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Lobo, 6 Questions

by Ami Kealoha in Culture on 08 September 2005

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Since first watching Lobo's reel, I've played it probably 20 times - as much for the fluid motion of an unfurling pink hibiscus (for Diesel), or the geek appeal of a textbook-style diagram of a carbonated soda, as for the anthemic choice of soundtrack, Alice Cooper's "Drones." When I ask creative director Mateus de Paula Santos why he chose the music, he answers simply, "He's the king."

One of the premiere Brazilian design firms (they were one of the five chosen by Coca-Cola to create a music video and custom bottle as part of their M5 campaign), their commercials, videos, and cell animations are first-rate examples of motion graphics. Their work often features rough, unfinished lines and grid structures that lends an appealing rawness to slick computer generated imagery. In a 2004 abstract piece commissioned by Panasonic as one of 10 short films in their Capture the Motion spots for the Olympic games, lines and ink blots dance across the screen slipping from glowy star-like impressions to hand-rendered painterly shapes. The recent Toyota "Kluger" commercial which just started airing about two weeks ago in Australia shares a similar dramatic pallet and mixes organic elements with futuristic lines. Other work, like "Girl Power," a block created for the Anime Network in 2004, uses humor, like pink camouflage airplanes and tanks. A recent Toy Story-esque music video for The Flaming Lips' "You Gotta Hold On" made use of found objects to create a stop-motion animation piece that will be shown in the upcoming Resfest. (See production stills from "You Gotta Hold On," as well as stills from the finished video, images from the Capture the Motion piece, Girl Power, the Toyota spot, and Diesel Dreams, after the jump.)

How did you get here? I was born in São Paulo and have lived here my whole life. I graduated in graphic design from FAAP college, São Paulo. I worked at MTV Brazil's on-air graphics department as an intern for about a year before starting Lobo. It began in '94 with three friends who wanted to have fun together and maybe do some work. Two of those are partners are here to this day, myself and Nando Cohen. We rented a small place to do our college work and were experimenting with business cards, making up companies. One of them was Lobo. Our first big project, 10 years ago, was an animated dictionary for a Brazilian animation company. Since we've moved six times, merged with Vetor Zero, a 3-D animation and special effects company, so now we have five partners, and 35 employees.

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What are you doing now? Answering this interview!

Our new website and Lobo’s visual identity redesign is about to launch. The print part is already in use and the web will be up any day now. I'm hoping to have it up by Saturday when I'm talking, but it might not be done. It'll be up early next week. Have you seen our website now? It's orange and everything else, - all the paper - is orange and it's been like that for maybe five years and I'm really sick of it. I wanted to go for very thin lines, all black and a very pale blue, almost gray. The typography is inspired by a font that I saw in an Australian photography magazine, Black and White, that we customized. We're trying to do something timeless that I won't get sick of. I probably will get sick of it, but oh well.

[Otherwise, we're working on] very cool projects for very cool clients. We can't say a lot more then that, sorry.

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What are your current obsessions? Agasssi’s game yesterday was one of the most impressive things I saw in my life.

On his bedside table: A glass of vodka, usually

Coffee table: A new issue of IDEA magazine, Extreme Textiles book

iPod: 55 Gigs of music

TV: Lost

Movies: waiting for the new Tim Burton

Food: Mommy’s

Travel: often

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Favorite local hangout: the new Vegas club in the red light district in São Paulo.

Favorite NYC spot: Changes everytime I come, but it used to be Max Fish.

Last thing you googled: 135 Spring Street

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What's next? We just want to do better work and have a bit more spare time so we can do better work.

At Semi-Permanent I'll mainly be talking about the fact that corporations are hiring designers and animators to do “art” pieces for them, without any branding and why this is cool and why it’s not cool.

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What role does Brazil play in your work? It's tough to tell. Brazilian culture has a characteristic of mixing different elements from other cultures. Maybe that's where the identity is. We don't feel particularly connected to any Brazilian folk tendencies, but we live there, so it’s impossible not to be influenced by it. We just don’t try to force it into everything we do, but I guess it finds it’s way in our work somehow. I’ll let others look for that in our work since we are to close to tell. 

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Any advice? I don’t see myself as someone in the position of giving advice. It would be bad advice. I often tell my students that they are lazy.

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