After four years in Berlin, Melbourne design duo Pandarosa are back. Ariel Aguilera and Andrea Benyi have been working together for the past 10 years on an impressive assortment of projects which include illustrations, branding, design and illustrative interiors, but they seem to have a penchant for distinctive large scale mural works (you may have spotted their work at the recent State of Design festival on the Hub structure).
To mark their return, the pair is about to embark on a new project: transforming Melbourne’s No Vacancy Gallery with drawings, paintings, photographic documentation and installation pieces which showcase their personal journey and explorations. We caught up with them to find out more about their continent shift, as well as what to expect from the exhibition.
Welcome back to Melbourne! Are you settling in fine?
I guess its like riding a bike really. A lot has changed over the last four years, yet nothing at all in many ways. The coffee is still good, though perhaps a little ‘too’ over analysed these days and its nice to walk down the street and be able to instantly understand what people are saying. Frustrations are apparent as well, which is bound to happen once you experience how people live on another part of the world, but the reality is that there’s no utopia, otherwise we would be living there.
What brought you back?
The sun, the food, friends and the opportunity to reanalyse where we want to be based. Also the chance to reconnect with our clients, create new ones, apply what we’ve learned during our time away, not only to our work, but also to our lives and to expand our approach in a more multifaceted manner.
You’ve worked on a wide variety of design projects across fields such as illustration, fine art, animation, commercial interior design and also installations, and have been working as Pandarosa for about 10 years now, what motivates you and keeps you going as designers, and also as a team?
The idea that there’s still much to learn, that our work, both artistically and commercially, will ‘evolve’ through trial and error, that stimulating the imagination is as, if not more, important than describing and our aim to give the mundane wall, brochure or inanimate object life, blood and a heart. Also coffee does the job pretty well.
You’ve just transformed Melbourne’s No Vacancy Gallery for your upcoming show. How did it all come about and what is the inspiration behind it?
We contacted Andrew from No Vacancy while still in Europe about the possibly of doing a show upon our return, almost like a ‘welcome back’ project, in which we would analyse aspects from both our ‘home’ bases. The show is titled Invisible Cities after the great visual tale of the same name by Italo Calvino. Generally speaking it aims to question how a specific place, event or perspective can be viewed from a range of different view points, depending on the individual.
What can we expect to see/feel?
Our aim is to transform the gallery space into a personal ‘journey’ of memoirs, through various new works ranging from drawings and paintings to photographic documentation and installation pieces.
These recollections and their narratives aim to question the individual meaning of the ‘journey’ and reconfigure what the significance of such travels are to each of us, regardless of the destination.
Any particular challenges that you had in preparing for the exhibition?
The show is based on our ‘journey’ and in many ways it is a conceptual overview of our time away from Melbourne, so one of the hardest parts was to analyse all the different aspects we wanted to include, simplifying them down so they clearly communicate and making the exhibition come across as a ‘curatorial’ view of our experiences.
What is next on Pandarosa’s agenda?
After this show is over, probably a sleep-in would go down a treat. Besides that we’ve been invited to discuss our working process at the DIA ‘Bubble & Speak’ breakfast series in Brisbane and the Gold Coast next month.
No Vacancy Gallery
34 – 40 Jane Bell Lane, Melbourne, 3000
Opening Night: Thursday 25 August 6:00pm – 9:00pm
The exhibition runs from 26 August – 5 September 2011
All images copyright Pandarosa.