View from our stand at Northmodern Design Fair, which was covered by "Soul of City" prints

Soul of City

This is a collection on urban experience. It is a creative reflection of the first hand experiences and observations. The patterns, elements, and keywords unique to cities are presented in a contemporary, smart, and humorous attitude in fine lines.

The collection has started with Copenhagen spreading to more as a natural outcome of Hamide’s fascination of Copenhagen following their move in 2011. Their interest in the role of design in urban experience, and their belief in design’s power to enhance everyday life through aesthetic experiences led them to explore the characteristics of Copenhagen.

Based on three themes, the collection introduces a line of prints, postcards and totebags; standing out in the market with its comprehensive concept delivered in minimal graphics. The product selections are not by coincidence. While prints and totebags function as the daily reminders of this experience and memory, open to be reconsumed and reinterpreted, the postcards function like stamps presenting and spreading the culture of the city and the user who experienced a piece of the city. The collection also functions as an archival work since it captures and records the urban culture at a specific period. It will hopefully grow into a travel journal and an interactive art installation in Copenhagen in 2017.

Theme #1: This is …

This theme explores the identity of the cities or countries through keywords or landmarks. It introduces the statement “this is … (the name of the city)” and uses each letter of the city’s name for a keyword / landmark in vertical orientation. The puzzle-like effect as a result of this design decision creates a playful aesthetic experience by inviting the audience to interact with the work. The audience has to pause and play. This playful smart concept is strengthened by the design decisions that favor a simple look, use of empty space, clean typography, and color.

A line of prints and postcards, and a totebag were designed based on this theme. The idea was explored both in Danish and in English. It was applied to Copenhagen, Denmark, Aarhus, Roskilde and to various districts of Copenhagen as Vesterbro, Christianshavn, Nørrebro and Amager.

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Theme #2: Meet the Locals

This theme explores the urban design and lifestyle elements unique to the studied city. These elements are introduced with the humorous title “meet the locals of …”. This theme puts a spotlight on the elements of the city that were sometimes taken for granted or stayed unnoticed but have been humbly and quietly serving to both permanent and temporary residents of the city. This purpose reflects on the design as well with the removal of all other elements surrounding these locals.

A line of prints and postcards were designed based on this theme.

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Theme #3: Architecture from the City

This theme studies some elements of the built environment in Copenhagen. Buildings and landscapes from a rather recent era have been chosen since Copenhagen is one of the pioneers in contemporary architecture. The structures were illustrated with outlines while a characteristic element from the structure is used as a background pattern, such as the facades.

Currently this series consists of BLOX by OMA, Bella Sky by 3XN, Den Sorte Diamant by Schmidt / Hammer / Lassen, Crystallen by Schmidt / Hammer / Lassen, and Superkillen by BIG / Superflex / Topotek 1. Among these, BLOX postcard was designed specially for Danish Architecture Center Bookshop.

"Architecture from Copenhagen" postcard series as a set
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Special Edition: Soul of City X DAC

Upon invitation by the Danish Architecture Center (DAC),  in celebration of their move to BLOX designed by Rem Koolhaas – OMA, we designed postcard and totebag for BLOX in the same design language of the Soul of City collection.

Both the postcard and the totebag introduced the structure BLOX in its bulk form seen from  across the harbour,  Christianshavn. The background pattern, for which we study a significant element from the structure itself, was this time an interpretation of the rooftop layout. The totebag is made of organic cotton and a fair trade product. It was printed in Copenhagen with handmade silk screen printing technique.

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Totebag featuring "the Blox" in Copenhagen shown in use