Instagram: @visual_citizens

1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

SM: We are Visual Citizens, a digital design studio based in Rotterdam. I am from South Africa and Adams from Scotland. 

Purple Rain

2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

AK: We would describe our work as being surreal immersive visuals. We find it interesting to explore unconventional materials and try to create surreal atmospheres. By doing this, we can make unnatural spaces that look ‘natural’ or ‘real’.  

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

SM: We both come from architecture backgrounds, so in a way working with space is our medium. 

AK: Digital design allows us to participate in a medium not constrained by the usual architectural restrictions. We are able to fully immerse ourselves in the complete design of space

4. What is your artistic process like?

SM: We work in our home studio usually, we like to work simultaneously so that we can share ideas together, and each image is truly a collaboration of work by both of us. We both have very different ways of thinking about design, Adam is often more rational whereas I am more intuitive. We try to bring both these approaches to all our projects

5. Who and/or what inspires your work? 

AK: We are constantly finding new inspiration in nature, and it changes over time. We are interested in the relationship between nature, design and technology. We work with digital images to create a surreal natural environments. We look at physical aspects of nature, and question how things work like how does a lilypad float on water? and then we think about what it would be like to float on water and try and replicate this feeling in an image. We love to explore natural elements such as clouds, water, flowers within the digital world

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

SM: This is a tough question but I think Donna Tartt explains it quite well in The Goldfinch “And as much as I would like to believe that there’s truth beyond illusion, I’ve come to believe that theres no truth beyond illusion. Because ”reality’ on the one hand and the point where the mind strikes reality, theres a middle zone, a rainbows edge where beauty comes into being, where two very different surfaces mingle and blur to provide what life does not: and this is the space where all art exists, and all magic.”

Collaboration with fashion designer Luluyetha Howell on her new line

7. Where did you study?

SK: I did my undergraduate in architecture at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University then a master’s in architecture at University of Houston and a masters in Urban Strategies and Design at University of Edinburgh.

AK. I did both my undergraduate and master’s in architecture at University of Edinburgh

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?

SM: We would love to explore the intersection of digital and physical over the next few years. 

9. What about in ten?

SM: we are often imagining that these spaces are ones that somehow exist in the future maybe 10 years from now and we think ‘visions of a future’ have the potential to change the way we work and think about spatial design, whether they are real or virtual. Digital visualisations give us an immersive glimpse of ways to design for the future, and what that future might hold. We like the idea that by making these imagine spaces we can create something that would otherwise be unimaginable. We would one day hope to make one of these spaces into a physical space. 

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

AK: we want to challenge the viewers perception and we hope it can therefore provoke an emotional response to our images.

She sails through the clouds blushing – for Spacey Studios

11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

SM: Indian food and especially when my mom is cooking it. 

AK: Shalis mom’s cooking 

12. Favourite book?

SM: In terms of design I would say Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas was probably the most influential on me. For fiction I love anything Sally Rooney or Margaret Atwood and non fiction I think it would be Sapiens by Yuval Harari. 

AK: Story of your Life – Ted Chiang

13. Favourite genre of music? 

SM: it’s hard to pick one genre we love anything Sigur Ros and Radiohead 

AK: at the moment were listening to Blood Orange and Chet Baker 

14. What are your hobbies? 

SM: yoga, reading, cooking 

AK: cooking 

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

Adam: we both love cooking so something in the food and wine industry. 

As she drifts the floats the ripples clear – for Spacey Studios

Collaboration with furniture designer Geke Lensink for Milan Design Week