11 May 2017
Offshore Studio is a Zurich-based design studio, founded in 2015 by Isabel Seiffert and Christoph Miler. Seiffert studied Editorial Design at ZHdK, receiving an MA in Communication Design. Her work has been featured widely, including in ZEIT Magazine and Wallpaper*. Miler also holds an MA in Communication Design, and is currently on the design team of Bern University of the Arts. Together at Offshore Studio, their projects focus on editorial design, typography and storytelling. In addition to commissions and collaborations, they investigate critical issues of globalisation, media, and the current state of design in self-initiated projects.
‘Offshoring’ – the relocation of working processes to other cities, countries and continents – is reflected in the studio’s fundamental design practice. A movement offshore suggests an ability to elude closed territories, starting to build connections elsewhere. One of the studio’s key principles, being and thinking offshore illustrates the designers’ aim to explore the remote, unknown and invisible. In doing so, their modes of production inevitably become collaborative and decentralised, probing the accepted boundaries of space, time and profession.
In our interview with Offshore Studio, they describe their intended use of a design practice, and the constructed concept of the ‘new’.
What is the task of design?
Since we met during our studies, both of us have increasingly pushed towards a practice that understands design as a mediator and a tool to communicate critical issues of design and politics. That common approach has led us to form Offshore Studio.
Must design create something new?
For us, being or looking ‘new’ is solely a construct that reflects the struggles of saturated markets and social classes. In a world full of similar products, services and big egos, the ‘new’ too often means creating difference for the sake of distinction and attracting attention — shouting for the sake of being heard, especially if there isn’t anything to say. Therefore, we prefer to approach design from a different direction. For us, it is not about creating something new but about creating value through design that conveys thoughts and emotions. We want to use design as an instrument of communication that mediates and propagates. Visual expressions arise as a result of concepts and content: in this process nothing is new and everything is new at the same time.
Which designers have influenced you?
Herbert Bayer, Alexander Rodtschenko, László Moholy-Nagy, Richard Buckminster Fuller, Ladislav Sutnar, Wolfgang Weingart, Monika Schnell, Metahaven, William S. Burroughs, Kurt Eckert, Sereina Rothenberger (Hammer), Joost Bottema, Claus Due, Irma Boom, Patrick Waterhouse, Alexey Brodovitch, A. M. Cassandre, Hannah Höch, Tomi Ungerer, Matthias Michel, Armin Hoffmann, Paul Laffoley.