So good they named it twice, Studio-Studio is an unusual agency, formed by just two founding members—one based in London, the other in Paris. According to co-founder Blanche de Lasa, who set up the practice with Fabien Catalano in 2009, this is what gives it such a confident and unique approach to graphic design. “The energy and references found in each of the capitals infuses our design approach,” he says. “We mix French charm with Belgian rigor and London’s Modernism and Victorian eccentricity.”
Among the projects in Studio-Studio’s portfolio is an identity for a beer brand, print designs for books and catalogs, and a series of typeface designs. It’s a diverse mix, and deliberately so. “We don’t specialize in one field only for us, each project needs to tell a story,” says de Lasa. “We try to approach every project the same way, studying the context in order to highlight its uniqueness.”
While each commission is tackled from a unique starting point, the agency’s style carries through. While it’s “always rigorous,” de Lasa says that at times the look and feel is “incredibly dry,” at others “terribly ornamental.” Each piece comes from a place of conceptual thought and meaning, tempered with just the right level of playfulness. This is fostered by a studio culture that devotes one entire afternoon each week to play and experimentation.
This sense of wit is best exemplified in one of Studio-Studio’s self-initiated projects, MonMeilleur, that takes the form of a weekly illustrated newsletter sent out to friends and collaborators. The project soon turned into business, as so many personal projects do when done well, and The Times newspaper ended up asking the team to illustrate and animate a series of maps for its 2016 CEO Summit.
The ever ambitious duo is hoping to move further away from flat images and pixels, into the world of textile and product design. “We aim to design a collection of graphic objects and dream of having a shop where we can sell our Studio-Studio textiles and stationery range alongside friends’ projects,”de Lasa tells me. But never ones to take themselves too seriously, they tell me where they see themselves in five years’ time: “Studio-Studio-Studio-Studio-Studio.” It’s certainly a mouthful, but it might just work.