Previously STEYNcolab, was founded as an experimental architectural practice with the aim to seek collaborative influence from artists and other creatives. But in the day-to-day of running a business, founder Coetzee Steyn didn't feel like that promise had been realised and asked me to evaluate and reflect the brand as it truly was.
To understand the history and context of a brand is crucial to developing its future narrative and I believe all great brands start on the inside. So although Coetzee felt his original vision wasn't being realised, I uncovered that a deep sense of collaboration did exist, only it was between him and his clients rather than external influence. Furthermore, his work often sought to include the personality and ideas of his clients, often using or recycling materials that already existed in order to create new form, meaning and narrative in his projects.
Partnership & balance
In developing the strategic narrative behind the brand, I found further evidence of how important this sense of partnership and balance between elements was to the process. An architects role is to design spaces that work in harmony with their surroundings as well create spaces that work in harmony for the people intended to use them. This rationale formed the basis for the brand positioning and visual identity. And we agreed to evolve the name of the practice to Steyn Studio, with studio often meaning a place of artistry or experimentation.
A new old philosophy
Harmony is not a new concept and resonates well with those aspiring to create and find balance. And although we were keen to represent the idea of collaboration between two parties, we needed to present a coherence and a togetherness. In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang represent opposite forces as complimentary and connected whilst independent. I used this idea and the visual icon as a starting point, simplifying the form to better denote the practice of architecture. The two half circles in this separated form present an organic shape that also shows a real structure.