CONNECTING THE DOTS
“It’s like a visual toolbox in my brain, from which I can pick something when I need it.”
Studio Knack founder Julian Dostmann blurs the boundaries between spatial and communication design
Dostmann is one of three creative directors of the design and architecture firm Studio Knack, and focuses on architectural concepts, interior and exhibition design, as well as brand communication. Apart from building design, Studio Knack create concepts for light installations for clients varying from music club Blitz to exhibition signage at Munich’s art gallery Alte Pinakothek. “What makes me happy is when I see people becoming enthused by the content of our idea,” notes Dostmann about his creative vision. “I’m often impressed by what I see in art or on the theater stage. It’s like a visual toolbox in my brain, from which I can pick something when I need it.” With this in mind, Studio Knack translate their aesthetic values into innovative brand concepts.
How did Studio Knack come about?
My partners Simon Frick and Andreas Müller and I met while studying architecture at Munich’s University of Technology. We started on the 15-square-meters of Simon's apartment — our lives at that time offered only the most basic amenities.
What does Studio Knack stand for today?
Our ambition is not to restrict ourselves to one special domain. Instead, we want to offer a variety of creative services from spatial to communication design.
As Studio Knack’s work varies between the two, what do both mean to you?
Defining architecture is a difficult thing, because I cannot really express a preference for any one architect or any one style. The choice of architecture always depends on the exact place and its context where it will happen.
As far as brand communication is concerned, many companies are not able to formulate their key competences. We therefore translate their slogans into a three-dimensional form to represent the world of the particular brand in trade fairs and exhibitions. The usual and the unnerving experience you get from walking across a trade fair is dominated by overload of light and big prints; you can’t really focus on the brand’s key elements. We aim to reduce our activity and emphasize things without placing a lot of red arrows pointing on them.
„Our ambition is not to restrict ourselves to one special domain.”
How would you describe your aesthetic principle?
As Mies van der Rohe once said: Less is more. I can only agree with that. What I see as aesthetic is giving the right answer in a defined context. Yet we at Studio Knack are not committed to a certain school. Rem Koolhaas never let himself tie down to any school, but insisted on freedom of thought. Our utmost priority is to think about things differently.
What inspires you as an architect and designer?
I get inspiration from light and spacial installations by Dan Flavin, James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson, only to name a few; light is one of our key themes. The Swiss architect Luigi Snozzi once said that light is prior to everything. Light determines the atmosphere in rooms, on streets, in museums, and in restaurants. No one feels attracted by the cold white light of underground stations. Light has an enormous effect on our feelings and sensations.
In today’s highly commercial world, what shapes the idea of a unique identity?
The key point is to define the essence of a company. By choosing two or three from a list of 100 terms, you can determine what a company stands for. In our day and age people are flooded with impressions from all sides; there are flat screens everywhere, everybody’s gaze is on their mobile phones. Our answer to that is tackling projects without haste and to create spaces on trade fairs that invite people to linger and feel the space to focus what is happening around them.
What project are you particularly proud of and why?
Our recent project was a light installation that we did for the Black Yak outdoor label during the sports fair Ispo in Munich in 2018. The entire exhibition stand was black, dominated by LED lights in the shape of a mountain crest. It was a project bordering on an art installation that perfectly expresses Studio Knack’s philosophy and as a consequence emphasizes the client's products.
Production & Interview by
Freunde von Freunden