Other Review

Other Review is a digest of findings that casts light on design process, contemporary ideas and creative inspiration. Through communication, we aim to examine the importance of design piece by piece.

By Putty Dewikarina
October 11, 2019

The Insiders is a regular chitter-chatter with one of Each Other Company’s team members, regarding to their design views and raison d’être. In the third edition of it, we chatted with Vensia Layhadi on her day-to-day groove and some things that matter to her.

How do you typically start off your week?

V: Let’s bring it back to the end of the week. I would usually note down where I last leave things at, what I still need to do and my thoughts on it. The tasks rarely change over the weekend, but sometimes the thoughts would. It serves as a good exercise in redefining perspectives and starting point for the week. Recently, I reduce the time I spend on scrolling online on weekends, and find myself playing a little catch-up game with the news on Mondays. Maybe it is a counterproductive move.

What do you work on right now?

V: Spatial, Spatula and Speculation. Some may start appearing on Each Other Company’s Instagram feed, so keep your eyes peeled ;-)

Why did you join Each Other Company?

V: A missed encounter, a conversation, a favourable timing.

What does it mean to be a graphic designer for you and how does it affect your work?

v: I always think this question opens up a can of worms, as the definition of the practice differs depending on the location and progress (at a different speed). Both of them shift greatly with time. We can agree that graphic design concerns about communication and aspects of the facade (not necessarily physical). Modern graphic design is an arguably young field of practice compared to other creative ones. This means to me that it has great potential for the unknown and exciting. It most often goes in tandem with subjects from varying fields, which creates an opportunity for dissemination of greater knowledge but does end up being the means to an end. The comparably young age, coupled with lack of available extensive records of graphic design (aside from some designers from certain eras in the past whose predominantly white male individuals), defined the aforementioned ‘true’ graphic design history, prescribed to all designers and adopted into design education around the world. It has also created a sort of constant echo chamber of output referencing back to the ‘golden era’. For me, it is not about being right or wrong, but realising that there are multiple histories and realities that we have to be aware of as designers, and subscribing to only one limits the visual output and creates a disconnect with the lived-in environment or need for the design. So, when I design, I think back to the existence of the practice within these intersecting conditions. I make a point to keep in mind to not fall into the pit of over-defining such as ‘this is how graphic design should look like’, ‘graphic designer only does that’; limiting the possibilities of it fulfilling its potential to collaborate and connect on even ground with everything it comes into contact with.

What achievement of yours that you think you could not attain and how did you accomplish it?

V: Once, I had doubts about continuing design studies, so as a last hurrah before quitting I sent in an application to a university that I wanted to enrol in and always thought to be way beyond my ability. It was a direct application by physical post, sent out at the application cut-out date. I still do not quite get what happened but a week later, I received a succinct email with a student identification number. This episode now serves as a personal reminder during times of uncertainties; that sometimes all you need to do is to make the first leap and show up.

Tell us what or who inspired you the most?

V: Hans Ulrich Obrist, simply because he just keeps going on at an incredible pace. I think the views and approach he speaks of about curating, the ever-present sense of going against the current of homogenisation and constantly redefining ‘the rules of the game’, the format and the process can be applied to almost everything. His texts and interviews are always enlightening to revisit, even if they do not specifically talk about design (or maybe it is exactly because they do not) but an intersection of topics and fields which are relevant to what is happening.

How’s your week looking ahead?

V: Today feels like a calm before the storm for the week. I hope I am wrong.

Tea or coffee?

V: Both. There is a drink made from mixing coffee and tea called ‘yuan yang,’ Wikipedia says it originated from Hong Kong but can be found commonly in Singapore and Malaysia. The purists would blanch at the idea but I think it has the best of both worlds.

What are you looking forward to?

V: Change.

Plan or improvise?

V: Improvise. Because changes happen.

Describe your ideal leisure activities.

V: Long walks along familiar routes in good weather and maybe with music on. The familiarity of the route is important because it allows the mind to drift. I got my most interesting ideas while walking. Parks or similarly enclosed open areas are most ideal, for they are very much scenic with a linear path to follow but also an allowance of freedom for detours and stops. However, this would be most unpleasant to attempt where I am currently based, as Jakarta is probably one of the least pedestrian-friendly cities in the world.

What would you do next after this chat?

V: Maybe get everyone to go up to the rooftop for some air. Our office is located smack in the middle of the busy city yet a distance from all the high-rise buildings, so we get an unobstructed view when the sun is setting. It is lovely.

Vensia Layhadi is a Graphic Designer at Each Other Company where she works on client and studio’s iniviative projects, including Further Reading.

Other Review is a digest of findings that casts light on design process, contemporary ideas and creative inspiration. Through communication, we aim to examine the importance of design piece by piece.

Series of Articles
— An Appointment with...: a visit to the people behind a community or studio, whose works contribute to the progressive development of design practice.
— The Outlines: a closer look into a particular event, via some voices that have encompassed the matter.
— The Insiders: a regular chitter-chatter with one of Each Other Company’s team members, regarding to their design views and raison d’etre.

We have featured several relevant figures in art, design and cultural landscape. Our previous interviews are as follows:
Further Reading Print No.1: Navigating Practice with Signals from the Periphery (EE), Southland Institute (US) and Temporary Academy for Un/Re/Learning (PH)
— An Appointment with...: Seetal Solanki
— The Outlines: Andra Matin, Ary Indra and Don Pieto on Venice Architecture Biennale 2018
— The Outlines: Artnivora, Ceres Lau (MY), Dua Studio, Grafis Huru Hara and Tommy Ambiyo Tedji on On Paper Jakarta 2018
— The Insiders: Immanuel J. Palar, Putty Dewikarina
— Felicia Budi of fbudi on Less Waste in Fashion

Editorial Team
— Editor-in-Chief & Creative Director: Januar Rianto
— Editors: Immanuel J. Palar, Putty Dewikarina

Other Review is published independently by Each Other Company in Jakarta, Indonesia.

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