Tuesday, March 25, 2008


After returning to New York, Jan Wilker agreed to address the SMS interrogation - clearly largely augmented by someone with a green chip. Jan also sent us some more pics of their trip to Serbia...

With the global trend towards environmental design how do you feel that your ability to experiment will affect your work? 

I don't think environmental design should be described as a trend, more as a global shift; people know that it is a necessity and there to stay. I would say that "environmentally friendly" or "environmentally conscious" design should not exclude experimentation of any kind (Indulgent experimentation in pure form, shape and color, that doesn't seem to directly focus on the "greener environment" should not be stigmatized). Overall, we are a very small studio and we have felt a change in our personal and professional interests; we are more prone to experiment in the "environmental design" direction than when we started out, 7 years ago. We are very curious of what will come out of that.

With the global trend towards environmental design how do you feel that design for designs sake will be affected in your business?

It will affect the design business, and it already does; but again, i don't see anything bad about design for design's sake, as long as it tries to push boundaries. As designers we are highly trained specialists in visual communication (if you had a decent education).

With the global trend towards environmental design how will design experimentation be affected? Whilst designers can change the world for the better they can also contribute a huge amount of waste material.  

Good for you if you think that designers per se can change the world for the better. I would prefer to say that we as people can change the world, no matter if you're a designer, a banker, a butcher or anything else. To the second part of your question: Yes, designers can and do contribute a huge amount of waste material and waste thoughts.

Was the Serbia trip for real? Please tell us more.  

Yes, the Serbia trip was for real. We spent 12 days there and designed one calendar page every single day. The calendar was then printed and given out for free to the people of Serbia. It was all a non-profit project. The welcoming at the airport was only half-serious, though; since what they did was they re-enacted the usual welcoming procedure from the old communist times, the kind that African statesmen and Far East communist leaders would get when they would visit Yugoslavia. They wanted us to get a glimpse of their communist past. Overall, the 12 days in Serbia was something very uncommon for a designer to go through. Needless to say, we loved it. It's still one of our favorite projects of all time.

I take it you didn't get folk dancing or singing kids at the Johannesburg airport?  

Sadly, no. We would have loved to hear some folk tunes and see some dancing–hopefully next time. (Let us know if you ever come to New York, so we can prepare something for you.)

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