For Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel—the duo behind Antwerp-based artist collective Studio Job—a chance meeting struck in Spring, 2016. The pair was in New York for the opening of their first solo museum exhibition in America, Studio Job MAD HOUSE at the Museum of Arts and Design, and there happened to meet Barneys New York’s Creative Director Dennis Freedman.
Fast forward eight months, and we’ve just launched the European collective’s contribution to Barneys’ Holiday 2016 Love Peace Joy Project. Designed to tap into the positive spirit of the holiday season, the project features a suite of accomplished artists, including Nick Cave, Ebony G. Patterson, and Robb Pruitt using the Madison and Downtown stores’ windows to offer inventive interpretations of three sentiments often expressed during this time. Smeets and Tynagel were not only tasked with exploring the theme of love for their own window, but also with creating signature graphics that would be used throughout the campaign.
“Working together in the context of the holiday window project was particularly interesting, as it challenged us to take on a unique approach to the often-overdone symbolism associated with the holidays,” said Smeets.
And they met this challenge with success. Though unconventional, the design duo looked to the iconic 1970s television show The Love Boat for inspiration for their display. Detailed with pinching kinetic claws, a turning wind-up key, and moving gears, the eye-catching window showcases a seven-foot boat that also includes silhouettes of people kissing projected.
“We love the campy style of The Love Boat and wanted to reimagine the series in the form of a theatrical splendor with moving parts, animations, neon light effects, and even music,” Smeets and Tynagel explained. “The result is a truly absurd, Dada-esque cruise ship that is literally packed with too many ideas to explain.”
Similar to much of the artists’ work—which often takes a fresh, interdisciplinary approach to contemporary design—the humorous piece is a synthesis of varied materials and symbols, as well as traditional techniques such as bronze casting and gilding, that work together to create a layered, tongue-in-cheek commentary that uses an iconic part of American media to hearken back to the hippie era. A time when, according to Smeets, people looked to find “a harmonious world devoid of conflict.”
Interspersed among the moving parts are psychedelic images of concentric hearts, rainbows, smiling lips, flowers, and more, all in a variety of bold colors. These elements are also reimagined in Studio Job’s holiday iconography, a vibrant graphic print that is featured in many ways this season, including double-sided hangtags for shopping bags, wallpapers for in-store visual displays, and elevator décor. The images can also be found on products such as cookies, placemats, and iron-on patches, offering clients a way of extending the love, peace, and joy they experience in-store to their homes and beyond.
Once again, Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel have done what they do best: taken the road less traveled to create something that isn’t boxed into a particular period of time. By approaching the theme of love in this new way, the artists are able to expand their reach and share their art—and the warm message it conveys—with a wider audience. Which leaves only one final question: what makes up their perfect holiday celebration? Smeets doesn’t even hesitate, “a perfect holiday is spending it with the ones we love with limited fuss and stress, and lots of good humor.” We couldn’t agree more.
We’re inviting you to take part in our Love Peace Joy Project via our social campaign #LovePeaceJoyProject in support of Amy Schumer and Leesa Evans’ STYLEFUND and the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Foundation. Find all the details here.