Monday 3 February 2014
Omar Sosa on Nathalie Du Pasquier

L’Hommage is an interview series about people who highlight and promote people they admire and their work, thus spreading their inspiration.

Omar Sosa is an art director, designer, and one of the founders of now world-renowned interiors magazine Apartamento – which often features creatives and their homes and workspaces. One of the people who’s been featured in the magazine is Nathalie Du Pasquier, who’s coming to Stockholm for the Hall of Femmes seminar on February 3.

We called Omar up, on a busy day in Apartamento’s Barcelona office, to find out more about his projects with Nathalie.

Omar Sosa, creative director Apartamento magazine.

Omar Sosa, art director Apartamento magazine. Photo: Osma Harvilaht.

Tell us about how you first came in contact with Nathalie.

In 2009 I saw some paintings she had made – they were still lifes, peculiar arrangements of little objects. They were just beautiful and I told the gang at Apartamento about it. A few days later I found out that she was one of the founders of the influential Memphis Group in the eighties – I didn’t even know about that part of her work at first.

Apartamento co-hosted an exhibition of Nathalie’s in 2011; featured an interview with her in issue #8; you collaborated on a design project of playing cards; and now you’re finishing a book on her drawings. What intrigues you about her work?

Her paintings were my first interest. She sometimes says that designing and painting involve different parts of her brain. But what interests me most about her work is her way of doing things. She is not about analyzing or planning – she is so immediate about her work, and extremely fast and creative.

I suggested we do a book with her paintings and drawings. Going through her archives has now resulted in a 350 page book with works never yet published or produced. We are now in the process of finding the right publisher. Hopefully, the book will be out in 2014.

Nathalie Du Pasquier in Apartamento.

What has your acquaintance with Nathalie meant to you as a designer?

Well, she has had an influence on me in the use of color. A while back, most of my designs were in a black-to-white scale. I use color in designs more since I met her.

But, more importantly, she’s had an influence on me as a person. Her fantastic personality is what captures me most. She has such a good energy about her, so fast and productive. She likes to explore things by doing, rather than thinking about them. All that is so inspiring to be around. So her influence on me is more on a personal level.

What part of her work do you think is most relevant today?

Well sure – her pattern and design work as part of the Memphis Group were extremely influential at the time, and continue to be. In the last decade many things reminiscent of that style have been popular, it’s a strong trend. But that’s not what is most prominent about her potential as an artist; her body of work is so much more, she continues to explore. I hope to show that she is continuously developing. I’m very excited to see what she will do in the future.

Tomorrow, Nathalie Du Pasquier is one of the speakers at the seminar »True freedom can only be collective« at Arkitektur- och Designcentrum (The Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design) in Stockholm. Tickets 150 skr available here.

Posted by: 07:47

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Categories: L'Hommage, Nathalie Du Pasquier

Sunday 10 February 2013
Guest blogger: Julia Meer

Julia Meer

Julia Meer is both a designer and design historian, which is why she both designed and – together with Gerda Breuer – edited the book Women in Graphic Design 1890–2012. After more than two years of research, picking authors, and choosing which designers to write a short biography on and whose images to show, here is how she remembers the time.

Women in Graphic Design

Julia Meer is both a designer and design historian, which is why she both designed and – together with Gerda Breuer – edited the book Women in Graphic Design 1890–2012. After more than two years of research, picking authors, and choosing which designers to write a short biography on and whose images to show, here is how she remembers the time:

Working on the publication of Women in Graphic Design 1890–2012 was very special, both with regards to content and the emotional side. There were, for example, the reactions when we told people what we were currently working on. There seems to be a widespread insecurity when it comes to this particular topic: everyone assures you how interesting the topic is, and it subsequently gets lost in platitudes. Not so when it comes to people who were already dealing with these matters. We experienced great enthusiasm and support – so it was very easy to get information and material. At least when it came to the currently active designers.

It becomes much more difficult when you go back to the time before 1970. It becomes hard to get in contact with the designers. Even more difficult is the time before World War II, when it becomes extremely hard to find work samples. And when it comes to the years before 1900, you are happy if you at least find a name. But that isn’t much. Then you know there have been women working as graphic designers, but you don’t know anything about their education, life, clients and ideals. That’s why we realized quite early that the »traditional« method of research, that focuses on the designers and their work, wouldn’t be enough. It was necessary to ask structural questions like: Why were there this many women active in which fields? When and why do designers become visible? Were there ambitions to change working conditions? And so on.


WomenGraphic_0017For me it was very fascinating to »re-read« the history of graphic design and understand history, even more than before, as something that is written, that is constructed. I think our book is a good foundation for this re-reading, but the task of re-writing history is still pending. Hopefully we helped to widen perspective, and encourage women and men to ask critical questions. I guess, when it comes to that, the fact that Gerda Breuer and I were socialized in different generations enriched the research.

It makes it obvious to the reader that there is a history of feminism as well, that merges with the history of graphic design. There were, and are, a lot of different ideas and approaches, which makes the discussion very vivid and productive. These different positions also reflect in the interviews, which were probably the most memorable part of our work. Therefore, I very much look forward to your Hall of Femmes Talk series.

It is both impressive and calming to meet successful women and hear them talk about their work and themselves. I think young designers especially need to get a concrete/palpable example of a ›successful women‹. Otherwise they only have an abstract and often vague idea of what is necessary to become successful. And that image is often debilitating and causes pressure and doubts about whether one is capable of all that oneself. If you then meet Irma Boom or Julia Hoffmann and realize that they have not planned and organized every single minute and aspect of their lives and are a massive paragon of ambition, that helps you to get a better perspective. They still work because they love their work.

Summarizing all that: we really hope the book not only gives impulse to design historians, but is also inspiring and motivating for designers.


Julia Meer has worked at the institute for art and design studies at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal since 2008. In addition to pursuing the completion of her dissertation on typography in the 1920s, she works as a freelance designer and organizes lecture series, most recently on the architecture of the 1950s. She has served as editor of the magazine ff. since 2006.

Find the book here and Julia’s web page here.



Posted by: 22:03

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Categories: Guest blogger