Trailblazers: Finding solutions in surreal, alternate universes with Akatre

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Akatre is a creative studio founded in Paris, 2007, by Valentin Abad, Julien Dhivert and Sébastien Riveron. The trio work in, and express themselves through graphic design, photography, typography, video, artistic installation and music creation for a wide range of clients spanning the arts, culture, fashion, media and luxury industries. We were intrigued by their surreal yet striking creative solutions, often taking onlookers into a otherworldly dimensions. Check them out...

Hi guys, tell us how did you three of you came together to found the Akatre studio?

We studied at art school together for four years and built the basics of Akatre as students. Once we had all graduated we worked as assistants in various graphic design companies for a year but we were slowly producing works for Akatre on the side. Then, a year after graduating we won an artist residency that allowed us to set up our own studio, Akatre officially started from there.


What’s your design ethos?

We try to design and produce pictures by creating completely different universes which bring with them aspects of humor and malice. In these universes we exploit the plastic functionality of everyday objects - away from their original functions, or we play on sculptures in which the body becomes a playground for multifaceted transformations.


Does this ethos extend to your video and artistic installation projects as well?

Yeah kind of, we always try to have fun and produce surprising and aesthetically interesting results. We still have a lot to experiment with in this area...

Do you find yourself working mainly for big brands or smaller clients?

We work for everybody and anybody but if it’s a smaller client with smaller budgets that we really want to work with then we offer our ideas and concepts free of charge. Working with bigger brands we tend to have the budgets with which we can produce things on larger scales, and this obviously offers more exposure for our work.


Tell us more about your Soundtracks.

Each time we do our art installations we either produce music or design a sound installation to create the right type of atmosphere for the installation. Then, about a year ago, we realised that we had 15 of these different soundtracks just lying around in boxes, so we decided to make an album out of them and give them another life. The album will be released at the end of the year.


What do you guys do when you’re in need of inspiration?

We look after the time we have. Just having the time to search, to experiment and to create is all you need. Inspiration is in the work you produce, so when we’re active, ideas always come along.


Whose work do you really admire?

We admire all creators who are free.

How do the three of you work together? Do you have any rituals when a new brief comes in?

We’ve been working together for over ten years so our rituals have changed a bit over time. These days we give more freedom to everyone in the studio. If someone really wants to work on a brief when it comes in, then he or she works with it to the end. If no-one in our studio wants a project then we don’t take it. We have to be happy with the brief we are working on it, the creative solutions are always better when you are happy to work on something.

What's been your favourite project of the last year?

The Yalta video clip which is out in full at the end of this month. And we’re currently working on a big photoshoot campaign for a luxury bag brand but that's still very much under wraps. 



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