbers, for which he produced the live event Loops: A Sensory Experiment, taking over Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art’s main space with music and a giant animated globe.
Stefan, meanwhile, recently launched open-source font platform Open Foundry, and worked for Marc Kremers where he designed a series of projects for Mario Testino, Olson Kundig and fashion brand Unmade. Stefan and Adam found common ground in their similar ideas for where digital design should go next.
“Websites can be like a digital graveyard. There’s so much that goes into a launch and then no one tends to it. We’re all about the attention to details,” Adam says. “They need constant attention,” continues Stefan. “The nature of a digital project is that it never ends. It can always be changed.”
Referring to the high level of customisation, art direction and curation that goes into print design, by comparison Adam feels web design has so much potential. “Art directors are always looking for new ways to show work in print, but not in digital,” Adam says. “A lot of people [in print] are merging towards homogenous website design. We’re rallying against that. We’d like to redefine how people consume online.”
“The days are gone when you have to use the same framework as everyone else,” Stefan explains, “and young people are open to new ways of interacting and experimenting with things, so there’s so much possibility.”
As International Magic, the pair’s first official project is the recently launched FKA Twigs website, an archive of films, live performance footage, music and photography, “somewhere for people to get lost in her work,” Adam says. “It’s less of a linear experience, you can choose where to delve in. I really like the concept of decision-free environments.”
“She gave us a lot of freedom,” Stefan adds. “It’s great that she trusts us.”
And there’s plenty more in the pipeline. This year the studio is continuing to work with the Chapmans and Warp, is designing new sites for Thomas Traum and Hyperdub, as well as developing other in-house projects. “We’re working on a musical discovery tool,” says Adam, “and we’re looking to curate and commission some of our collaborators and friends for an exhibition around autumn time. There’s also another big project, but that’s top secret.”