Whether they’re freezing slices of pizza into strange shapes, attaching enormous crayons to the soles of sandals or developing amazing new prints for Crumpler, there’s never a dull moment for Erika Zorzi and Matteo Sangalli, the two creatives behind the design and art direction studio Mathery.
During the wee hours of a chilly Melbourne morning, the Crumpler team caught up with Erika and Matteo over a bowl of Fruit Loops to discuss where they’ve come from, what’s next for Mathery and their collaboration with Crumpler.
The Outdoor Lounge range was designed to be the next logical step in the evolution of Crumpler. A statement of intent for the next phase of a company with a proud history. It needed a signature print which spoke to Crumpler's past and hinted at the future. That print is the called the Wonton.
'We were just playing around with pieces of fabric and we came up with this simple idea of using the folds to represent movement. When you are wearing something it’s not always tight and straight so we wanted to come up with a print that incorporated that idea even when it’s flat.'
The Wonton print is available in a grey version known as Alpine and a green known as Tactical and is being used across several different products in the Outdoor Lounge range.
Mathery’s work is a spectacular mix of bright colours, simple design, relatable imagery and tongue in cheek humour. It’s weird and wonderful but also focused and calculated.
“The priority is the message and keeping it as simple as possible. While it is bright and bombastic, it is also super clean and neat. We want to give as much focus to the idea or subject as possible.”
To get that message across clearly, they use imagery that everyone can relate to. Things that anyone can look at and immediately connect with. Clean lines. Bright primary colours. And, in a lot of cases, food.
“Different foods have their own distinct shapes and colours that everyone understands. Using a subject that people can understand, and that people have memories they can relate to, is super fun.”
Originally from Italy, their work has taken them from Milan to Melbourne, through to Hong Kong and now New York City.
Perhaps their most recognisable piece, Pastello - Draw Act, was originally commissioned by Melbourne’s NGV in 2014. They were tasked with creating a space where kids could enjoy the simple act of drawing, with a twist.
They painted the walls of the NGV white, laid down astro-turf, cast giant balls of crayon wax and attached them to helmets, sandals and ropes then set the kids free to do whatever they felt was right.
“We translated something normal - drawing - into something totally different. There were no instructions, no words in the exhibition. Kids were allowed to make up the rules.”
The Pastello - Draw Act exhibition was received extremely well and has since appeared throughout Asia. Eventually the desire to focus on photography, film and content creation projects lead both Erika and Matteo to make the move to New York City.
“It always comes down to where is best for our career. New York is better for contacts and the amount of work that is around the city. Melbourne is amazing but sometimes it felt like ‘oh my god, no one is really aware of what’s going on here.’”
Since making the move, Mathery has continued to develop their own style and expand their already impressive folio of work. Whether it’s a photo shoot featuring lampshades made of fried eggs and vases made of hotdogs, or a video shedding light on the life of fluff covered lint-roller sheets; everything they create feels distinctly Mathery.
They’ve been able to take on work from a wide variety of clients and push the limits of their work and style. Photography. Film. Website content. Installations. Event spaces. Mathery has branched out and are never afraid to try something new.
It’s nothing but gorgonzola, red-heads, feet and curating the campaign for OFFF Creative Festival in Barcelona on the horizon for Mathery.
“We try to always do something different and not worry about it not being that good. It’s always a discovery to see how different people react to our work. And we love that. We like to start with the challenge of using something that is perceived as not interesting or disgusting or weird and transform it into something that is beautiful or exciting.”
Want to get your hands on a bag in the exclusive Mathery print? Head here.