TAKEN BY SURPRISE Cutting-Edge Collaborations between Designers, Artists and Brands 

Fascinating as they can be, creative collaborations might are also controversial. The brands always look for novelties to breathe a fresh air into the market and wipe out the competition. They wish to astonish current and seduce new customers. So they invite contemporary artists and cutting edge designers to work with them on limited edition products or exclusive events or best on both. Creative approach is what counts and challenges the market. TAKEN BY SURPRISE features numerous examples of products, events or installations, where big and famous brands join forces with artists and designers. The crowd accusing art of becoming commerce is melting (they have probably visited one of art fairs) and these (sometimes quite unusual) collaborations seem to be very profitable. 

TAKEN BY SURPRISE explores creative collaborations in fashion, design, art and advertising. The focus has moved from the product to the experience and customers’ sensations. A couple of examples will illustrate how multidisciplinary the projects are. Evian worked with Issey Miyake or Christian Lacroix on its water bottles design. Absolut Vodka hosts art exhibitions. Smirnoff organizes parties with Madonna. BMW invites Olafur Eliasson to create a car. Terry Richardson teams up with clothing company to create accessory products. Liam Gillick designs geometric in style knitwear for Pringle of Scotland. David Shrigley designs salt and peppershakers for Polite. One of the most unexpected was a design of 7 electric (!) chairs for Kartell by famous American director Robert Wilson. That’s just a short list, many more projects developed from ideas given by the artists and designers have been described in the book. Typically of Gestalten – amazing photos and great design enhance the concept of the publication.

 Great partnerships, where both sides understand each other’s values and work, bring interesting results. The outcome of some meetings between brands and artists/designers can be either startling or bring a product that reflects the style of both sides. In both cases it’s interesting to see how the market desperately wants something unique and different and how it learns to work with the artistic industry. Both, as it seems, cannot function without each other anymore.

Collectively, these examples range between a wide variety of forms, and are the subject of compelling and unique exploration into brand communication as a creative playground for experimentation within the commercial world. All blur borders, whether they find themselves at the intersection between “high” and “low” culture, or at the place between the brand’s capabilities and consumers’ lives.

TAKEN BY SURPRISE. Cutting-Edge Collaborations between Designers, Artists and Brands, Gestalten


All images courtesy of the Publisher - from Introducing: Taken by Surprise. Cutting-Edge Collaborations between Designers, Artists and Brands, Copyright Gestalten 2014