This month’s cover design was produced by Maurizio Poletto and Florian Koch from the new media company ‘Nofrontiere‘ in Vienna, Austria. A lot of talent has consistently appeared from the company. We can see their activities in lots of their client works such as Swatch and LEGO. What is the factor they fascinates so many clients? We interviewed them about the activity of Nofrontiere, etc.
First of all, please tell us who you are.
Florian: I am Florian Koch from Munich, 25 years old. After working in an advertising agency I started to study “visual design” at the college of design in Schwäbisch Gmünd, which is an unimportant city in south Germany, but it has a very good college. (www.hfg-gmuend.de)
During my studies I worked at Nofrontiere for six months – and surprisingly, after I received my diploma, I am here again!
At Nofrontiere I am a media-designer. I am also an illustrator sometimes.
Mauri: Ciao, my name is Maurizio Poletto, 25 years old too. But everyone except my mother and some strange friends are calling me Mauri, Morri, Morìs and so on…… even Flo calls me this.
So about me: I decided to become a “graphic designer” when I was young (like 13). In one of those American soap operas which my mother was watching every day after lunch, there was a character whose job was to make charts for business meetings (at that time I thought this was GRAPHIC DESIGN).
It was not a complicated job and it looked very funny just making simple drawings, lines and shapes, so I went to a design college.
After college I entered the only public graphic design institute in Italy located in a small, medieval city called Urbino. The “Istituto Superiore per le Industrie Artistiche” is a very important institute which deals mainly with editorial design, illustration, photography.
I met so many interesting people from every part of the world and one of those was Andrea Steinfl who was the co-founder (with Ali Szadeczky) of Nofrontiere Design in Vienna. After I finished all my regular exams I came to Vienna and I’m still here today.
What are you currently doing?
Mauri: Well, at the moment, I’m spending my nights designing the artwork for a band from Seattle who write songs about stars, dreams and love. During the day, I’m having many weird meetings, trying to fill a museum with emotional interactive experiences, mental masturbation for the new Nofrontiere book, drinking lots of coffee, reading and sending mails, speaking a lot with everyone (maybe too much), phoning with the code *4, going to Billa for lunch, having fights and fun, playing music…and when I have time, doing some design.
Flo: I just finished a CD-Rom for Deutsche Bank and if I don’t do the things which Mauri does, except from the museum and book stuff, I spend my time thinking about web sites, animations and videos. Some of my better ideas I actually create.
Could you tell us more about the activity of Nofrontiere?
BOTH (unisono-sottovoce): Nofrontiere is working on some interesting projects at the moment. We just finished a version of a CD-ROM about Sigmund Freud, which is a project we fought for a long time and now we finally did it. It will be on the market at the end of the summer.
We are producing an innovative interactive experience for a new museum on the Judenplatz in Vienna. Here we will use some new technology that will allow an emotional, intuitive interaction for the museum visitor without mouse, keyboard or screen – just using light, sound and the interaction of the user.
Nofrontiere’s team of architects are working heavily on the studio extension which runs parallel to the development of an integrated design approach, a hybrid of the media ‘languages’ and architecture.
Finally, but not in terms of importance, is the Nofrontiere Book 1999 which Nofrontiere will present in October at the Frankfurt International Book Fair.
Through the projects, experiments, ideas and the new developments in mediatecture and interface design, the book will be an interesting journey into the Nofrontiere world of the last 3 years: in general, the happenings in the place of coincidence.
Mauri (quoting fritz): We work in a strange place. It is a place where completely different people meet and communicate. We are people of different personalities, tastes, prejudices, education, experiences, professions, dreams, nationalities and ideas.
Maybe we have one thing in common: A collective experience of a special identity that does not manifest itself only in the individual personalities of the people but also through the personality of the place.
It is a spatial Identity. It is The Place of Coincidence.
Flo: Nofrontiere is a good place to stay, but I think it is hard to stay in one place if you are interested in different styles or medias (e.g. television or hardcore information design….). That’s why some people see Nofrontiere as a chapter in their evolution. It is a good experience to work at Nofrontiere, but I will leave soon to gain some new ones in a different country.
Mauri: Well, we are many but I could not tell you exactly how many. People are leaving and coming like at a train station, …yeah… we are a kind of design train station.
Flo: You take the train of your main interest (sooner or much much later).
Mauri: …and, don’t miss it.
How and where did you learn such interactive designs?
Flo: This kind of interactive design (like we did for the cover) I learned by myself, the rest at school.
Mauri: I certainly did not learn interactive design at school like Florian. The best lesson in interactive design that we had at school was this game with a F-18 Hornet interface.
Otherwise, I learned interactive design here at Nofrontiere. Thanks. But what I think you can learn or to be taught is the technique, design is a different process.
It is a creative process, dialogue and curiosity, open-minded, self-ironic, passion, and this you cannot learn … you must cultivate it.
Flo: There are some criteria of design you can learn and some you can’t. I learned many (good) things at school and they are burned into my brain. Now I try to make something which is different to my school training.
What are your ideas on interactive design and which personal principles do you follow in creating a design?
Flo: Basically, I try to help people to communicate with each other by preparing the information in the right way. Or I create interfaces which let the user understand the information easily (make it transparent).
Anyway interactive design can also be entertaining (depends on the context).
Mauri: I can’t really explain… I think there is an idea, which can be good or bad (let’s say you can like it or not) and then there is the creative process which is something very personal, but extremely sensible and dependent on the context. There is something you should not forget as a Designer … there is always a story to tell and if it is a good story there is someone who will listen to it ….
We can see lots of client works that Nofrontiere has dealt with in the book titled ‘Nofrontiere Operating System’. What do you think is the factor that fascinates so many Nofrontiere clients?
Flo: At the moment, good people meet in one place. The result is special as you will see in our next book.
Mauri: It is a constant exchange of dialogues, people, experiences, language, food, music, time… It is a kind of collective soul, which depends not only on the people but also on the place … we will try to explain this in our next book.
What are you most interested in right now?
Flo: I am interested in too many things. I don’t know where to start so I do almost nothing (in my freetime). I would like to make some music (Many years ago I was a drummer in a typical unknown teenager independent band) – electronic music and some nice web-design.
I will start to make my own homepage for which I am actually looking for a domain name. It will be a mixture of showing some of my work as well as some unimportant but nice things.
Mauri: …errors and the wonderful world of random images.
We’d like to ask you about the web design in Vienna, Austria in general. What is hot there now? And what do you think about the web design scene in Austria?
Flo: Check out the Silverserver!
Mauri: The Austrian web site which I check more often is Der Standard Online where I can find all the movies which are currently playing in Vienna in their original language.
The last question. Do you have any plans for the near future?
Flo: Going to London in September for one year, together with my girlfriend.
Mauri: Try to go to the beach for some days in summer, buy a digital camcorder, going to London after flo gets there … last but not least I must go to the dentist on the 10th of July.
Address: Zinckgasse 20-22, 1150 Vienna, Austria
Tel: +43 (1)9855750
Text: Mayumi Kaneko