Ever since visting Cafe Etienne Marcel in Paris (around 2004), I have been a fan of M/M (Paris). Graphic designers that have worked with Bjork, Balenciaga - illustrating over photographs (c. 2001) before it was cool, graphic & furniture designs for Hotel Thoumieux for the Costes brothers, crossing over into the fashion world for Jil Sander, Stella McCartney to name a few. You get the idea that after 20years, M/M (Paris) are quite amazing in their breadth of work.
They have now produced some of their work as rugs in an exhibition titled Carpetalogue. I went along to see their work & loved their new book M to M of M/M (Paris) which you can take a look through, pop-up shop and the stands for the rugs designed to be four pages of a book, using CMYK colours. Quirky cool, graphically inspiring.
M/M (Paris) Carpetalogue, photo Gallery Libby Sellers
Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak founded M/M in 1992 after meeting at art school in Paris. Since then, they have worked together as graphic designers and art directors mostly in the worlds of fashion (collaborations with designers such as Yohji Yamamoto, Jil Sander, Martine Sitbon, and Calvin Klein), music (Björk, Benjamin Biolay, and Madonna) and art (Centre Georges Pompidou and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, cooperations with artists including Philippe Parreno and Pierre Huyghe).
To mark the launch of M to M of M/M (Paris), a 528-page monograph of the studio's work, Gallery Libby Sellers in London is staging The Carpetalogue, a show of M/M work rendered in wool rugs
The four rugs were created by Abhisek Poddar (who had previously overseen carpet projects with Damien Hirst) in Varanasi in India and, according to the gallery, act as a 'condensed catalogue' of M/M's 20 years producing work for art, fashion and music. They are arranged on specially built wooden structures to mimic the pages of a book, the 'cover' being the image shown top of M/M's Agent character, the inside spread formed by the sketchbook and 'Siren' rugs below and the 'back cover' by the rug shown above, which features an image created originally for the Designers For Japan project to aid tsunami relief.
The book M to M of M/M (Paris) is published this month by Thames & Hudson. Written by Emily King and designed by Graphic Thought Facility, its 528 pages feature over 1,000 images of M/M's work since Michaël Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak formed the studio in 1992 plus interviews with some of M/M's key collaborators including Björk and photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.
'An image never interests us as such. Its relevance lies in the fact that it contains the sum of preceding dialogues, stories, experiences with various interlocutors, and the fact that it induces a questioning of these preexisting values. This it what makes for us a pertinent image. A good image should be in between two others, a previous one and another one to come.'
Pre-publication, devoted M/M fans have been offered a special edition version of the book, A Hundred Bags Full of Surprises. A cloth bag, designed in conjunction with Japanese brand Toshiki and silkscreened with the M/M logo on both sides, contains a copy of the book together with a 'mystery item' from the M/M archives. These items, we are told, include Björk singles, catalogues and show invitations for various fashion houses including Yohji Yamamoto, Balenciaga and Givenchy, T-shirts, books and various other products of the studio. The items come vacuum-packed with a signed and numbered page of the book. They can be bought here.
"Most of our typeface designs take their roots in the Bauhaus rules of construction. While Bauhaus designers were trying to establish an international language by erasing all kinds of subjective 'manual' marks through the use of grids, we are taking this history further...we are breaking the rigid rule of 'form following function' by adding decorative elements..."
The pradalphabet designed by m/m paris, is a collection of 26 letters created for prada. In designing 'pradalphabet', the individual characters were treated as pieces of architecture. each is connected to all the other letters, yet each holds its presence individually.
They have created over 50 different typefaces.
In rendering the logo by hand and appearing to trim the promotional images with scissors, M/M were aiming to temper the vast Calvin Klein corporate machine with a sense of the human scale. The suggestion was that Mr Klein might have picked up the red and blue pens and written his own name.