4 Questions To – Laura Ponte

“Being spontaneous is part of me so whatever I do, has to be that way.”

The beauty of things always appealed to Laura Ponte. Traveling the world during her years as a top model, she worked with some of the largest names in fashion, wore some of the finest garments and heaviest jewellery. Today she’s retired from her modeling career and has settled down in Spain where she, a few years ago, started the jewellery company Luby & Lemerald together with Luis Feliu de la Peña.

The jewellery by Luby & Lemerald is about dreams and about being present in this very moment. Forget about trends and seasonal treasures, their universe is about inspirations – nevertheless where they may come from – they all mix up in the end collection. The Blogazine paid a visit to the brand’s studio in Madrid where we caught a moment with Laura Ponte.

Interview Lisa Olsson Hjerpe – Filmed by Renzo Angelillo 
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4 Questions To – Margaux Lönnberg

She is the Parisian girl who looks Scandinavian and has a name that is the perfect clash of her heritage: part French, part Danish, part Swedish, part Finnish. She spent her years growing up between Paris and Morocco. She’s the blogger-turned-designer whose style, taste and personality have made her somewhat of a muse. She’s the girl who doesn’t read the questions before our interview because she prefers to respond naturally from her head and heart. The Blogazine got a moment with Margaux Lönnberg and got to know her honest and charismatic persona.

You’re recognized as blogger, model, designer, muse… what would you, yourself, say that your ‘title’ is?

Well.. I would like to designate myself as designer, regarding that I design my brand! Muse, yes, I think I’m a muse in certain ways for certain people: maybe for the blogosphere, for a few creatives and photographers, and it’s something I always loved. But today I present myself as a designer. It’s what I always wanted to do and it was for this reason I started my blog to start with. I already designed a bit before and with the blog I could create my own universe with all my inspiration and music et voilà, now I have my own brand!

Speaking about your eponymous brand, Margaux Lönnberg – the collections seem to be a reflection of your own wardrobe. Are you your own muse?

No, but I’m inspired by my own taste, of course. Though, my taste comes from others – I don’t think my taste comes only from me, but is something that is created through the people around me! When I design and in everything I do, I find inspiration in photography, images, music – above all, music! My blog is full of music! – cinema, books.

I have my style and I try to design the things I like and that I don’t find, the things I think are missing – the brand is about style and not about making something that is ‘in fashion’ or trendy, and it is what makes it interesting. I don’t follow fashion, at all. I’m not looking for women saying “this out of fashion, it’s passé – I’ll throw it away”. I’m creating a style, something that last.

If not Paris, where would you live?

I’d have to say New York. New York is a city where people really do things. In Paris people are a bit.. soft, they don’t do things for real, thoroughly. In New York people work hard. Then you have the architecture, all the different quartiers, neighbourhoods, all these places that create a city, and it’s a city that is rich. Rich in everything! Though, it’s a very rapid city, the people really speed, which stresses me a little, I like things a bit more cool. But the answer is New York – every corner of the city is truly inspiring.

What’s the one piece of clothing you couldn’t do without?

Le t-shirt blanc! A white tee is the basic that you can wear with everything: jeans, pants, skirts, during the day, during the evening, in the night. Then there are plenty of other pieces of course, but a white t-shirt really is my wardrobe favourite and it’s a piece I wear all the time.

Interview by Lisa Olsson Hjerpe 
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4 Questions To – Jack Dahl

Heavy books intruding our free time – to make positive associations with the word homework might not come naturally to everyone. Luckily we found a place that changes the scenario: Homework is also the name of a Copenhagen-based creative studio founded in 2002, bringing forth associations of timeless yet contemporary design, ambitious work and Scandinavian flair. The studio, specialized in brand expression and communication, has since the start built up a portfolio showcasing brand identity projects, packaging, image campaigns and editorial work across printed and digital media. The Blogazine had a chat with founder Jack Dahl – creative director who has worked with some of the most prestigious names within the field of fashion, beauty and luxury design.

Your studio is located in Copenhagen, a city that over the passed years has gained a lot of attention internationally. Has Copenhagen’s position as a recognized fashion city affected your work in any way?
Well, we are working in a competitive market, definitely, but I don’t really think that it has anything to do with Copenhagen’s newly-gained position as a fashion capital. Denmark is and has been famous for its rich design culture and heritage, so I would rather say that with the Internet and the whole online social world, it has become much easier to reach and maintain a strong relationship to customers even though they are based on the other side of the world.

Homework has actually been very fortunate in many ways – we have worked with some very interesting international clients, which again, attract other international companies. We have done a great handful of collaborations with Japanese clients like GAS interface, Addition Adelaide, A.P.J, Jun, Le Ciel Bleu, Franc Franc and Isetan, a few projects in the Middle East, Lady Gaga Parfums/COTY in France, Comme des Garçons/PUIG in Spain, and Galerie Perrotin in Paris and Hong Kong – they have all been amazing clients of Homework.

