Zak Group is a London-based office with an international reputation for creating design and art direction for cultural institutions and private companies.
CHICAGO — For the inaugural Chicago Architecture Biennial, Co-Artistic Directors Joseph Grima and Sarah Herda have appointed Zak Group as graphic designers. As North America’s largest international survey of contemporary architecture, the Chicago Architecture Biennial will provide a platform for groundbreaking architectural projects and spatial experiments that demonstrate how creativity and innovation can radically transform our lived experience. Its first edition, titled The State of the Art of Architecture, will take place from October 2015 to January 2016.
As Biennial Co-Artistic Director Joseph Grima explains, “Zak Group’s innovative, energetic and global outlook reflects the exhibition’s ambition to speak to an audience of all ages and backgrounds, and to take a fresh look at architecture as an increasingly dynamic form of cultural practice.”
The visual identity will encompass all collateral, the website, advertisements, signage and publications. Zak Group’s identity for the Biennial has been conceived with a nod to the grid—a visual form emblematic of both the city of Chicago and the practice of architecture itself.
VENICE — Zak Group has created the design and art direction of the Czech and Slovak Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia 2015. Opening 9 May and remaining on view through 22 November, the Czech and Slovak Pavilion will present a site-specific installation by artist Jirí David. The installation, titled Apotheosis, takes as its departure point the monumental painting Apotheosis of the Slavs: Slavs for Humanity (1926) by the Czech Secessionist artist Alphonse Mucha. For the façade signage, website and catalogue published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, we have drawn from the monumental, bold and monochrome quality of the work as the basis of the pavilion’s austere identity.
Visit the Czech and Slovak Pavilion website
LONDON — We have been commissioned as the designers for a new publication series by Barbican and Ridinghouse that focuses on The Curve, a contemporary art exhibition space at the heart of the Barbican Centre. The series’ design has been developed with collectibility in mind, demonstrated through bold typography and thoughtful consideration of format and materials. The inaugural edition accompanies Slow Movement, an exhibition by Roman Signer now on view through 31 May 2015.
BORDEAUX — We’ve began working with the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux on a new identity under the directorship of María Inés Rodríguez, who joined the museum in 2014. Founded in 1973 by Jean-Louis Froment, CAPC has since established itself as a landmark in the French and international art scene and is housed in the Entrepôt Lainé, a 19th-century warehouse. Now under development, our new identity aims to channel the museum’s history while reinventing its visual language following CAPC’s 40th anniversary.
Zak Group is a London-based office with an international reputation for creating design and art direction for cultural and commercial institutions who value the power of design. Through our work with arts organisations, museums, businesses and leaders from various fields, Zak Group has emerged as one of the most progressive studios practicing today. Recent commissions include the art direction of the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, ongoing collaboration with the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, book design for Sternberg Press and the art direction of the museum Fridericianum.
Directed by Zak Kyes and Grégory Ambos, the office was formed in 2005 as a collaborative practice to explore the possibilities for design in the production of culture. We work internationally and locally with individuals and institutions on projects varying in scale and complexity. The scope of our work often includes a consultancy to establish intelligent forms of design that range from art direction, visual identity and signage to website and exhibition design.
Zak Group is increasingly sought out by museum directors, curators, architects and artists as a committed collaborative partner. Our approach is invested in a deep understanding of our client, the objectives behind a commission and clear dialogue, which often results in long-term relationships. Clients and partners value our work for its contribution towards the design-thinking behind a project, and our ideas have played a role in more broadly defining a strategic vision.
The studio’s work has been awarded the German Design Award, Red Dot Award, prizes for the Most Beautiful Swiss Books and the INFORM Award for Conceptual Design.
Active since 2005, Zak Group has been fortunate to receive a number of commissions, awards, publications, exhibitions, teaching positions and lecture invitations. These recognitions can be seen alongside other studio activites and milestones on our office timeline, available for download below. Highlights include the Inform Award for Conceptual Design, the New Visual Arts Award, the Most Beautiful Swiss Books Prize, and positions at Architectural Association and Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL).
CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux
Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College
Center for Contemporary Art, Estonia
Centre for Contemporary Art Kitakyushu
Embassy of Switzerland
Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa
Swiss Architecture Museum
University of Southern California
Zak Kyes is a London-based graphic designer and art director. He founded Zak Group in 2005, and since 2006 has been the Art Director of the Architectural Association (AA), London, where, in 2008, he cofounded the publishing imprint Bedford Press. In 2010, he received the Inform Award for Conceptual Design from the Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig, initiating the traveling exhibition Zak Kyes Working With… (2011–13).
Through collaborations, curatorial projects and publications, Kyes has developed a unique practice that expands collaborative form from a pragmatic structure of working together to the joint development of content.
His design projects include the art direction of the Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (with Juan A. Gaitán), art direction of the Taipei Biennial at Taipei Museum of Fine Arts (with Anselm Franke); the graphic identity of Barkow Leibinger, Berlin; the Serpentine Gallery Manifesto Marathon, London (with Hans Ulrich Obrist, 2008); and the Sternberg Press Solution series (with Ingo Niermann, since 2008).
He has curated the touring exhibition Forms of Inquiry: The Architecture of Critical Graphic Design (2007–09) and The Information Economy as part of the New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1, New York (2010). He has edited publications including Iaspis Forum on Design and Critical Practice: The Reader (Sternberg Press, 2009), Exhibition Prosthetics (Bedford Press, 2010) and Space Is the Time You Need to Go to Someone Else (CCA, 2012).
Kyes has lectured and participated in numerous international conferences on design related subjects and has taught at various universities including the Architectural Association School of Architecture (2007–11) and École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) where he has been a Visiting Professor. Kyes is frequent jury member in design competitions worldwide.
Grégory Ambos is a French graphic designer based in London. He became a partner at Zak Group in 2012. His work focuses on publication design, exhibition design and visual identities for cultural institutions.
Design projects include the book FORENSIS: The Architecture of Public Truth with the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London; the Phaidon reference book Aalto, shortlisted for the British Book Design and Production Award; Serpentine Gallery Manifesto Marathon, awarded the prize for the Most Beautiful Swiss Books; Cybermohalla Hub, an exhibition and publication presented at the Louisiana Museum; and the exhibition design of No Soul for Sale?—?A Festival of Independents, presented on the occasion of Tate Modern’s 10th anniversary curated by Cecilia Alemani, Massimiliano Gioni and artist Maurizio Cattelan.
Through projects such as Are You Ready For TV? at MACBA, Barcelona and the Lisbon Architectural Triennale, he has begun applied research on the relationship of exhibition design
In 2011, he was an invited Art Director at Colors Magazine, a quarterly cultural magazine based at Fabrica in Treviso, Italy.
We are not currently hiring but we are always keen to have potential collaborators in mind. To submit your work, send a CV and portfolio of work as separate PDFs to firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your submission and will keep your materials on file for up to three months. Please watch our website and social media pages for any updates regarding vacancies.
Three month internships are available at Zak Group for students and recent graduates in the field of graphic design. All internships are paid, either at UK national minimum wage or through an independent scholarship obtained by the intern. If no independent scholarship or funding is obtained, the applicant must be EU work eligible. Placements are full-time for twelve weeks, with a probationary period in the initial four weeks. Internships are available during the following periods: January – March, April – June, July – September and October – December.
To apply please submit a covering letter, CV, portfolio of work in PDF format to email@example.com and indicate the period you are applying for, any funding you have received for an internship, and your eligibility to work in the EU. Please name files with your name (i.e. “Jane_Doe_intern.pdf”). We are unable to return original work.
19 Britton Street, Third Floor
London EC1M 5NZ
Telephone +44 20 7253 3870
Karly Wildenhaus, Studio Manager
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