PEOPLEText: Jerome Lacote

This month, my hotspot is not always at Paris. Actually I find myself in Clermont Ferrand, a small town in the heart of the volcanic park of the Auvergne. This is the location Antony Squizzato chose for him and his web design studio Periscope.

12h30, I arrive at the grounds of Periscope. They preferred to install themselves in a former apartment in the old part of town rather than in the new technology complex. Antony Squizzato gives me a warm welcome.

Can you introduce yourself and Periscope?

My name is Anthony Squizzato and I am 26 years old. I am one of the two founders of Periscope, which is a web agency. We also founded different subsidiary companies dealing with animated movies, 3D, marketing and server side development. We also founded a restaurant (le "resto") with a strong art-deco decoration, very Mondrian, in order to accommodate our friends.

At Periscope I take care of the production and I am the art director, while my associate is more the financier and company manager. Before we became a web agency, Periscope was a small web design, illustration and typography label (N.A.: Periscope participated in the book ‘img src 100’).

How did you discover IT as a tool?

Initially, I used minitel (N.A.: the French ancestor of the Internet) quite a lot. I got connected through BBS and I started to frequent hacker nets on Atari. Afterwards I started to get involved with graphic work in certain groups, then I got interested in the creation of demos (short piece of computer programmed motion graphics) on the Amiga and later on the PC with Dreamdealers (with former members of Melondezign…). Parallel to the ascii art of 3D, I also became dedicated to painting and drawing.

Why Periscope?

Periscope is the glance coming from under the sea, it observes life around it objectively and brings new ideas. We are rather trying to apply it than to talk about it.

You are based in Auvergne. Why?

Staying close to our roots in Auvergne allows us to develop an individual identity, without being subject to too much influence for the remainder of the production. We feel close to the attitudes of Buro Destruct or Francois Chalet in Bern, Lausanne or Zurich in Switzerland. Evidently the quality of life here is not comparable to the one in a capital.

What are you currently working on?

We just made designs for cell phones but 95% of our activity is web site creation. We are doing the website of the "fous du volants", games in shockwave or flash for Sony music or for video game editors.

What are your objectives?

First of all to allow Periscope to develop in order to do more interesting projects. I would also like to have more time to concentrate on less commercial but more experimental projects. We wish to conciliate our artistic ideas with the economic reality in order to try our best to change things.

What inspires you?

At one point I was very inspired by fantasy, then by the surrealists. "Dreamdealers" allowed me to make a step towards Kandinsky, Mondrian and Buckley. I am more inspired by what was made in the beginning of the century in painting, design or architecture than by contemporary productions on the web, which I consider as too flat. Nevertheless I love images and I consume a lot of magazines about all kind of subjects.

What do you think about the actual web design scene ?

I think that the web is nobody’s property, but it is said however that it belongs to some big labels (Surfstation, K10K, linkdup…), which need to be worn like Nike shoes to be trendy. I think that all these people are often talented but I am embarrassed by the tendency to uniformity which follows them.

The future of the web?

I truly believe in the emergence of sites in 3D, in total immersion, in a new use of sound and in sites with more emotions to share.

What do you think about Japan?

First of all I am passionate about video games and I appreciate what has been realized in Japan in this area.I also appreciated the way in which the Japanese apprehend and help the contemporary creation as much in Europe as in their country. I love the Japanese graphic culture, which comes directly to the point without special effects.

15h00, Anthony takes me to the terrace of a brasserie ("le Suffren") to devour a croque-monsieur;
16h30, I ride my mountain bike around the Periscope Fuji Yama: the Puy de Dôme

Text: Jerome Lacote

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