Ill-Studio works in various creative domains including art direction, photography, fashion, film, and design, and has collaborated with numerous high-end brands including Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Nike. The duo’s success is striking given their visual irreverence and iconoclastic aesthetic. We spoke to the duo about what inspires their work, and look forward to discovering what they designed for The Gift Shop.
On the topic of your love for illustration and drawing, what cartoons were you obsessed with when you were little?
Well we don't do many drawings anymore to be honest, and we've never been comic nerds at all, but we can say we've been inspired by characters from the popular culture whether they come from comics, art, cartoons or company and record label logos. Let's say Bart Simpson, Snoopy, Bad Boy Club, Les Shadocks, Nervous Records, Fido Dido, Jean Cocteau's drawings, Late 80's Techno or Punk record label logos. The list goes on and on.
Tell us about your love for Outer Space and The Occult. Could you write a letter in Martian for us?
We were really into all the cosmic imagery when we started in 2007, but not so much anymore. To make a link with our previous answer, our childhood hero was more Carl Sagan than Wolverine but we've always been fascinated by the "unknown".
Our office back then was full of books about the mysteries of the world such as the Bermuda Triangle, black holes, Nazca crop circles, Stonehenge, and Egyptian Pharaohs. Generally, we've always been attracted by the work of people who've freed themselves with conventional and ideological constraints; those who go dig through the "unknown," whether it is space, design or philosophy.
Unfortunately we cannot write a letter in Martian, but here is the first pictorial message placed on board of the 1972 Pioneer 10 and 1973 Pioneer 11 Spacecraft, in case they were intercepted by extraterrestrial life.
On the topic of your love for geometry, how do you think Galileo's laboratory would look if you had designed it? It'd be great to have you curate a few images here for us.
We would have loved Galileo to design our office space instead!
If you guys had to re-design an everyday object, what would it be?
We would re-design them all to not look like they've been designed. We don't like things to look "designy".
We feel close to Jasper Morisson's "Super Normal" philosophy: "I have been feeling more and more uncomfortable with the increasing presence of design in everyday situations and in products lined up on the shelves of everyday shops. For years people have faulted design for being inaccessible, over priced and out of tune with the mass market. Now that it has become mainstream its beginning to look like a sell out, as if design simply stepped into the shoes of all the cheap ugly products which were previously available and made them cheap and ugly and highly visible."
On the topic of design and mood: do you create to affect our daily mood? If so, in what sense?
Well, we are conscious that our projects will be seen by very different people, but we do not claim to change their daily mood. We create to affect our own daily mood first, and if anyone else feels touched by our works, that's even better.
On the topic of pop culture: what influence does it have in your design?
Pop culture is very important in our work. This is where most of our inspiration comes from.
We have a lot of different sources of inspiration, and most of them don't necessarily come from the art and design field. We love the fact of digging some inspirations very deep, from a lot of different creative or non-creative areas, and from any eras to bring them back to a different context and time. It can be anything: from 1960 Polish conceptualism to Tuaregs traditional outfits, 80's German obscure music, early 90's Japanese designers, vintage mountaineering fashion or 2015 internet junk. Popular Culture is definitely a endless source of inspiration for us.
On the topic of your inspirations: what are some of your favorite references today?
In random order: Jean Painlevé, Hans Hollein, Paul Virilio, Gucci Mane, Alessandro Mendini, Yves Saint-Laurent, Tommy Wright III, Reinhold Messner, Erik Satie, Giorgio De Chirico, David Byrne, Bart Simpson, Paul Outerbridge, Underground Resistance, Irving Penn, Oskar Schlemmer, Rei Kawakubo, Andre Breton, Ministere Amer, Klaus Schulze, Marco Van Basten, Michel Foucault, Andrea Branzi, Barbara Kasten, Haruomi Hosono, Archimedes of Syracuse, Bob Guccione, Werner Herzog...
Who are your favorite creatives right now? (Artists, musicians, designers, photographers, etc)
There is a long list of people we like the work of right now and we couldn't just pick up a few names. This is what's good about the era we live in. Internet makes the work of many talented people visible.
What would your dream project or dream client be?
There are so many things that we want to experiment. That is what is good about not having a specific job - everything is possible and we are mostly excited by what we've haven't tried yet!
Any upcoming projects?
We have a lot of things on our plate right now. It is always hard to list projects that didn’t come out yet but let’s say that our main goal in 2015 is to keep working on many different projects. Direct more videos, design more clothes, publish more books, work on exhibitions… again, we are lucky enough to be able to do it all and we really want to keep this privilege as long as possible!
What is your secret of success?
To always think that we haven't succeeded yet.
But please do let us know if there's a secret way to achieve things (other than working)!