Boaz Cohen and Sayaka Yamamoto // BCXSY talk to Yatzer

published in: Design, Interviews By Marcia Argyriades, 24 October 2011

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Boaz Cohen and Sayaka Yamamoto, photo © Daniel Tchetchik

We’re very happy to feature an exclusive interview with Boaz Cohen and Sayaka Yamamoto from the BCXSY Studio on Yatzer. Although many of you have already viewed some of their work on Yatzer, let’s get to know them better!  BCXSY is ''a multi-disciplined experience that creates and develops concepts, identities, products, graphics, interiors and atmospheres and the balanced combination of two unique talents creating one unique narrative as they emphasize on beauty, purity, wit, emotional awareness, personal experience and personal interaction.''  With their qualities, unique design and their hard work, BCXSY have gained a spot at the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum during June 2011 for their Origin part I: Join screens.  No wonder this talented duo was selected as one of the three finalists for the MINI YOUNG DESIGNER AWARD category for the Dutch Design Awards!

Origin part I: Join, photo © BCXSY

Origin part I: Join, photo © BCXSY

Origin part I: Join, photo © BCXSY

process 'Origin part I: Join', photo © Hiromi Yokoi

However, before I move on to the interview I would like to show you what this dynamic duo has prepared; a project which we are showcasing at Yatzer for the first time 'Copy Nature, Metal + 1.’  The project will make its worldwide debut during DDW 2011 (22 -30 October 2011) - a Beeldenstorm Foundry initiative in Eindhoven, in collaboration with Onomatopee.  'Copy Nature, Metal + 1’ is a conceptual project which focuses on the evolution of the nail (fastener), and the progress it has made throughout history.  The nail was once hand-crafted, today it’s just mass-produced lacking value; with this project, BCXSY go back to the traditional, ‘primitive’ techniques and the romanticism found in the process itself.  The end-result was creating the nail through sand-casting bronze, to be precise BCXSY made the bronze themselves as they needed a more durable type of bronze (phosphor bronze), and started exploring different shapes, which allow for various ways of connection, not possible when using 'common' nails.  The nails were hand-cast and individually cleaned and polished until they reached the desired form and finish. As you can understand, this is a very arduous, time-consuming process but it was worth every single second as they gave ‘looks,’ design and a new form to this common object, thus enhancing the beauty of the construction process and unveiling what has up until today not been revealed.

Making of 'Copy Nature, Metal + 1' , photo © BCXSY

BCXSY re-examine and re-evaluate that which already ‘exists’ and develop their ideas through their skilled craftsmanship.  So if you’re thrilled with them as much as we are, grab your coffee mug and enjoy the interview to find out more about their poetic visual language and the romanticism found in their designs.

Do you design your projects based on current trends?
To be honest we're not even exactly sure what you mean by 'current trends' - but in any case, we think that our designs are very personal. Though we often research as part of our design process, this is hardly ever based on contemporary movements - we are much more often drawn to the past and to traditions, though we are also very open to new developments and keep our minds and senses alert with regards to our surroundings and the world around us. Our projects are therefore most likely a reflection of our interpretation of those aspects, but then again, not directly influenced by them.. (hope it's not too confusing :)

Pavo, photo © BCXSY

Pavo, photo © BCXSY

Where do you seek inspiration? Is the web (design sources) a source of inspiration for your exceedingly creative projects?
Actually we don't seek inspiration so often. It might sound like a cliché, but we believe that inspiration is all around us and it's a matter of awareness and the willingness to perceive it which makes it effective. We do like to trigger our senses in different ways, so we provide ourselves various stimulations, through travels, reading and exposing ourselves to new (and old) things. Often after choosing a direction or a subject for a project, we try to go deeper and look for relative material. This is often done on the web, yet we don't often look at design. We feel like we 'have enough' of our own field, so we are much more interested in seeing other creative fields, such as art, fashion and architecture. People and nature are two other things which often affect our design process and interaction with them can be very inspiring.

How would you describe your work?
As already mentioned in our first answer, we see our work as very personal. Of course that doesn't mean that we think it's only suitable for us, but we do believe that getting involved as much as possible (also emotionally) leads to better/more interesting results, rather than just following some formulas and sets of fixed rules.  Most of our work has a story behind it, but we always aim to produce work which can stand on it's own and doesn't require a whole manual just to understand it, also when not in use.. We always have a reason for whatever choices we make, and don't just add something to our designs 'just because'. We think that this is something which at the end of the day can be recognized by the viewers and make the work more complete as a whole.

Pavo, photo © BCXSY

Pavo, photo © BCXSY

I would like to take you many years back…back to your childhood.  When you were young children, did you want to become designers?
Not really. We were both however, more or less the creative types - we liked making things and seeing how things work. 'Design' as a study/profession was something which we discovered at a quite late stage..

Partners in design; partners in life as well?
Yes - actually firstly partners in life, the partners in design part followed about half a year later..

What are your future plans?
Generally speaking, we would like to continue doing what we have been doing so far. For quite a few years now our main priority has been to follow what we believe in and do projects which we find important. This often meant that everything we earned (and more than that) was directly being invested in our work again. Luckily, recently we seem to have finally got our heads above water, so we can now see some progress. Our work is being more and more recognized and slowly it is becoming easier to initiate new projects, as we are also being asked and commissioned for new work.  Currently we're working on a couple of exhibition designs, curating an exhibition and planning a few new projects for the coming half year.

