Inside the studio: Zim&Zou's colourful and cluttered design space

From their spacious studio in Nancy, France, creative duo Zim&Zou share the stories behind their chaotic workspace.

World heritage city Nancy, in north-eastern France, is the place Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann call home. Better known as Zim&Zou, the duo works across sculpture, installation, graphic design, and illustration - usually in the form of handmade paper objects.

Their workspace has something of split personality: on one side, it’s all large windows, exposed brick and white walls, while the opposite side - where the tools of Zim&Zou’s trade fight for space with the materials they’re used on - is described by Zimmermann as a "well-organised, coloured mess".

"You can see different scraps of different projects, all living together," he says. "It sometimes creates weird little sceneries."

The pair's love for all things retro can be seen in the cassette-shaped tape dispenser (1), a friend's birthday gift to Zimmerman. Continuing the retro theme are the remnants of Back to Basics, a recent project that saw the duo creating paper art versions of iconic gadgets: floppy disks, Walkmans and Nintendo controllers (2).

Thomas' shoe pencil case (3) is a workspace staple, an item she's had from a young age – so young, in fact, she could originally fit her foot inside. Zimmermann’s blue watch (4) is also ever-present: if it's not on his wrist, it's mixed in amongst the chaos on his desk.

Finally, there's the obligatory mug of caffeine (5): "We're addicted to coffee, like a lot of designers," Zimmermann smiles. The duo's been in this space for almost two years, and has no intention of moving.

"We're really in love with this studio," says Zimmermann. "You can see big trees through the windows. That's priceless."

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 217

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