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The VCFA MFA in Graphic Design Program Blog

Studio Hammer awarded the 2022 Swiss Design Award for Identity Design

June 23, 2022

VCFA Faculty David Schatz and Co-Chair Sereina Rothenberger’s Studio Hammer was awarded the 2022 Swiss Design Award in Identity Design for Gessnerallee Theatre.

Jury Report:
The Visual Identity created for the Gessnerallee theatre by Studio Hammer charmed and impressed the jury with its fresh, innovative character and its relevance. The Various elements for the identity – the venue, the collective, the conscious choice of media and the way they get distributed, the graphic elements, including the dynamic and ever-changing mascot that takes the role of a logo – have been put together and set to work with intelligence, skill and a lot of authenticity.

Gessnerallee Theatre Identity:

Since 2020, the performing arts venue has been run by three women who encourage interdisciplinary projects that question traditional modes of production. The team organizes itself in collective structures. For this reason, we found a classic corporate identity to be unsuitable. We were looking for a flexible element that would fit the performative nature of theatre.

A mascot is able to interact with different subjects. It can appear on stage and in print, animation and movies. Unlike a logo, it cannot be defined in a corporate manual. Our octopus has three hearts and nine arms with independent neurological features – an ideal representation of a collective.

To promote the programme, we produce five short films a year. If a cultural institution is committed to striving for the greatest possible diversity, this should also be reflected in its communication. Therefore, each film is produced with actors from the theatre itself as well as “performers” from outside the cultural bubble. Within one day, all participants improvise together on set and collaboratively decide how the video is produced. To build a bridge from the theatre stage to the madness of everyday life, the filmed footage is complimented by found footage from YouTube.

The posters pick up the current themes of the venue. Each one shows a combination of a photo from the press or pop culture and the octopus, which disrupts the visual world as a parasite.

View the project here.

Swiss Design Competition:
All Swiss designers and designers working in Switzerland can take part in the Swiss Design Competition. The jury consists of the seven members of the Federal Design Commission and invited experts. In a first step, the jury looks at the dossiers submitted to the competition and makes a selection for the second round, held at the exhibition in Basel about two weeks before the opening. There, the exhibited projects are judged, and the 17 Swiss Design Prizes are awarded. The prize money is CHF 25’000 per award.

Swiss Design Awards Exhibition:
The Swiss Design Awards exhibition takes place in parallel with Art Basel and Design Miami/Basel and attracts around 12’000 visitors every year. On display are around 50 projects by the finalists of the Swiss Design Awards. Since 2018, works by the winners of the Swiss Grand Award for Design have also been displayed. (Further information on the Swiss Grand Award for Design can be found on the website).

The exhibition is the most important annual meeting place for the Swiss design scene. In an international context, the Federal Office of Culture showcases all aspects of contemporary Swiss design. To stimulate discourse, the projects are not only awarded prizes and presented to a broad audience, but also placed in a wider context with a rich supporting programme.

Studio Hammer:
Geessnerallee Theatre: