S P A C E started out as a reaction to the mainstream media’s castings of peoples and places that are ‘exotic’ as something ‘other’, to be exalted or observed rather than commingled with.
Maybe it’s colonization that got us perturbed, or the high school British Literature and American Literature course syllabi that were insisted up on us as ‘literature’ without the global context of so, so very much more that can round out one’s perspectives, and challenge one’s beliefs. That, to me, is real travel.
More room for dialogue, more scope for relating, more opportunity for discovering Self in Other… that’s what I wanted to set out to explore and co-create and then record in weekly e-mag format, in this collected series. In the end, or at least, one chapter’s end, it was to spend a great chunk of time uninterrupted in Vietnam (pandemic) in order to find… Solitude.
The series has been going since 2017 and began in Cambodia with the first sequence, ‘A Philosophy of the Moment.’ Here are some of the other collections, made in popup ateliers in the places where we’ve been, looking for the real and the now. In other words, true stories.
The people who tell their stories to us, directly. In the way they speak. After a period of time in which to build trust, and establish rapport. Not everyone is open to it. But a few are. And when I find them, that’s where we do the Atelier S P A C E jam. To make the zine, and our own, co-created and highly curated arrangements, of S P A C E.
A Philosophy of the Moment, Winter 2018 Finland, Cambodia
The Book of New Things, Spring 2019 Vietnam and Japan
In the Vernacular, Summer 2019 Latvia, Slovakia and Poland
Trust the Process, Autumn 2019 Malaysia and Vietnam
Vertices are points where particles collide and interact.
What is a vertex?
Quoting here from Wikipedia. On Vertex: ‘(Latin: peak; plural vertices or vertexes) means the “top”, or the highest geometric point of something, usually a curved surface or line, or a point where any two geometric sides or edges meet regardless of elevation; as opposed to an apex which is frequently a highest angular point such as possessed by a triangle, pyramid, or cone.’
This week is an exciting one for us here at DK. Not only are the beginnings starting to finally begin, regarding the inventions for another year of waiting for things to come to a place of, well, ‘normal’ is the wrong word, but perhaps ‘familiar’ works…. familiarity.
Steer your course into the future knowing what it is that matters.
Forget what ‘they’ say. SELF is for helping you discover and listen to you. You don’t need anyone else to spell it out, but here it is: no one is going to regret it more if you don’t do the work than you. Did you read that article that went viral, a while ago? ‘Top 5 Regrets of the Dying’? >
DK’s next online workshop is SELF. The unique reflection workshop SELF will give you a chance to discover your way to fresh, revealing insights. On you: the inner motivations that are moving you towards your goals, your dreams, and your heart’s desires.
WHO SHOULD JOIN. If you are questioning the goals and methods that you have or are using, then SELF s ideal for you to re-evaluate and confirm your personal values are aligned with what you are doing and making at work.
If you are in a period of limbo,
If you are in transition,
If you have just come out of something or are about to head into a new phase, SELF is a good course for you.
If you have been through some difficulty or a change,
Or something has pushed you to question your own goals, vision, mission and values, then SELF is an excellent tool.
SCHEDULE. Posts will be sent weekly. Each week’s is designed to be complete-able within 20 minutes. These are sequenced to help you discover with clarity the pop that makes you very much you, and only you. You will be invited to share also in selected pages of our concurrent conversations going on in very small circles in Design Kompany’s protected-page forums.
WHEN. The virtual course will begin on DECEMBER 15. A Welcome Packet and Syllabus will arrive to you when you confirm your spot by registering here. Thanks!
SPECIAL FEE WAIVER FOR ATELIER S P A C E MEMBERS. It’s free for members of Atelier S P A C E, but if you are not a member, you can register through this link.
What people are saying
HERE ARE A FEW testimonials from guests of THE COJOURNAL PROJECT (2014-2015), SELF (2014-2016) and THE MIRROR (2018-2020)
My writerly friends (those who do so publicly and privately), I’ve been participating in Dipika Kohli’s CoJournal project since just before the new year (2014). It’s a unique project and it’s pretty special. If you’ve been looking for some structure or accountability in your writing – and supportive community in very small groups, this could be for you. Dipika is a compassionate leader and offers some accessible assignments that are helping to shift my writing lens. I love it.”—MH, 2014
“I am writing because I wanted to thank you all for sharing ideas and memoirs, I am very much impressed and really enjoyed the workshop [SELF]. I’ve been working on my writing, and finished one short story which I feel so happy after I finished writing it (it’s in Thai.) I’m working on its English version pretty soon and will send to you all for the feedback. Bottom line is I’m happy to let you know that I’ve somehow overcome my fear of writing, though there’re times when I got stuck with the stories, get distracted, or feel like it’s not good enough – if it was before, I was just going to give up. Now, I feel it challenged me and I find writing more enjoyable. Most importantly, I feel like my writing is getting better too.” –JL, Guest at ‘SELF’, 2014
“I love the space you are creating and holding around the world for deep thought and unusual connection.” —KA, 2017
“Thank you for the opportunity.’ –F, 2018
“Wow, did I enjoy the conversations. So much learning and fresh insights from strangers, old and new friends. If you think you can use some ‘seeing anew’—gaining new perspectives, noticing new sights, becoming aware your blind spots, this might be just what you need.” —AM, 2018
“Warmly recommend it.”–SG,2014
“[This] motivated me more to do what I wanna really do and kick some a**… Thank you, Dipika! —JH, 2016
I don’t know. It’s a long shot. But sometimes, remarkably, I actually do meet people through Eventbrite invites on the internet. One out of a hundred people I cross paths with are ‘my’ people. I think… I think I’m back ‘on’ with making invitations to this kind of maybe-you-can-just-show-up-and-meet-me jazz. Like ‘N‘. But… simpler. Way.
