Metahaven grew from a frustration with graphic design’s well-worn paths. When Kruk graduated in 2003 from the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam, she faced essentially two choices: work for the larger, more corporate companies, or go into the cultural field, which in her view was already explored to the limit. ‘But there wasn’t a space in graphic design where I felt there was a field for theory or something that you could develop without it being finished,’ she says, in the Amsterdam studio she shares with Van der Velden (Zifroni, not present, works in Brussels).

‘There is an ultra-short incubation time that every piece of graphic design has to go through,’ adds Van der Velden. At the end, the message is focused and anything deemed to be extraneous is eliminated. ‘We need a space where we can work on things without there being this funnelling or bottleneck moment where that happens.’

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