Zurich29, France, illustration and motion design

June 17th 2007

Partfaliaz interview Zurich29

Philippe Constantinesco and Dorian Gourg founded Zurich29 during 2005. They both became famous working on animation and print with a particular mixing illustration style, twisted and trendy.


You are featuring on lots of blogs because you have a really great production of pictures and animations, but in fact “Zurich29” what is it ?
Our name “Zurich29” is the address of our beginnings, when we lived in Strasbourg (East of France), we had our office at 29, Zurich road. About our activity, Zurich29 is a studio of graphic design and illustration mainly based on motion graphics. We work for different customers and agents, however we are our own silent partners for personal creations.


You are two creative people and you work as a team, is it always simple and easy ? Do you sometime work with other creative persons ? How is it ? What advantage and inconvenient do you see in team working ?
We like mixing technics and styles. We could say its a kind of “graphical ping-pong”. Well, when its possible, we work together and mix our ideas and wishes on the same project, but really often we work on divided projects. Particularly on MTV, we both have different casing to do.
We had few opportunities to work with other creation staff (for animations work or print work). These opportunities should happen more often in the future. The advantages to work into a team its to develop a picture, each one trying to get closer to the wish of the customer, like this we can have the fast point of view of someone standing aside, when we work on different projects we compare our universes…
About inconvenient, It’s necessary to get to the same wavelength in the end, with all the compromises you guess.


Is there a place for the ego when we are two?
Of course, if not I think we should break right now because we are not trying to balance the creation of each project. It needs the same motivation from both sides, so that the implication comes naturally.
But its really a satisfaction for your ego to built something into a team. And we are not always two on the same projects like I said before, its important to work separately too.

When Zurich29 works for MTV, its mostly “carte blanche” or everything is first confirmed by someone else?
That depends, generally, we have a brief, we start to think, growing some ideas, making a storyboard if necessary and work some layout to present a graphic universe. From here, the art director is called to see our proposals, and get to the draft if necessary, after comes the production step, here we make the final validation with the Program manager before broadcasting.
But it’s right, often we are free, until we stay into a coherent universe with the spirit of MTV (hip hop, R’nB, street culture) MTV idol (vintage, 90’s) or MTV pulse (Rock).
It’s like you have a particularly free imagination, but, what are your inspiration sources?
We watch more or less in every direction, in all the cultures and in all the periods, if we multiply the number of artistic areas by the number of cultures and periods we get a very large number of inspiration sources.


Does the research of new sources of inspiration ask you a particular organisation? Does your blog contribute to it ?
It doesn’t ask really an organization, its natural, we go and see some blogs, see expositions, we open some books, we talk with others designers, we exchange links, some names etc… Its true our blog contributes ! Its always pleasant to share some discoveries or show a work you like.

You certainly are aware about trends? Is it important to your point of view? What do trends tell us actually ?
Yes, we are always searching for trendy stuff about clothes, cinema, music, ad, video games, exhibitions, high tech… We watch what kind of shops work and what do they purpose and if there is a link or not with graphics because it gives us “raw material” to think about, in order to feed our pictures. Also I believe that all these domains interact each other.

Well, finally, who decides of trends (the producers, sellers, buyers or others…)?
After 2 hours and a half of deliberation, I decided to switch to the next question …

OK and is there any hot work in progress now at Zurich29 ?
Well, it is rather fuzzy at the moment, we don’t know if we will stay at MTV one more year but certainly we will be involved into other personal projects that we are thinking about since a long time like working with clothes brands, enlarge our activities and export us a little more…


How do you see the future of your job?
We think that being multidisciplinary can be good for us and we try to get in touch with various areas and not stay confined in a single domain. There is many things to be made in graphic design and in illustration or in graphic motion and still a lot of media to be investigated…



Zurich29 likes…
Phil :
Music : Radiohead, Necro, Roots Manuva, MF Doom & Madlib, The Faint, The Roots, UNKLE, Xploding Plastix, One Self, Ratatat, Erik Truffaz,…
Books : David Goodis, Edward Bunker, Andreï Kourkov, Boris Vian, James Lee Burke …
Type design : Fette Fraktur, typo à la main, Avant-Garde, …
Designer –illustrator – Motion Designer – Artists : James Jean, Stéphane Manel, James Roper, One Size, I Am Static, Vetor Zero, Psyop, Nexus, 1st Ave Machine, Egon Schiele, Jenny Saville, Ernest Pignon Ernest, …

Dorian :
Music : Prefuse 73, Peter Bjorn & John, Queens of the stone age, Peaches, CSS, Katerine, Poni Hoax, Tarwater, White rose movements, Beasty boys, Thom Yorke, Deftones, Wax tailor, Fisherspooner, Vitalic, Saul Williams, Jacques Brel, Arthur H, Hot chip, The go find, Roots Manuva, The faint…
Books : Herbert Liebermann ( Necropolis, Le tueur et son hombre, La nuit du solstice ), Caleb Carr ( L’alieniste ), Jonathan Littell ( Les bienveillantes ), Terry pratchett ( Le disque monde )…
Type design : Helvetica, Fette fraktur, typos dessinées.
Designers : Couscous kid, Adhemas, Surpy, Karol Kolodzinski, Burn everything…
Illutrators / painters : Zenvironments, Kozyndan, Mark Ryden, Bacon, Basquiat, Doze Green et beaucoup d’artistes de la gallerie BLK/MRKT
Motion designers : One size, Qube Konstrukt, Dform1, Lobo, Dstrukt, Post panic, Psyop, Nailgun, Buck…

© All images by courtesy of Zurich29

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