Zak Group is a London-based office with an international reputation for creating design and art direction for cultural institutions and private companies.
LONDON — We have designed the artist’s book accompanying Ed Atkin’s upcoming solo exhibition at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, opening 11 June and on view through 25 August. Known for his work employing High Definition video and sound, Atkins conceived a new text for the book, titled A Seer Reader, accompanied by marginalia-esque line drawings by the artist. In an afterword, Mike Sperlinger described the artist’s writings as “breath[ing] a vocabulary of distension, tumescence, inflation [...] in an immoderate, immodest way.” The format of A Seer Reader references mass-produced pulp-fiction paperbacks from the 1970–90s.
BERLIN — Beginning 29 May, the eighth edition of Berlin Biennale will take place throughout the city of Berlin at venues including Haus am Waldsee and Museen Dahlem – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin in addition to its home at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art. We were appointed by the curator Juan A. Gaitán as Art Directors a year ago, and we used the opportunity to consider how contemporary art could move away from an economy of images by presenting the Biennale through language and writing. We introduced a simple pair of curved brackets that act as parentheses. When closed, the brackets form an 8 to refer to the Biennale’s eighth edition. When expanded, they contain the contents of the Berlin Biennale and serve as the platform for a series of texts commissioned by the artist Agatha Gothe-Snape. Our art direction of the Berlin Biennale includes the website, guidebook, signage and wayfinding, posters and other print materials. The Biennale will remain on view until 3 August 2014.
WWW — Seven years after Steven Batemen profiled Zak Group partner Zak Kyes for the June 2007 issue of Grafik magazine, he has revisited our work and penned an in-depth text about our practice. In addition to spending time in our Clerkenwell office, Bateman interviewed clients and collaborators including Hans Ulrich Obrist, Anselm Franke and Juan A. Gaitán among others. Available on the new online version of Grafik magazine for its first RetroGrafik feature, the piece is published alongside articles about our studio and its members from the magazine’s archive as well as a new exclusive video featuring the architect and educator David Greene.
KASSEL — On the occasion of two forthcoming exhibitions at Fridericianum, we have launched a new website for the museum that foregrounds content and showcases Friderick, the typeface developed for the institution’s identity. We have also designed materials for nature after nature, a group exhibition curated by Susanne Pfeffer, and Maha Maamoun: The Night of Counting the Years curated by Nina Tabassomi, both on view from 11 May to 27 July. The second weekend in May will also mark the launch of Fridericianum’s new Bookshop Walther König in a new foyer designed by Zak Group with Dyvik Kahlen Architects.
Zak Group is a London-based office with an international reputation for creating design and art direction for cultural and commercial institutions. 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 and the Taipei Biennial, book design for Sternberg Press, consultancy for the architectural firm Barkow Leibinger, and the website and visual identity for the Lisbon Architecture Triennial.
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, 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. As a result, our ideas have played a role in more broadly defining a strategic vision.
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).
Architectural Association School of Architecture
Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College
Centre for Contemporary Art Estonia
Centre for Contemporary Art Kitakyushu
Embassy of Switzerland
Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa
Swiss Architecture Museum
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 Taipei Biennial at Taipei Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan (with Anselm Franke); the graphic identity of Barkow Leibinger Architects, 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 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.
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. Please send a brief but specific statement of interest, CV, and a portfolio of work in PDF format to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Fax +44 20 7681 3112
Karly Wildenhaus, Studio Manager
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