Your signature aesthetics is about simplicity and about letting the essentials be in focus, something that very much can be said about Scandinavian design over-all. Would you say that Scandinavian graphic design and art direction, just like Scandinavian fashion, is democratic and minimalistic?
I wouldn’t say that democratic and minimalistic describe Scandinavian design and art direction the same way as the fashion industry. The Scandinavian fashion companies are known for balancing nice contemporary designs at reasonable prices whereas it’s true that the graphic design and art direction are very streamline, minimalistic and distinct. For Homework it’s a way of always searching to highlight core values, key message or distinct personality in a company or in a product. I would like to think of Homework as having a design approach with an international appeal.

We’ve heard that you have a certain obsession for typography and typefaces. What is that is so fascinating about type?
It’s true – we do have a special place in our hearts reserved for type. Working with type is like working with an infinite amount of styles and ways of expression. When thoughtfully executed, typography can be both timeless and contemporary, both illustrative and understated.

You have a long list of prestigious references in your portfolio but what are you still dreaming about doing?
I, and Homework, dream of many good things still to come. We have never worked with an Italian client and it’s something we would love in particular – it’s about time! Other than that, fragrance, furniture and interior brands have a focus in our team these days. Personally, I’m also interested in the people behind a brand – the product in itself is not always the most important thing. Our most successful work has been with brands who also share our aesthetic and approach. Big brands such as B&B Italy, Vitra, H&M or Madonna would also be interesting as major commercial players.

Interview by Lisa Olsson Hjerpe – Image courtesy of Homework 
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4 Questions To – Martin Sebald

He spent his professional life working between London and Moscow, but now art director Martin Sebald is back in Berlin changing the finest fashion offices for his first own studio. Sebald and his team operates as a small design agency, and even though they are young as a company they offer over 10 years of experience from the fashion and publishing industry. In this studio questions are asked before answers are given, and focus lies as much on the big picture as on the details – “I believe they are inseparable”, says Martin Sebald himself when The Blogazine had a chat with him about independency, Berlin and where the things are actually happening.

After years of working for big industry names you are now back in Berlin working out of your own studio. Are you enjoying the independence?
It’s a really good question, it’s something I’m asking myself for the first time. Is this thing that I always wanted to do, work independently, a good thing? As for everything, there are advantages and disadvantages. To start with we have the advantage of not having a boss! Though, that means that I have to look for all of my jobs myself. I did this, started my own studio, because I was turning 34 and I thought “I don’t want to work for big companies forever, I want to start my own little ‘big company’”. Setting up my own studio has really enriched my life and made it more interesting, as well as it made me more multi-disciplined in comparison with when I worked in a magazine. Today I also do things for the web, for smart devices and videos and print. Running your own studio is also challenging, I realised that there are a lot of things I need to learn: how to run a business and how to pay taxes for example [laughs]. Budgets are smaller than when working for Vogue or Harpers Bazaar. There you just need to ask for money for a big photo shoot, even if it’s for a small designer. Now I have to deal with questions like ‘how do we pay the model?’ and ‘where do we get the model from?’ The question about where the money comes from is constant when working indpendently with small designers.

Berlin is your daily point of reference – is it as cool as they say?
Well, I was born in Berlin and obviously a lot has changed since the wall came down. I thought Berlin was really really cool when I was a teenager and started to go to underground clubs or squatted buildings, and the situation when I moved to Shoreditch in London was similar: it was an upcoming area that had just been ‘discovered’. Now Shoreditch is crowded, and maybe even the first McDonald’s will open soon, and that is my opinion about what is sort of happening in Berlin too. A lot of people come here and the city is becoming, let’s say, too popular and therefore commercial. The cool things are not open like in some other big cities, here they are hidden and you really have to look for them. Speaking about fashion, the interest here is something totally different, there are no rules of how you should be dressed. Anyone can walk around as they want in Berlin, someone really cool can look really ordinary.

So, Berlin is very cool if you are young, enjoy music and want to spend time discovering the city, but it’s actually not as cool if you talk about commerce and success. It’s a rough business area and very disconnected from all the big industries. People who want to be commercially successful have to bring in their clients from other cities or other countries.

Has the new “digital format” of fashion brought a lot of change to your work?
I felt this change already a long time ago. The budgets for photo shoots started to become smaller, people got fired and magazines had to close down. There was this recession in the industry, but in the same time I had friends who started to work with websites and became very successful. I was living in Moscow at that moment, and Russia was still emerging big time, so the impact of it wasn’t that big over there. Fashion was something really highly rated and fashion magazines were young. For sure the change in the industry has been huge, and even though there is still traditional art direction in advertising and for certain large fashion companies, but overall I can say that these digital changes have led me to get more and more smaller jobs and different types of jobs. I work with small designers on everything from website design, logos and business cards to creative consulting and look books. Recently I also worked on an online magazine where the news are generated by the users’ browsing behavior, and the design and images are automatically chosen by your computer and not picked by an art director or photo editor.

