Can you give us a brief intro on who you are, the team, and where you are based?
My name is Zak Kyes. I'm a Swiss American creative director and I founded Zak Group over 15 years ago. We’re a design oﬃce that works with people that are guiding the trajectory of contemporary culture. We initiate ideas for creative partners in the ﬁelds of art, architecture, design, fashion and entertainment. The core team – currently art director Asel Tambay, designers Teo Furtado and Marta Urbez and project manager Annika Thiems – regularly expands to join forces with developers, architects, type designers and others on speciﬁc projects. The studio is based in London, between De Beauvoir Town and Islington.
How did Zak Group come together?
I’m part of a generation that grew up in the early days of the internet — so books and magazines were still the primary form of knowledge. Books were my gateway to culture and design. Eventually I realised these books were designed by someone called a graphic designer. This was an epiphany for me — that design could be a way to give shape to culture. Ultimately, Zak Group consists of a group of people passionate about designing things. Some of those things are books, some are conceptual – like creative direction, for example, an identity, a colour, even an institution. We’re an oﬃce whose abilities are ampliﬁed through collaboration.
How would you describe your design style?
Design can be a very solitary experience, and collaboration is a way to step outside of your own reality and skillset. Projects like ICONS with Virgil, Boys Don’t Cry with Frank, can be liberating and lead to breakthroughs, but they are equally humbling. Most often, artists want something that you have never done before, maybe even requiring a skill you don’t have. That’s been true in our work with Anne Imhof on her exhibition Faust, Sex and most recently Natures Mortes, which we art directed.
Are there any recent or upcoming projects that you are excited about?
If you’re lucky enough to be able to travel, I recommend visiting Anne Imhof’s exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo. Anne invited a fantastic selection of artists including David Hammons, Cady Nolan, Precious Okoyomon and many more. The show will conclude with performances in October.
We’re also working on the second issue of Fact magazine, also launching mid-October, and a new identity for a heritage French clothing brand.
Where else can we find you?
NTS – Zak Group Art School