Berlin & Los Angeles


kulturspace – yin and yang and branding

(Left to right) Per zennström, creative director | lisi badia, art director | justin merino, founder & managing director.

(Left to right) Per zennström, creative director | lisi badia, art director | justin merino, founder & managing director.

They say there are two sides to every argument. Adding a third is what makes things grow. A garden requires the right balance of the essential elements of water, light and soil. It’s simple ecology. A fire needs air, heat and fuel. That’s just chemistry. 

The concept is the same for kulturspace – only it’s a balanced blend of management, creation and art direction. 

The kulturspace trilogy is not a process that a project is put through. Instead the trio form a changing recipe, a magic potion, a growing ecology, a reactive balance of what each client requires. A pinch more art direction here, a little less creativity here – this balance is essential to maintaining focus on what each project requires. 

And keeps it exciting. 

The ebb and flow of collaboration in kulturspace’s dynamic means that not only is there a large skill set to draw from, but the directors and collaborators learn from each other’s perspectives. Cross fertilisation of ideas allows kulturspace’s approach to be more human and organic.

The three directors of kulturspace share their views from the garden path. 

justin merino

officially: founder & managing director
unofficially: captain of the ship, circus ring leader and chief therapist. 
from: los angeles

how do you see your role fitting into the kulturspace method?

in all seriousness, it is an ever shape shifting role. we are working on a platform and method that is “the future” of working, that is pulling the talents of freelancers in many different locations. so on a given day there are timezones, deadlines, languages, emails, video calls and project management balances in the mix.  i see my role and responsibility to make sure the machine keeps running, the right gears get oil and that the final product is turned out 100 per cent.

what do you bring in your approach to projects?

i preach this to anyone who will listen: stop what you are doing, remove yourself from your own point of view and step into the shoes of the end client or audience. when it comes to processes, flow, production and design i always keep the audience in mind. what might make sense to a designer can be a complete miss for the customer.

what’s something you admire about another brand? 

pabst blue ribbon. no frills, no cheesy advertising and affordable. i love a good comeback story and pabst is the poster child. the almost forgotten beer has embraced it's new younger audience, sponsoring art exhibitions rather than buying traditional ads. it comes back to my belief in fresh thoughts, stirring the pot and breaking things down to simple principles.

per zennström

officially: creative director
unofficially: chief visual strategist, patron saint of the gif, lead coffee flavouring pioneer. 
from: stockholm

How do you see your role fitting into the kulturspace method?

While Justin is very client and problem oriented, I approach projects from a totally different angle dictated by my fashion photography background. In our case this works really well since we tend to build things on top of each other. 

What have you learned from the other two and what they bring to their roles that you weren’t aware of so much before?

I have learned a lot about the creative work and being effective and productive. For example – every email you write and every phonemail you make is an opportunity to push a project forward. Don’t leave things open ended, always have a Call-To-Action attached to what you do. I also learned to not always solve things visually.

Is there a brand idea you admire?

Oh yes, I love IKEA and what they’re doing in moving away from just being a furniture maker to becoming a lifestyle brand.

lisi badia

officially: art director
unofficially: typo guru and self proclaimed "happy graphic designer"
from: barcelona

how do you see your role fitting into the kulturspace method?

each of us have our most marked specialty, but we bring new and fresh ideas together in areas that are not our specific field. my speciality is the art direction – something that i've been specialising throughout my career and in that i continue learning day after day.

how do you bring your skills to projects and clients?

one of the things i like most is not working for customers, but to work with them. become part of a team externally. it's something i've achieved over the years with some clients and i have seen that it is a way to grow together and not just a punctual manner.

what’s something you like from another brand?

there are many things i love about different brands. a specific example since i now live in berlin is kadewe, which i like just from first sight – the branding, the building, the history. and as a professional i see the range of different possibilities from the creativity of the windows which are usually very nice to the magazine that they make each season. 

Justin Merino