Frédéric Forest, illustrator, designer and co-founder of Studio FRST, talks to us about his work and inspiration. Working with Clémentine Giaconia, the duo has worked on products for luxury brands such as Hermès and Ligne Roset.
Being based in Paris, does the city give you any inspiration for your work?
A city is a character. So, Paris is a great muse but inspiration is a result of random moments. They are not specifically Parisian. I love the versatility between cities and nature, streets vs beaches, architecture vs mountains. These moments could be but a smell, a sound, someone who you cross in the street, a cloth or its detail… My influences are around the edges, in photography, fashion, gastronomy, music, typography, dance, poetry, colour and light.
Having experience in many different fields (design, interior, art direction and illustration), what would you say has been your favourite role?
It depends on the people that are involved in the projects. Bad projects don’t exist, only bad questions and wrong briefs. It’s quite impossible to create something great without a good start and clever clients. A project is a dialogue. It’s all about the casting. So I don’t have a list of brands but a list of projects that I/we would love to work on: a diving platform, a car, a hotel, a private house, other timepieces…
Having a well-established name in your industry, what advice would you give to others hoping to follow your footsteps?
Well, I don’t see my name an established one. It’s easy to tell the different paths I have taken, and what happened, but it’s hard to have a definitive guide for that. The main thing is the work. Listen, look, travel, learn, read, work, try and do it again and again. If you stop learning, there is a problem. You have to understand how the industry really works, whether it’s about the art system, fashion, furniture, wine & spirit, timepiece, architecture, jewellery or interior. But also the technics, factories, suppliers, people, merchandising, store, network, media… but you always have to remain the customer. That’s the main clue.
Yes, it’s viral diffusion, we live in this connected world. Every day you can find great things and ideas. It is something that can make you do better and evolve. I look at it as if someone else is looking at me. It’s a continual running dialogue – an open diary. In a way, it’s like a mirror with two sides.
But also no, because social media is also a decoy, something that is definitely not real and about fast consuming. It mainly sells a false dream. This is the tricky thing with this connected world: we want it fast but with sustainability. Good things take time. It’s crazy how manners have gone; incivility has grown too much. Life is not a phone screen. Most of my impacts come from reality, walking in the streets, chatting with friends, meeting people, going to museums or bookstores, reading magazines, taking pictures, drawing, travelling, skiing, skateboarding, surfing, running…
Some creatives sometimes face a creative block in their vision, what would you say is the best way to overcome that?
Every creative cross this sort of blind time, this dead-end. You can’t be inspired or efficient every day. That’s impossible. Sometimes, you just have to go back to find the road you missed. But the best thing is to share this with a new eye. You can’t do it alone. If I’m stuck on a drawing, I’ll take a picture and I can see its defaults. If it’s about projects and design, I share it with Clémentine Giaconia. This is why it’s great to work with her. We are a design duo. As a woman and a man, we cross our experiences and inspirations. This is one of the advantages of working in tandem: good ideas grow by themselves and the bad ones disappear along the way.
If you hadn’t become a designer, what career would you have had?
There are so many great jobs. Maybe something around architecture or fashion. But definitely something with my hands, something making me feel that I’ve done something at the end of the day.