Studio Feixen is an independent Design Studio based in Lucerne, Switzerland and founded by Felix Pfäffli in 2009. They’ve just launched a new website, an expended team, new projects and a new shop! Here at FFF we see a lot of studio sites, and this stands out as one of the best – its super easy to use, downloading projects is a doddle, and there’s some lovely touches hiding round every corner.
“We focus specifically on nothing in particular. Whether it’s graphic design, interior design, fashion design, type design or animation?–?as long as it challenges us?–?we are interested. We work internationally with clients like Nike, Google, Reebok or The New York Times as well as more locally with institutions like Wanderlust or the Nuits Sonores Festival in France, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Südpol or the Luzerner Theater.”
The Südpol is a multi purpose cultural center in Kriens, Switzerland, close to Lucerne. It houses a theatre, a symphony orchestra, a brass band, a music school, a restaurant, a flea market, and rents out space for performances of music, dance, theatre, literature, digital arts and many more. From 2010 to 2015, Felix Pfäffli was commissioned to design all posters for the venue, and a book collating them all is in the works. We spoke to Felix to get the latest on everything Feixen…
Your site is live and you just announced some big changes – congrats!
Thanks, we are super happy we are finally online. We work now since a year as a studio. Before it was just me. So for us being a team now it’s a big moment.
The site is a triumph, was it a hard project to realise?
Ha, ha, ha! Thanks! Hm. It was a big project for us. For sure. But it wasn’t hard – it was just a long project. We also had great help from our fist intern Loana Boppart. And we simply took all the time we thought was necessary. In the end we are all super happy how we ended up. And I think it was also very important to not over hesitate. All the ideas like a chat or the crazy press folders and the header image came on the way. We tested out different structures different starting systems and played around like children play with lego.
Whats it like going from a solo practise to a small studio of 3?
It’s great! I simply realized that over time its just no fun to work alone. It’s an incredible feeling to realize what happens if you merge talent. There is a huge tradition of graphic designers which are known as single person. But in fact I think we are living in another time. Today its about teamwork, about collaboration and this idea of one person knowing and creating everything should be an idea of yesterday. Work gets better the more people are working on a project. The more eyes the more talent you can put into your work the better. Also – lets be honest – success is much more fun to celebrate in a group. We fight together, we have our goals and if somebody has a bad day the others help you to concentrate on reality.
Can you tell us a bit about the ‘lab’?
Yes. We are working on it. I guess in about half a year we will go online with our second page (studiofeixenlab.ch). There we will publish our in house projects. The first releases will be our studio font. A book. And our own clothing brand.
When can we expect to see the book?!
Depends on what book you mean. We will launch a book which is secret at the moment. I cant talk about it at the moment, since the idea is so simple that I think its funnier to publish suddenly with nobody knowing anything about it before. The other book about the südpol posters we are working on at the moment will be on one hand of course an overview of the 99 Posters I designed for the südpol with some background informations and sketches of these works. And on the other hand it will be about the idea of studio feixen at the example of the exhibition we are creating simultaneously.
We are a studio that creates visual concepts. So we create a lot of corporate designs but actually hate limitations and corporate designs. So in a way our job is to formulate borders but at the same time we try to set these borders in a way that we still have enough freedom. Do you know what I mean? We hate borders but we make them. Our solution for that problem is simply that we try not to make border but rules for a game. So in the end every application we do for a client should feel like playing a game – where we don’t really know how it will look in the end.
With very graphic work such as your posters, do you start by sketching, or do you play directly on the computer?
Its a combination. Sometimes a sketch is a starting point. Sometimes an experiment on the computer. I think that is not so important. For us there is no difference anymore between computer work or hand-made stuff. Its just tools. Whether its a pencil or a mouse doesn’t really matter. What is really important I think is: We don’t believe in thinking about design ideas. We believe that it’s not possible to imagine a new visual language since everything you can imagine is actually just a combination of stuff you’ve already seen somewhere. You have to make it. And look at it. And react. So when we start a project we don’t loose a lot time talking about it. Since after ten minutes hearing a client we all already have twenty ideas how that could look like we just start trying out suff. What then happens is the interesting part I think. You print out your ideas. Put them on the floor. Try to find out what feels good. Search for combination until suddenly you find a language that does everything or even more you expected.
You’ve worked with some incredible clients already – anyone still on your wish-list?
Uh! The list of stuff we would love to do is incredibly long actually. We also realized that it’s probably not possible to do everything we would like to do in our lives. But an attempt to prevent this is actually our Lab. That’s the part of our company which needs no clients. When it comes to clients its absolutely the same. I mean who wouldn’t like to design a car for Jay Z? Or who wouldn’t say no to be in the list of incredible designers which designed a cover for the New Yorker? And it would also be cool to redesign the incredibly ugly looking logo of Uber.
Thanks Felix! Now go enjoy some time with that responsive header :)