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Creative Collaborations for Design Bridge this Christmas

It takes a great deal of craftsmanship to deliver great work, and we often collaborate with carefully chosen artists, specialists and experts to help us realise our creative vision.

To end the year, we’re celebrating some of our special collaborations. Each of our 4 Studios was briefed to work with a local artist or craftsperson to create a bespoke image – complete with message – to adorn the front of a seasonal greetings card. Here are the stories behind the card designs, which were featured on It’s Nice That

Christmas Card 2015 backs

Amsterdam – story by Brendan Conn

Christmas Card 2015 Amsterdam

The festive season is a time to celebrate friendships, loved-ones, family, and be grateful for the relationships that we have. It’s also a time to raise a biertje (or two) and say ’proost!’ (cheers) to one another. And what better way to share this message than by teaming up with The Netherland’s very own Henry van der Horst, or Henry Sign Painter as he is affectionately known.

Henry has been adorning Dutch markets with his beautiful sign writing for over 35 years. His energetic and playful typography catches the eye as you meander through the sights and smells of the enchanting market stalls. In Henry’s words, “It’s often more about the feeling than strictly following the rules. There should be a certain spontaneity. Nothing is the same. It’s all about emotion and enthusiasm.”

We met Henry on a brisk Thursday morning at Albert Cuyp Market in Amsterdam. Here, amongst the hustle and bustle, Henry works from a ‘mobile office’ – a cart consisting of multiple levels containing polythene boards, tools, markers of varying thickness, and a workspace. With steady and considered brush strokes Henry composed our message; a short and graceful process resulting in bold, striking letterforms. We proudly hung our sign in its natural home – on the stalls of the Albert Cuyp – to take this shot. It was an absolute pleasure to meet and work with Henry; a lovely guy, genuine and true to his craft.

London

Christmas Card 2015 London

Tis the season to celebrate, so for our London collaboration we chose to work with David A. Smith. David is a traditional ornamental glass artist who we’ve been working with for a little while now. His name has become synonymous in signwriting circles with high quality, hand crafted reverse glass signs and decorative mirrors, and every person that has worked on a project with David cannot speak highly enough about him and his work. He was a natural choice for our Christmas collaboration in London.

We photographed the hand-drawn artwork just as if it were part of one of David’s glass lettering commissions for a Victorian pub. We chose The Three Kings as our location as it’s our local. In fact, we’d call it our second home!

A warm, festive feel comes through the candlelight from the windowsill, and the reflections in the window hint at the park and Church across the road –icons in the Clerkenwell area that any visitor to our London Studio will fondly recognise.

New York

Christmas Card 2015 NY

In NYC we worked with chalkboard artist Dangerdust, who specializes (American spelling, of course) in hand-lettering and illustration.

This piece is all about the contrast – using the traditional craft technique of chalk art for a contemporary purpose, set in an urban location. We really like the way the upbeat message is almost hidden amongst the holly and vine-inspired detail, waiting to be discovered when the card’s envelope is eagerly ripped open. The message itself, of course, comes from our old favourite, “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”.

We chose to photograph the finished chalkboard in an industrial part of DUMBO, NY to give it a true New York City style, contrasting against the classic, ornate holiday design that inspired the illustration. It’s new AND it’s old fashioned.

Singapore

Christmas Card 2015 Singapore

Peranakan Tiles are more than 100 years old and were originally used as a decorative element in suburban houses. They now decorate the streets around our home in Singapore.

We got in touch with a craftsman Victor Lim, Tile Restorer and Conservator, to help us source some vintage tiles as well as some newer tiles that have been made in the old style. We liked the idea of contrasting the old with the new, and adding our own Design Bridge twist.

For those not familiar, “Huat Ah!” is a Hokkien (a local dialect) term that translates to wish the recipient prosperity. The message itself is written in locally designed typeface Karré, created by Relay Room.

This final image was shot on the classic black & white tiles of Kandahar Street, the street that the DB Singapore Studio is on. We think that the vibrancy of the colours sing out against their monochrome backdrop, reminding us of our colourful Asian home.

Christmas Card 2015 inside message

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