Your work takes you over country borders and to diverse markets. Where do you see the most interesting tendencies at the moment? Where do you turn for inspiration?
I believe that London will always have a big say in fashion and the creation of it. The UK has a strong media culture and London is on top of things, it’s a city where the creativity gets created. On the other hand, I was just speaking to Saigon a couple of hours ago. They are building a large publishing house over there and are launching several luxury titles, so even if it’s something I’ve never thought about, maybe the new magazine design will come from there. I have requests coming from Indian Vogue and friends of mine are working with Vogue Ukraine, it’s definitely a part of the market that is moving, but in the end I want to stay and work from Berlin. I always keep a foot in London and Moscow because I still have a lot of work there but I hope Berlin will develop into a bigger thing again!

Interview by Lisa Olsson Hjerpe – Images by Luca Campri 
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4 Questions To – Sebastiano Mauri

4 Questions To – Sebastiano Mauri

We met Sebastiano Mauri, the Italo-Argentinian versatile and charismatic visual artist, graduated in cinema, who faced less than 1 year ago the literature world issuing his first brilliant and acclaimed book “Goditi il problema” (Enjoy the problem), Rizzoli, 2012. Sebastiano opened the door of his eclectic house to the photographer Paul Barbera‘s photo-documentary project “Where They Create”, telling us about his personal and unique life.

You are a visual artist, but also a writer, and you worked in cinema too, how do you manage all these different roles together?
It depends. Sometimes I dive into a specific project and there’s no room for anything else, it’ll all have to wait. Other times, probably far from any deadline, I manage to work, let’s say, on my screenplay for a couple of hours, structuring, jolting down dialogues, then I might dive into one of my altars, and get lost in painfully slow processes such as composing mosaics or creating flower arrangements made of hundreds of tiny roses, and finally write a few pages of my new novel.

As much as I can, I try not to loose touch with any of these activities, so that I keep alert that part of the brain and/or body. But then reality kicks in, and this productive sounding, eclectic schedule is swept away by being unable to stop applying tiny lilacs to Ganesh’s temple, walking the dog who’d do anything not to return home, or answering emails about matters you thought resolved a year ago. Basically you end managing it day by day, the best you can, hoping nobody will realize you don’t have a master plan.

I’ve noticed that most of your previous interviews dealt with the countries you are more attached to and your multicultural education, along with your interest in spirituality. Is your creativity related to any special places? What’s the role of religion in your works and in contemporary cultures?

I have lived extensively between New York, Milan and Buenos Aires, different languages, very different realities, very far geographically. I wouldn’t say that my creativity relates more to one place than the other, I’d rather think that it is stimulated by the juxtaposition of differences. Change per se is a great tool to put things into perspective, reconsider your habits and even beliefs. Movement, doubt and fluidity have become the greatest influence on my work.

In the past four or so years, religion has been the main subject of my research. I look for similarities between the different credos, a common space where we’re all welcome, and that does not invite judgement, conflict or exclusion. Still today, religion can offer a great deal of comfort in the form of psychological support, social interaction with like-minded people, stress releasing mantra practices, recurring rituals that break our habits, making us concentrate for a moment on something that isn’t our daily schedule, something that might be greater than us. The goal is, like with everything else, to take what is good, positive, life enriching of this experience, and leave out all that separates us, that makes us feel different from one another, that brings judgement and cultural isolation. My (good) God against your (bad) God, the Geroge W. Bush view of the world. Religion can be the opium of the people, but it can also be a caress, a held hand, a shoulder to cry onto, an ear to talk to. Not something to look down onto.

Do you think that human beings still need amulets or icons to believe, or do faith and firm belief stand alone?
In the age of digital reproduction of images and globalized production of goods, amulets and icons are seen, distributed and sold now more than ever. Faith and firm belief need help from the marketing department like anything else.

Do you think that sexuality can still offer original food for thought and research?
Anything that has to do with our daily lives is always going to be original and nurturing food for thought. Our lives are engaged in a daily duel between habit and innovation: our reading of them is forced to constantly adapt. It will never arrive a final word on human nature.

I’d say that the telling of hidden details, as far as I am concerned, has to do with the attempt to share thoughts and facts that one is naturally (and unhealthily I might add) drawn to keep to oneself. I have found that if you dare open up to others, most probably that’s exactly what they will do with you. A liberating act.

Monica Lombardi – Images Paul Barbera

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4 Questions To – Andrea Pompilio

4 Questions To – Andrea Pompilio

We met Andrea Pompilio, the forward-looking fashion designer who – after having worked for Prada, YSL and Calvin Klein – founded his new independent line called “A”. We asked four well-chosen questions to this one of the most creative talents of the Italian fashion panorama, who is able to mix traditional textiles, style and tailoring along with “crazy” colours and shapes.

With an open and friendly chat, we entered the vibrant world of Pompilio, which came forward first during the designer’s childhood: “When I was very very young my grandmother had a couple of boutiques in Pesaro and I used to spend most of my time there, playing among clothes and fabrics with my cousins. I loved that, and since I was 8 years old it was clear for me that I wanted to be a fashion designer”.

Interview Monica Lombardi – Video Renzo O. Angelillo

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