The Proust Questionnaire: Featuring Studio YUKIKO
Michelle Phillips and Johannes Conrad are on a constant experimentation with graphic design and typography ever since they formed Berlin-based Studio YUKIKO back in 2012. “It’s very freeing”, says Phillips. “We first try to find an idea in the content that can be extracted and interpreted, and then we think about the printing techniques and materials available. The trickiest and most enjoyable part is imagining and translating 2D designs into a physical 3D object.” Their designs for books and magazines often end up combining complicated paper types and experimental folding techniques (Anything to give our printer a headache!” she says to Eye On Design. This amazing duo met in Brighton while she was studying graphic design and he was studying art and film. Today YUKIKO is best known as the design force behind avant-garde magazine Flaneur, a publication that meticulously investigates via writing and art different streets in different cities in each issue. Urban modernists? Nomads of the metropolis? We decided to investigate their true nature of the woman and the man that are behind YUKIKO intriguing portfolio.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Michelle: Being in good company.
Johannes: Waking up next to the person you thought you love the most.
What is your greatest fear?
M: Letting bad situations get the better of me.
J: Loosing the plot.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
J: My neurosis. But its part of me. So hey, what the heck...
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
J: Pointing out my traits.
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
M: The ability to party all weekend.
J: Ouch, difficult one, I ll go with what Michelle says.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
M: Right now, my clothes, I’m wearing sweatpants.
J: I washed my sneakers way, way too high in the washing machine, they not only shrunk but the plastic bits inside the shoe have melted. You can barely walk in them-. It’s not that I m wearing them right now, but they felt like an extension to my body for a while. And now they are gone, so I guess what I dislike the most, is the fact that I am not wearing them.
Which living person do you most despise?
M: Gawd, I’m not the one for pointing fingers at people.
J: The client that doesn’t like our ideas.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
M: Great Hair!
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
J: Their ability to be haptic.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
M: Rock n Roll, I used it once, didn’t pull it off.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
M: Haha. My living and working partner, Johannes.
J: Errrm, ok, what do I say without this being corny? This one is hard. Let’s skip this.
When and where were you happiest?
M: I hope its today, and tomorrow I hope it will be tomorrow.
J: The day I quit my job in London and moved to Berlin with Michelle.
Which talent would you most like to have?
M: Ability to fly.
J: I would like to be better at answering these questions.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
M: My laziness.
J: More Life than Work.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
M: Moving to Berlin, opening my own studio.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
M: A very large bird.
J: I would be a Jazz trombone would be fun.
Where would you most like to live?
M: Here in Berlin but maybe in a much grander apartment.
J: Inside my computer.
What is your most treasured possession?
M: I could live without most of my possessions. Johannes has a shuggie Otis record I’m quite fond of, but its not mine.
J: I would get rid of everything any minute. Start again.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
M: Falling out with someone close.
J: Trying to tell a joke but not finding the punchline of it.
What is your favorite occupation?
M: The one I do, but maybe running a small Japanese noodle bar would be nice too.
J: Ditto Michelle. If nothing works out there is always the noodle bar. Or the banana stand. ‘There’s always money in the banana stand!’
What do you most value in your friends?
M: The time they have for me.
J: If there is one, then their sense of humor.
Who are your favorite writers?
M: Tom McCarthy, Gerald Durrell, Hermann Hesse.
J: James Salter, Denis Johnson.
What is it that you most dislike?
M: Slogan t-shirts.
J: I dislike dislike. Ha!
What is your greatest regret?
M: I always regret not getting up earlier on Saturday mornings.
J: Not coming to Berlin in the 90s -or earlier.
Portrait by Mathias Steffen/ComputerArts