Zak Group is a London-based office with an international reputation for creating design and art direction for cultural institutions and private companies.
VIENNA — Zak Group has designed the communication graphics and forthcoming publication accompanying the exhibition and Materials and Money and Crisis, on view at mumok from 8 November 2013 to 2 February 2014. Curated by Richard Birkett, the project is conceptualised as an experimental proposition about transformations of the matter of capital as it exists in the artwork. The understated publication serves as a reader featuring a range of positions on the subjects of the exhibition, which is disrupted by a selection of image sections that foreground the institutional apparatus of the museum.
BERLIN — Zak Group was commissioned to create exhibition architecture and graphics for After Year Zero: Geographies of Collaboration since 1945. Curated by Anselm Franke and Annett Busch, the exhibition and conference will take place from 19 September through 25 November 2013 at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. To reflect the starting point of After Year Zero, our work has adopted the exhibition's focus on the realignment of global relationships after the Second World War and the exhibition's physical presence at the HKW – itself an icon of post-war power relationships and a former Kongresshalle. Our contributions, which excavate and trace the architecture of the exhibition hall through a series of discreet moves that cut and perforate the gallery space, consist of print and exhibition graphics, multiscreen installations, vitrine displays, furniture and graphic backdrops that present the work of John Akomfrah, Kader Attia, Yervant Gianikian & Angela Ricci Lucchi, The Otolith Group and Jihan El-Tahri.
LISBON — This week marks the opening of Close, Closer, the third Lisbon Architecture Triennale, on view through 15 December 2013. Zak Group was appointed by the chief curator, Beatrice Galilee, and collaborated with the triennale's team of curators and organisers on the festival's art direction and graphic design. Through the Close, Closer website designed by Zak Group, visitors have contributed responses to a series of questions that form a collective identifying mark that can now be seen in the streets of Lisbon.
KASSEL — In September, Zak Group began working with the Fridericianum — formerly known as the Kunsthalle Fridericianum — Europe's oldest public museum and home to the quinqennial art festival documenta. We drew upon the institution's transformative two hundred and thirty-four year history to develop an identity that represents the institution and its programme under the new directorship of Susanne Pfeffer.
Zak Group is a London-based office with an international reputation for creating design and art direction for cultural institutions and private companies. Through its work with arts organisations, museums, businesses and leaders from various fields, Zak Group has emerged as one of the most progressive studios practising today.
Recent commissions include the art direction of the 8th Berlin Biennale and the Taipei Biennale, book design for Sternberg Press, the visual identity for the architectural firm Barkow Leibinger, and the website and ebook series 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, curators and artists as a committed collaborative partner. Businesses approach us to give a distinct perspective on the design of visual identities, websites and print projects that combine the conceptual inventiveness with a high degree of craftsmanship. 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
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
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 lecture 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 Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) where he has been a Visiting Professor. Kyes is frequent Jury Member in design competitions worldwide. His current projects include the art direction of the eighth edition of the Berlin Biennale in 2014.
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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 Manifesfo 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 Trienale, he has begun applied research on the relationship of exhibition design and publishing. 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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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London EC1M 5NZ
Telephone +44 20 7253 3870
Fax +44 20 7681 3112
Karly Wildenhaus, Studio Manager
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