HT T. Thanks for that conversation, yesterday. Maybe see you at this?
After about seven years of not doing any graphic design work-for-hire, something changed.
Someone asked me to make a thing.
I started it, and as I went, I realized, it’s time to bring this service back and offer it again, to those who might run across this site and say, ‘I like that! I want to hire these people. Who are these people, anyway? And what is S P A C E?’
Glad you asked.
We are a team of people who collaborate in the cloud: Dipika Kohli is the creative director. Akira Morita is a cofounder working on design thinking and innovation consulting. Jas Plac does our outreach and communications. And A. Spaice does research & development. These days we make a weekly e-mag, called S P A C E. it’s about design and discovery.
The people we meet in the places where we go (mostly Southeast Asia and Northern Europe, since 2014), share stories, sometimes, and when they get to a place where they feel like they’re becoming something substantial, we shape these into ‘zines.’
They’re 16 pages, each, designed to be read in a single sitting, say over coffee. At times, we make black & white issues so they’re easy on printers, so you can download, print, fold and assemble your own, by adding your own creative flair.
Got into a bit of a discussion about this with someone yesterday who is 24.
This person was highlighting to me his past work, in something that I didn’t find too terribly intriguing but he really wanted to impress me, I guess, so we watched some clips of things that he had produced. I suppose he is an event producer, but not trained or anything, just self-designed. That’s fine, of course. I’m self-designed in design, having studied civil engineering and worked in architecture and journalism. But design is something people just ask me to do.
For example, a friend from that era, VH had asked me to make a senior t-shirt, when we were in high school, because she liked my drawings and comics, and no one else was putting forward an idea, and I was the Vice President of the Student Government at that time, so we put out a call, I think? And I don’t think anyone entered. So I made it. I don’t even know what it looks like now, thinking back, but V. had liked it and was happy. I had done t-shirts for Governor’s School East for my hall, too, and before that a lot of things like program covers and posters through elementary and middle school that had won prizes and stuff, so. I guess. That it was… destiny, haha. Or just… a knack for it. And lots of attentiveness to continuing to do it, not get sidetracked by other things, just doing the drawings when I felt like it. Helped that this was in an era where we didn’t have internet. Nice thinking about the senior t-shirt design, again. That was fun. I was 17.
Depth. I was talking about yesterday’s conversation and somehow got distracted thinking about being 17. It’s kind of related, though, right? I mean, you get good when you practice, but you have to have some kind of latent talent to start getting good, too. And encouragement. Fact. In my case yesterday, I think skipping over ‘talent’ and ‘practice’ and ‘encouragement’ was taken for granted by this young person who saw $$$ ‘I got paid for this’ $$$ as an indication of its having had value.
Not to me.
The thing I saw was just… well. Lacking in substance.
Happens. And more and more these days, when we have substitutes for real life in the form of video streams and chatboxes. What happened? Well, that’s out of scope, here.
My thing is, let’s bring some of the good stuff. Let’s open the doors here at DK again, and show people how they can arrive at… quality. I know how to do this. Why not share. Selectively, of course. Not for everyone.
I have a particular way of deciding if I will care about a project, which has everything to do with the attitude of the person asking me to work with him or her or them. Truth is, if I don’t see much thought in something, I have no interest whatsoever.
Most people I meet on the road I will know for less than three hours. I meet a hell of a lot of people, on the road. Yesterday, I just listened politely, but then, something happened.
Weirdly, it just did…
Sometimes this does this. I went into speechmaking mode.
Perhaps because we had a third guest, join us in the middle. Who. Was. Really. Attentive, and who had gone through my samples of drawings, and poetry and other stuff that I felt like sharing, with great admiration and accolades. Okay, it was flattering, but yeah, he really was curious about me, my work… my thinking. What I’ve been up to here in Vietnam. I have some stuff now that has Vietnamese language translations, too. So you can tell, if you’re the kind of person who can tell, that is.