Copy Nature, photo © Raw Color

What is the best moment in your day?
Hard to say - our days are not very regular, so it's not that there's a specific permanent moment which we could describe as the 'best'. But luckily there are many good moments - we enjoy what we're doing so it gives us lots of satisfaction. It's nice to see the development of thoughts and ideas into reality.

Where do you work on your designs and projects?
In the past few years we've been doing more and more on-location projects, but as long as we're in Eindhoven we work mostly at our working-room at home, where we do the 'clean' computer work and communication, and all the rest is done either at our workshop, or at some other locations - in Eindhoven there are a couple of great workshops where designers (and artists) can work with various printing techniques, metal casting and plastics.

Do you feel the need to discuss your work/projects with other designers?
Not really. We feel like we can manage this part well enough between ourselves. Sometimes, however, we receive feedback/comments (though not necessarily from designers), and we always try to listen, as it's always possible to learn something.

The making of 'Origin part II: Balance', photo © Elio Nudelman

Origin part II: Balance, photo © BCXSY

The making of 'Origin part II: Balance', photo © Elio Nudelman

To this date, which project has been the most satisfying and why?
This is very hard to say. We like most of our work and looking at the progress and its development in the course of time is one of the most satisfying things for us. If we really have to choose something, it would probably be the Origin projects, which we started last year with part I - the Join screens which we did in Japan, and continues this year with the Balance rugs which we did in Israel. We feel that the Origin projects allow us to be very much involved in our work and give it the time it requires. We also like the part of collaboration and interaction with people who are specialized in a certain technique - having the chance to spend time with them, talk to them and see their surroundings is having a significant influence on the end results.

Would you like to describe the evolution in your work, from your very first projects to the present day?
Since the beginning of our work we feel like we have become more focused on what we are doing. Our first two collections were very experimental and consisted of many smaller projects - something which we enjoyed as well, but we had the feeling that often too many things were happening at the same time and sometimes instead of working out a project up to a level which we would have liked to, we had to make some compromises in order to have the whole collection ready on time. Therefore from our 3rd collection onwards (the CHANGE! collection - which was also featured on Yatzer ;) we have decided to focus each time on one project. We personally can definitely see how this has had a very positive effect on our work and led us to creating works which are stronger and more complete.

Coiled: Lamp, handmade by Beauty Ndlovu, photo © Hironori Tsukue

photo © BCXSY

Coiled: Medium vase, handmade by Princess Ngonephi Ngcobo, photo © Hironori Tsukue

Who would you like to design something for, and why?
Hmm.. Tough question.. We would be interested in collaborating with some of our favorite fashion brands/designers: Comme des Garçons, Vivienne Westwood or bags makers Goyard. In general we like commissioned work, as it mostly offers us more freedom and allows us to create works which have a specific bond and relation to those who ask us to do it.

I really like the way you look….is there any particular clothing that you avoid wearing?:-)
Well, the portraits were something we started with already with our first collection - when it was firstly done we didn't really plan much for the future, but we really liked it, so it became something we continue with for every collection we release in Milan (so far 5 portraits). The costumes and settings refer to the theme of the collection, so they're different every time. Since we see our work as something personal, we like to show our faces in the same context, however it's always an extra which we find a bit more light and humorous as well.. We can't think of anything we'd avoid wearing/doing, as long as it suits the rest.

PLAY!, Swing Lamp, photo © BCXSY

PLAY!, photo © Herman Mertens

Origamaster Shades, photo © Gavin Fernandes

Is there any particular architect/designer/artist who you really appreciate and look up to? (Past and present)
We appreciate many creators we come across, so just a couple of names which popped into our minds at the moment are Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor.

What is the atmosphere and the concept of your personal space (your house or apartment) like? Are there any designer pieces?
We try to create some separation between our work and living environment, so luckily we have a separate workshop for the 'dirty' work and a 'studio' room in our house where we do the computer work and communication. Even though we literally work at almost any given moment of the day, we aim to have a bit of a physical barrier to allow us to take a (mental) rest from our work sometimes. So some spaces in our house have no evidence of our work (living-room, kitchen, sleeping room and garden). Almost all of our furniture and interior accessories came from 2nd hand shops, which we like a lot - if we had more money we would have probably added some new pieces to our surroundings, but still, we would most likely keep the used objects too. The quality and beauty of such found objects can be often much higher than new items bought in cheap home-centers. Just as we aim to have a soul and more layers in our own work, we like finding it in the objects which surround us. 

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BCXSY will be showcasing their work during DDW 2011 October 22 – October 30, 2011. And a little update on their future plans; they have curated and designed one of the two main exhibitions for the Lodz Design Festival, which will start on the 20th of October, and also in early 2012 they plan to do a collaboration project in Cobh, Ireland, although they can't say much about it yet...stay tuned!

CHANGE!, photo © Jakob Hohmann

FOREVER! photo © Sheri Avraham

FOREVER! photo © Sheri Avraham

sources:

BCXSY

  • friend
    Sinara Aguiar | 2011-11-03 03:39:07

    A sensibilidade vai além do olhar ou sentir, vem das entranhas atéves dos poros. Belíssimo. Sinara Aguiar

  • friend
    Alex Cavity | 2012-03-28 11:06:06

    I can feel myself slowly become a fan of their work. Much of their designs are varied, and they seem to be able to excel at making quirky furniture or pieces of art. Its no wonder why they are allowed to be a permanent fixture at a museum. I think it is also important that they recognise the cultural value of some of their designs, and the eco-awareness behind the materials they use.

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