Studio OCH designs within a wide range of fields including visual identities development, graphic design, and art direction, strictly following principles of firm and polite simplicity. Studio OCH is Federico Cavalieri and Giulia Rosa Valenti

What is the story behind your duo?

We both lived and worked for some years in Milan before we found ourselves working in the same studio as graphic designers for a short time. From that moment we shared many conversations about design, references and our different kinds of imaginary. A spark triggered us and the desire to work together pushed us to collaborate spontaneously. Everyday we were more interested in mutual opinions and visions, these dialogues brought to life our practice named Studio OCH. This word means “and” or “with” in Swedish. We were interested in its super short and energetic pronunciation, in addition to the meaning, we loved the visual rhythm that the sequence of letters creates. We felt this simple conjunction – by the meaning itself – could represent the bond between us.

On what occasion did the opportunity to open this collaboration arise?

After years spent in established studios we both wanted to try something new led by our personal points of view. The idea of a collaboration appeared naturally two years ago while working on a couple of freelance projects. Since the beginning, we found out that together we create a well-working team. With our different qualities we are complementary, while maintaining a different approach. I always keep an eye on the bigger picture and the final result with an empirical method driven by feelings, emotions and chaos instead Federico is more introspective, he has an almost-obsessive attention to details and a kind of scientific approach made of iterations and in-depth explorations.

As a couple, what do you feel the two of you have in common creatively?

We are really different people with distinctive personalities, – for example we never listen to music while working together because we have opposite tastes – on the other hand creatively we are so similar and we reach the same point through different paths. We both have different visual references, skills and qualities that add on with each other, for us this is our strength.

How does the space you live impact your work?

We moved back to Milan at the beginning of 2020 before the pandemic started because there was a lot happening there in the fields of design, fashion, art and much more. Moreover, we have always enjoyed feeding our minds with different kinds of food and cuisines as much as possible. Everything deeply changed around us rapidly, and in the meanwhile our house became our studio and vice versa, while the boundaries between the two sides blurred. We are trying to recreate a proactive space, but to be honest sometimes it’s hard. We miss our everyday routine but also travel around, seeking inspirations and looking at different scenarios but everyday we are trying to catch – somehow – some positivity and transmit new energy to each other.

Also thanks to your collaboration, C41 Magazine now has a new face with the new Issue 10, what inspired you for the creation of this issue of C41?

The redesign of C41 has been faced with the idea of making the magazine’s aesthetic evolve while retaining the importance of the photographic contents. On the occasion of the 10th issue of C41 magazine, we have been approached in order to redesign the entire publication. We designed the magazine from the ground building it and we took care of all the aspects of the issue during the process including the grid systems, the physical format, the typesetting and the typography. We developed a graphic system characterized by formal rigor, but flexible enough to fit different text lengths and image formats. We’re not just interested in graphic design, we also like to explore the field of art, architecture, lifestyle, and more. All of these topics influence our work in different ways, but if the source of inspiration were possible to translate into an objects as a book it would definitely be “Neue Grafik” by Josef Müller-Brockmann

As a designer duo, you range from graphic design to art direction but what are the key points of your work? How do you think your work is recognizable?

Our work is defined by bold conceptual simplicity, whether it’s applied to a brand, a digital experience or a book. Regardless of the output type we always aim to raise a point of view, but always minding the context. Finding a visual language that makes people feel something or provoking them, to us it means giving relevance to design. Definitely our approach is based on research and observations, which evolve into solutions regarding questions around aesthetics and content.

Images taken at the Maramotti Collection in Reggio Emilia