Maybe there’s not one particular type; but there are a few people… one out of a hundred?, who resonate with DK’s style.
D: The other day, someone asked, What’s your TEDx talk about? I said ‘Death.’ Then he said, ‘Ooh!… Edgy.’ But it was 8 years ago
A: You are. DK is edgy
D: Well, once someone in Seattle said I was popular
A: You are not popular. You are edgy
D: How is this ‘edgy’! I don’t even a phone and I type on zoom chat to you and use email
For S P A C E this week, we feature a lead story called, ‘Run, Eliza.’ It was written by A. Spaice. In this issue, we illustrate it with fresh, new graphic art updates that mix from our archived images; both the original photographs and the graphic updates are by DK’ creative director, Dipika Kohli.
It’s part of a series, ‘Uncertainty.’ It’s available for members of S P A C E, only.
So far, three issues have been published in our zine series on ‘Uncertainty’. They are:
S P C | London, ‘A Walk in Regent’s Park’
S P C | Copenhagen, ‘Nearness’
And this week’s.
Science fiction. Says DK: ‘This series is turning into quite a jaunt into the perpendicular spaces that veer upwards against asymptotes, impossibly, and if you like the way this sentence is going, then you will like this week’s S P C.
‘Relational art and unexpected writing, combining now, in a fresh collection. Super nerdy. Which. Is. The. Fun part.’
Download your copy, and at the same time set up your weekly subscription, here.
I want to share an early brand identity design project from our archives, this one’s from 2010.
A brand identity design project that began like this. A query came in by email. From Seattle. We had already moved to the East Coast, but barely, and this blog was optimized at the time for search for Seattle branding. This was swell before everyone in the universe had a blog or microblog, and way, wayyyy before instagram. I think MySpace was going on, back then. So if you were in Seattle or nearabouts, and seeking designers who specialized in branding, then, yeah. We popped up.
Taking the call in Durham NC, we got to talking about it. The identity, the feeling, the vibe. The concept. I park for a while on Concept, when I’m leading a project, and this one was me on the creative lead, for sure. Because of stylistics: the image, the emotion, all of that, pointed to the aesthetic of a past version of DK. One that liked to play with… paint.
I did this. I played around with paint. Brushstrokes, lettering. It was good.
Design and identity design
So what happened was that I got to the studio, of ours, in Durham, and we set thing sup a little differently. Instead of using the computers so much, we started cutting papers, collaging, I even tried a quilling technique, to see what might emerge. Play. Again, play. I see that now in all our past works.
In the end, I lettered the name of the cafe with a thick brush, going out of my usual style of using a pen, or line art, or vectors. The feeling that the cafe was going for, and this was well before it was starting, I think it was under construction when we were calling at that time, well yeah.
Anyway, it was not the usual style of DK’s (our usual style is often described as ‘clean, modern.’) It was something else. A different mood. Still, the idea of a design brief is to outline that so well that you can make it work out, even if that means researching and learning more and studying and trying things. We love trying things. So this was a chance.
I heard that the Row House Cafe has since closed, but it was an interesting challenge, for sure.
It reminds me a little bit of the time we did the brand identity for a new restaurant in Ireland, will have to fish out those files now, too, from the archives…
TODAY WE ARE SHARING the last of the 12-week set of zines in the S P A C E | Winter 2018-19 collection, ‘A Philosophy of the Moment.’ This was created with new and different others in our digital zine project, S P A C E. The last zine in this set is S P A C E | Malmö, ‘Vakt.’
A new series, S P A C E | Spring 2019, ‘The Book of New things,’ is set to begin on 5 March. This is thanks to crowdfunding support. No ads. 100% member-supported. No endorsements, no BS. Learn more about S P A C E and how to subscribe, as well as see our schedule of upcoming issues to be co-created in S P A C E through June, at our crowdfunding page, here.
S P A C E | Malmö, ‘Vakt’
‘Trust the process’
Special thanks to Joji Minatogawa, a very creative person and an architect. I just added him to our contact page under ‘mentors,’ after clearing it first with him over the phone. I really am glad we can still call around the world and see what people are up to, and let them know that we are still here, still curious, still interested, and very much appreciative of the old conversations that went places. Because now, together, here we are. Some of us are still at it: asking the big questions. Questing one another, and the ideas that might come out for a very special, very quiet, very intimate sort of dance. Now, learning to quietly add the right bits and take out the wrong ones, until further getting that good stuff, the good stuff that’s left. Refinement. I am noticing, reading, listening, and still curious. Thanks for the conversations so far. It’s getting really good, now.
‘Design is making meaning. Art is making connexion:’ A. Spaice
Feature photo: ‘Internet I Hate You’ popup installation by Dipika Kohli, at Noir Kaffekultur in Malmoe, November 2015