Even the most cursory glance through Kasper-Florio’s mainly monochrome portfolio would indicate that this is graphic design of a particular heritage. The crisp letterforms and pared-back approach to layout scream “Swiss” before you even learn where they’re based (St. Galen) or their recent appearances (Swiss Style Now, at the The Cooper Union in New York). But as with their peers in the exhibition, the infuriatingly talented and attractive duo’s work doesn’t merely peddle the traditions of yore, but moves them into a distinctly contemporary field.
Kasper-Florio was founded by Larissa Kasper and Rosario Florio in 2013, and its main work comes from clients in the fields of culture, art, fashion, and music. The duo has so far been featured in weighty graphics tomes including Unit Editions’ Type Only and Type Plus, Los Logos 6, and This Is Paper.
How would you describe your style?
Our work is often described as “Swiss,” “monochrome,” and “abstract.” Reduction and abstraction are clearly among our main interests while searching for visual expression. In all our projects typography comes in right at the beginning and language itself can already be seen as an abstraction of images. The use of a reduced color palette and the highest possible contrast with black and white are for us another form of abstraction and a method of filtering and concentrating information
Do you see your work as typically Swiss?
We’re surely influenced by our daily environment, the Swiss culture in general and its heritage and tradition in graphic design. Many of the timeless and functional solutions of the pioneers of the International Style are still to be experienced every day—like when you run to the station to catch a train and Josef Müller-Brockmann’s SBB departure panel is clattering wildly switching the times to tell that you missed it.
What other designers and studios do you admire?
There are many designers and studios we appreciate a lot. Most of them not only because of their work, but also because of their attitude, their consistent quality, their courage, and their original methodology. Not only the great masters like Armin Hofmann or Wolfgang Weingart, we also love to observe that every year young students come out with powerful, unexpected work.
What was it like being featured in the Swiss Style Now show?
We feel honored to be part of such a carefully conceived exhibition, and to see our work right next to the work of people we look up to—our teachers and friends. It was very special. Friends sent us pictures from the opening, but also people we never met before. Having our work presented to such a big audience felt very flattering. To actually walk through the hall during a trip in NYC was curious after having seen everything virtually. But this is what we find particularly striking about the exhibition—that you can put your hands on all the works, flick through the publications, feel their weight, paper, and printing.
What are you working on at the moment?
Our biggest ongoing project is our publishing house, Jungle Books, which we founded together with studio Bänziger Hug one year ago. We all became interested in the direct discourse with artists and the origination of ideas emerging from joint conversations and observations. Over time we started to approach artists whose work we found fascinating and exciting, to find a possible translation into the medium of the book. To create a material space for a personal and almost intimate fascination was our motivation to become publishers. Currently we are planning the launch of two new publications with Swiss artists Jiajia Zhang and Valentina Stieger.