[Originally posted on April 2009]
Astrid Stavro was born in Trieste, Italy, in 1972. She graduated in Graphic Design from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, and in Communication Art & Design from The Royal College of Art. After working free-lance for several years, and co-founding and directing the design studio Pavlova, she moved from London to Barcelona where she founded her own multi-disciplinary design studio. She is a multiple award-winner and her work has been published worldwide in numerous books and magazines.
Could you please let us know more about your background and career? Was it always your dream to pursue a career as a graphic designer?
I started studying literature and philosophy until I discovered Fabien Baron’s Interview magazine at a friend’s house. From then onwards everything took me in the design direction. My first ‘design’ job was as a bike courier for famous Catalan designer carrying plates from the repro houses to the client.
What was the purpose of the “Art of the Grid” project? Could you please let us know more about it?
The Art of the Grid project was my graduating project at the Royal College of Art. I did it with class mate Birgit Pfisterer. We wanted to develop a project that would ‘bridge’ our student and professional lives i.e. by inventing our own job before graduating so that it would keep us busy after the RCA. And it worked quite well. They are still for sale in specialized shops worldwide.
The Art of the Grid are a series of notepads that reproduce some of the grids that revolutionized the history of graphic design by setting example and inspiration for future design generations. The first notepads came in a series of 5, with 2 other notepads added later on. We then developed the notepads into shelving units.
For more information please visit www.artofthegrid.com
What is “El Palace”?
El Palace is how we internally call the studio. We named it El Palace as it’s an old 18th century gothic house. This is where we work. We decided to use this name for the small publishing house that I run alongside designer Pablo Mart’n (www.grafica-design.com) El Palace is completely independent; it is self-initiated project that runs parallel to running our own studios. We design, print and publish anything that inspires us and we think might inspire other designers/artists. We have two magazines: Light Medium Bold and Reading List. El Palace also develops furniture and design products.
How do you find working in Barcelona?
Work-wise it is a very interesting place to be in; there are many things to be done. But after spending such a long time in London I’m still struggling to get used to the ‘Mediterranean’ way of doing things… The tricky bit is the language: Catalan is the official language and it is a good idea to learn it.
Why did you choose to live there in the first place?
Could you please suggest us any interesting places to visit in Barcelona?
Joan Miro Museum
Mies van der Rohe Pavillion
The Pipa Club
What is your favourite food? And do you have a favourite place to eat out in town?
The place I usually go for lunch is called Agullers in calle Agullers, just around the corner from the studio. They have the best home-made food and a long ‘barra’ where you eat in less than 20 minutes which is great if you are alone/in a rush. I have no particular favourite food as I like pretty much everything, but if I had to choose a last meal it would be ‘coquinas’ or cheese with good red wine.
What is the nicest place you ever visited/travelled to? Why?
City-wise: Lisbon, Venice and San Francisco.
What are your future plans?
To stay small enough to ensure we are doing creative work and yet to ensure we have enough presence within the industry to attract interesting new clients.