Studio Yukiko’s new logo for HKW Berlin invites audiences to be co-creators

The studio bases the rebrand around people and their “plurality” – while referencing the art centre's roof and the biodiversity of Berlin’s Tiergarten park.

15 March 2023

The art centre Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of World Cultures) in Berlin has launched a new look from Yukiko – the prolific studio also behind the rebrand for Berlin’s Dittrich & Schlechtriem gallery. The rebrand comes as HKW announces a new direction and programme for 2023, working with artists, scholars, activists and communities to bring plurality into everything it does, opening the institution further to diverse knowledge. Plurality and co-creation therefore became the central themes in the rebrand from Yukiko – an approach which is perhaps best seen through a brilliant new logo.

The symbol is organic in form, breaking the initials HKW into smaller modules. This natural aspect of the logo positions the art centre as “a living, breathing, pulsating organism where knowledge is shared from a plurality of sources that is open and ever-expanding, rather than a static institution stuck within a top-down hierarchical structure”, says Yukiko. It works on a local level too, reflecting the biodiversity of Tiergarten park, where HKW is located in Berlin. Plus, Yukiko references HKW’s very own building – which features a winged roof by Hugh Stubbins – in the design through its twisting segments.

However, Yukiko didn’t just want to represent the House through the logo. It has also made it into a site of exchange and participation – something which HKW hopes to stand for going into the future. Via a face filter, audiences can use sounds, gestures and even facial expressions (eye movements are tracked and used as triggers) to form and re-form the logo. “With the possibility to alter the logo through gesture and sound we move beyond the western norm and against the dominance of written knowledge and (colonial) languages,” says Yukiko.

The filter allows the forms in the logo to enlarge and overlap, which Yukiko likens to the overlapping of voices and language in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.

Studio Yukiko adds: “Deconstructing the western letter forms through its fluidity, the logo becomes recognisable for what it stands for rather than for the letters that make it up, moving beyond the dominance of written knowledge and colonial languages.”

GalleryStudio Yukiko: Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Copyright © Studio Yukiko, 2023)

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Studio Yukiko: Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Copyright © Studio Yukiko, 2023)

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Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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