A Perron-Roettinger, the multidisciplinary studio formed by Willo Perron and Brian Roettinger, does not like to be labeled as the creators of superstars, but it is undeniable that they have sculpted pop culture: the tours of singers like Rihanna, Jay Z or Tame Impala, the shops of Kim Kardashian, Adidas and Kanye West, the Fenty or Alexander Wang fashion shows, the album covers of The Florence + The Machine or Mark Ronson, the catalog of the most important Yoshitomo Nara exhibition in the USA… From the collaboration with these artists, fonts emerge, packaging, campaigns, interior design, furniture and ingenious creations like a flying Ferrari or a 3D basketball court.
“For us, the most important thing is to risk and experiment, we have the chance to choose projects. The main thing is not to work with famous people – in fact a lot of our work is for small companies and only 70% of our creations are for the music industry – the main thing is that we have quality. room to innovate, ”explains Brian Roettinger, designer and two-time Grammy nominee.
In order not to see their art reduced to the world of celebrity, the duo often avoid interviews: that they granted one to ICON Design by Zoom is very unusual. “The advantage of working with artists is the wide circulation they expose you to, and the downside is precisely that same exposure. For us, it is essential to ignore criticism and digital noise, it is the secret of our iconoclasm ”, explains Perron. This is why, despite the accumulation of anecdotes, they rely on discretion: “The anecdote is that we have no anecdotes”, they add.
About Kanye West, whom they know well after more than 15 years of collaboration (they are the authors of Yeezy Studio, the exhibition room where the crazy slipper prototypes and whimsical prefabricated houses inspired by the Tattooine of the galaxy wars), they ensure that he is a permeable and inspiring visionary, aware of all trends and whose passion for risk puts him several times in the eye of the hurricane due to a devouring system that seeks scandal in the thousands of news they feed every second. “They judge him all the time, because people love gossip.” Both believe that only artists with complex characters sign beautiful works. “To work with celebrities, you have to accept that we all have ego,” they specify.
Even at the beginning, Roettinger and Perron accumulated years of experience separately. “I started out as a graphic designer, then in clothing and shoes and, shortly after, in interior design, an industry that led me to concert scenography. I loved Brian’s works – he designed for groups India- and our first collaboration was the concept of Magna Carta, by Jay-Z »Explains Willo. Since then, they have diversified so much that 14 people work in their studio located in Los Angeles. “Only a team can build a dream. We usually work on 15 projects at the same time, ”says Perron, whose work focuses on interior design and living design.
“My role is more related to graphics, Branding and the packaging, but several times we change roles, ”says Roettinger. His inspiration is the German Bauhaus school that Walter Gropius created in 1919: “We are convinced by his methodology, total art. That is to say the interweaving of disciplines such as dance, architecture or industrial design and, above all, their desire to sign avant-garde works for the general public: like the Bauhaus we like to break conventions and integrating the cultural into the commercial ”, Roettinger counts.
They both like to find old posters at fairs, for example, the cover of St Vincent is based on a Cramps poster (“Poison Ivy is a bit of a Beetlejuice,” Perron says). In an effort to update the psychedelic aesthetic and “not look like a Tye-Dye shirt,” for the Tame Impala tour, they dove into science fiction and, in particular, alien movies. “Our mission is not to be referential, but to create a new syntax, we do not like to sacrifice our avant-garde impulses. Also, we think only risky things really like it, ”Roettinger insists.
The inflatable, yellow and flying Ferrari from Drake’s tour, the theatrical staging of Lady Gaga’s concerts, the escheriana and disturbing catwalk of Fenty x Savage…, from his imagination, crazy inventions emerge like his last preview: Skims, the pop-up store of the Kim Kardashian underwear brand opened in the famous shopping center The Grove in Los Angeles on April 7. It took us a few weeks to design it, and it was built overnight – the idea was to mimic the feel of underwear. In Skims they have nine colors that reproduce the skin tone, the store is the average color in the collection. The cover is in molded glass and the interior is in plywood, ”explains Perron. The result is a warm and shiny cube, very suggestive, soft and carnal because it has no corners.
In Los Angeles, Fleur du Mal recently inaugurated – a year late due to covid-19 -, another underwear store whose ambition is to become a cultural magnet: parties, educational workshops with experts, tastings of champagne … the unfortunate disappearance in the cities of the public spaces, the private ones assume some of their functions. “It is like that. For example, we saw how customers queuing to buy from Skims took the opportunity to meet while waiting. In addition, the consumer can already buy onlineTherefore, the store transforms into an experiential space for socializing and exhibiting or learning. Apple’s hybrid model, where you can learn how to use an iPhone in a workshop and recover a computer that you ordered online, has become established. Our goal with stores like Fleur du Mal is to create an intimate and immersive environment, ”explains Perron.
Its multidisciplinary character, its capacity for analysis and adaptation are the keys to a study which, if it shies away from the spotlight, could not avoid becoming a reference in the sector.