Sven Ehmann is creative director of Gestalten, a cult publisher with more than 400 titles on design, art and architecture. The website also contains a digital magazine, a shop with designer products and a
television channel. And it also has its own shop and art gallery in
Berlin. Sven will be participating in the Rock Paper Pixel session of
the FADfest. ¡Welcome Mr. Ehmann!
Why do we still want to buy paper books or paper magazines about design in the digital age?
I do not think print or digital is an either or decision. When you are
interested in a subject, you look for the best sources around, whether
they are online or print, still or motion, audio or an exhibition–it
all adds to your mix of knowledge. Digital is open ended, print is
limited. Therefore, even if it sounds weird, a well edited book or
magazines can easily provide a shortcut to a condensed set of
information. As the New York Times promises, “all the news that is fit to print,” nothing less, nothing more. And last but not least, print
offers a more individual tactile experience. On the iPad every book
feels the same. If an author, publisher or brand wants to create a
memorable experience for their readers, print might simply work better.
What are, in your opinion, the main ingredients of a good design book?
Thoroughly executed research and a strong edit of the material. You need a story and a voice that readers can relate to.
Is the strategy of diversifying channels (publishing house + art space + online TV…) necessary to survive?
We are not a printer, we are a company that researches and edits
contents for a particular audience. That audience uses different media,
so diversifying is really a matter of getting the story across and the
Disseny Hub Barcelona; www.rockpaperpixel.fad.cat
How to speak of a physical yet intangible discipline such as design
in an increasingly hybrid communications environment? Which new
formats, services and business models are appearing? Bloggers,
magazines and online media, both local and international, give their
points of view in the first communication session on design, Pedra
Paper Píxel (Rock Paper Pixel).
The session will have speakers from platforms such as Gestalten, Fubiz,
Huffington Post, Yorokobu, Diario Design, Dadanolas, El País, 40 Fakes,
Three Five Fifty, Graffica, Monografica, Bibiana Ballbé, GRRR, Paseo de
Gracia, Brots and Poco Designing.
Free entrance (registration on the website needed) for bloggers, media and FAD members.
To see the complete programme go to the website www.rockpaperpixel.fad.cat.
Welcome to the Festival of All Design
25 June and 11 July, Barcelona has an appointment with the world of
design in all its expressions. During a fortnight, the FADfest is
presenting, for the first time in the Disseny Hub Barcelona building, a
suite of activities revolving around design and creativity: a major
exhibition, awards, a conference, a film series, debates, forums,
festive activities and social networks. The city transforms itself into
the capital of design, with a programme of international activities and
with the clear determination to bring design closer to the citizens.
Organised by the FAD (Fostering Arts and Design), the FADfest
recognises the work of professionals and businesses and showcases the
best projects of the year in industrial design, graphic design and
visual communication, architecture and interior decoration, fashion,
art and the crafts. Integrated into the Barcelona Design Festival, the
FADfest is an event with cross-sectional vocation, open to all and with
the active support of institutions and businesses.
Full programme: www.fadfest.cat
Mr. Pixel comes into the Disseny Hub Barcelona to participate in
the FADfest, having just arrived from El Prat airport. He says hello
and sits down on the sofa. He accepts the coffee I offer him. He drops
two sugar cubes into it. While the microphones are being prepared he
tells us the odd anecdote about his flight and adopts a relaxed and
You look very well.
Thanks, but don’t come any closer. At short distances I pixelate (laughter).
What do you think of Barcelona?
I love it, a pioneering city in pixels thanks to its famous trencadís (broken-up mosaic).
20 years ago no-one spoke of you and now you are everywhere. How do you deal with success?
At the beginning people didn’t have the slightest idea about what I
was. There was a lot of confusion, but later people learned to
pronounce my name and to calculate things with pixels. I like the
feeling of forming part of something, however small.
We have seen you in many facets: pixel, megapixel, gigapixel. In which one do you feel most comfortable?
It depends on the situation, I feel comfortable in any of them. Though
I have to recognise that I like the simplicity of Pixel best.
What do you think of censure?
I think there has to be freedom of expression, but I don’t agree with
“everything goes” either. There are things that should be pixelated.
What is your opinion on the vector?
I have no opinion about it.
A favourite song?
«You pixelate me» by Chip Torres. Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WniL0xrH-JQ
It has been a pleasure, Mr Pixel. We trust that your visit to the FADfest will be beneficial.