Marketing, art or design? Crafting deep experiences with 1kg studio
In between the digital and the tactile, the permanent and the temporary, 1kg studio is triggering all our senses by creating experiences that explore new boundaries
From online experiences to spatial installations, 1kg studio is adding a valued layer to the creative world. They deliver timeless weight for a fast-paced interconnected generation, by merging boundaries between creativity, communication strategies and product activations.
Based between Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris, 1kg focuses on the synergy between people and multidisciplinary brand culture and triggers all our senses by creating intriguing and lasting experiences. They have an active international reach with a client list that includes Ikea, Nike, Porsche, l’Oréal, LinkedIn, Freitag and Vans.
How did the journey for 1kg begin?
“1kg studio started in 2015 when we – Oliver, Johannes and Arthur – met in Berlin and realized that when we combined our expertise something special arised: we each have different backgrounds and have worked for a variety of brands from the creative industry such as Y-3, Kinfolk Magazine, Freunde von Freunden, Viktor & Rolf and Trendblet by Lidewij Edelkoort.
Art, architecture, fashion and design remain the key pillars of what we do on a day-to-day basis. We have now grown to a core team of 5 that expands to a large satellite network of creatives whom we work with closely.”
Why 1kg studio? Why focus on creative direction, online experiences and spatial installations?
“We’re trying to create a complete universe around 1kg, both in the digital and the physical spaces. The very name ‘1kg’ refers to adding weight to a world, which is becoming faster and more fluid.
Our ultimate goal is always to open the eyes of whoever is looking, whether it is the client, a friend or a random passer-by. How can we trigger all senses? How can we surprise people? How can we create a layered, lasting experience?”
You recently celebrated the opening of your studios in Berlin, Amsterdam & Paris. What is a day like in the 1kg studio? Can you describe the general process of your creations?
“Berlin was our first location and Amsterdam and Paris opened last year which were major steps. Every day is quite different due to our internal projects which mix in with client-based work.
When we kick-off projects they are at first heavily research-based. We discuss & evaluate, dive into the client and its industry, set up a team, gather reference & inspiration material and distil all of that to a holistic concept that’s less about design and more about the full experience.
Whether the focus is online or offline, we like to produce in-house as much as possible, to ensure the quality of every little detail: from technical drawings for online spaces to the assembly of installations as well as coding, AR & VR.”
[ Read also The immersive soundscapes of Chris Cheung ]
Your studio focuses on the synergy between people and multidisciplinary brand culture. Which are the main values, core concepts or style inclinations that, above all, will always represent 1kg and its projects?
“We always see 1kg as a blank canvas: black & white and very minimalistic. This simple, balanced identity really forms the foundation of everything we do – we can add layers on top of this base and grow from that in many directions. Depending on the project or client, we can either stay within this minimalist identity – such as for Nike, Freitag and Porsche or apply a more crafty, rustic look for a brand like Vans.
What all projects have in common is the authenticity of things, whether it is a virtual activation, physical installation, food concepts or artist collaboration: we want things to function the way they are supposed to and stay true to themselves.”
You recently conceptualized a bike cinema experience for FREITAG. Can you tell us how the project came to be? What are the biggest challenges and struggles you faced?
“Especially considering current circumstances, we believe that brands need to revolutionize their retail spaces and make these outlets a contemporary space for creativity and innovation where visitors can immerse themselves in the brand’s aesthetic.
FREITAG commissioned us to transform one of the floors in their Amsterdam store into an experience for new customers to get acquainted with the brand, taking the city as well as Freitag’s strong bicycle heritage as inspiration.”
We conceptualized a bike cinema, which touches upon different senses: sound, touch and vision. The installation is fully operated by pedal power and only by pedalling the FREITAG documentaries start to appear on the screen – resulting in a fun and active customer interaction.
The challenge was to seamlessly integrate the hardware and software in order to create a real immersive moment for the visiting customers. We designed a bespoke aluminum bike frame that holds three recycled bicycles that each drive a dynamo.
The installation is connected to sensors, battery management systems, and custom software that converts the energy created by the rider and powers a 360 sensory experience.”
Some of your clients include Nike, l’Oreal, IKEA and Porsche. If you could give one piece of advice, what is the key to a successful design project?
“In our eyes, the key to a successful design project is a certain energy and creating a level of trust: in this way all parties involved are able to achieve the best results possible. A ‘can do’ attitude mixed with a true understanding of each other is for us essential in pushing boundaries and exploring new territory.
As 1kg studio, we try to explore ways of showing others more than they are able to see in the first place and create a new vision, something totally unexpected.”
Unlimited budget, unlimited resources: what is the project that you would develop?
“This is a hard question since there are many dream projects we can think of! Seeing the current state of the world, one thing is very clear to us and that is that everything needs to have a sustainable angle.
Whether it’s a production, an art installation, a workshop: for us, the most important thing is that we create something stunning that doesn’t form another problem when the activation is over. It should rather solve a problem. If we can use recycled material or recycle our concepts we see it as a huge win.”
What is the next step for 1kg?
“2021 will be quite an exciting year as 1kg is becoming more and more a platform where many things can live next to each other: we’re working on interior design, a photography project in Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris and 1kg studio owned products to strengthen our universe.
For our client-based projects, this year will be all about the changing consumer journey to seamlessly connect the online and the offline: we’re trying to combine the magic of physical experiences with the advantages of the digital world.”
[ Read also Spaces that tell a story – Interview with Jotta Studio ]