5 & 3/4 Questions
1. Describe yourself and your work.
We are Zim & Zou, a creative duo composed of Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann. We started working together after our graphic design studies, seven years ago. Our approach is mainly focused on the use of handmade crafts to create visuals, window displays, installations, and so on. We have a predilection for paper because it’s a versatile material, easy to sculpt, and very rich in terms of color or texture. Most of the time our designs are very intricate and time-consuming and use bold colors. We like projects that tell a story, not just decorative stuff.
2. How did you get started?
We were both crafty kids when we were younger. At the very beginning, we started working with paper just for fun between graphic design commissions, and of course because Lucie’s family was working in a paper factory in the Vosges Mountains. We had access to a lot of paper sheets, so we just played with paper. That’s how our first paper project came out. Then we dropped it on the Internet, we had some positive feedback, and we were quickly contacted by a client for our first commission.
3. What piece of work best represents you and why?
It’s probably the window display we made for Hermès in Barcelona, called The Fox’s Den. This installation was showing a fox (made out of leather offcuts from Hermès workshops in Paris) staring at passersby from his own interior, where you could see his personal belongings—such as a wine, chicken cookbooks, frames with pictures of his family, and so on…. It best represents us because we have two main fields in our work, one that focuses on industrial objects, with very straight and geometric shapes, and another that is more about animal and organic shapes. This was the first time we really managed to mix these two universes in one installation.
4. What are you into currently?
Right now we’re working on a new window display project, but unfortunately we’re not allowed to say much more about it. And on another side we’re still experimenting with new materials and new ways to make paper less fragile and more resistant. And finally we plan to open a small online shop with selected posters and objects.
5. What are three things you’ve learned that young creatives should know?
1. Always understand precisely why you like and dislike something.
2. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and start again. Mistakes make you grow.
3. Once you know what you want to do, ask yourself what new things you can bring to it, and what makes you different from other creatives.
November 6, 2015
Artwork: Zim & Zou, courtesy of the artists
Fox’s Den window photographer: Nacho Vaquero
Editor: Charles Purdy