Valentin Adam is a collector. Books, vinyl, toys, prints and plants compete for attention with a wealth of weird and wonderful artifacts scattered across the graphic designer's busy studio space in the heart of Paris.
Adam founded Playground, a boutique multi-disciplinary design studio specialising in print, motion, web, branding and illustration, in January 2011. It's a place where he can experiment with colour and type, and his curious collection of items feeds into his creativity: "I love collecting things whenever I can. I need a lot of colours and details in my office. A simple object I found two years ago can be a great inspiration for a poster, a font, a colour. It's a mix of everything – every period, every topic – and it reflects in my work," he says.
Take Adam's oversized 'A', for example (1). Originally extracted from a neon sign for the Theatre des Grands-Boulevards, Valentin discovered it on sale for the price of scrap metal. "I could save only one," he says. "What's funny is it's quite coherent alongside the small wooden 'P' I found at a flea market that looks a lot like the one in the Playground logo."
The letterform isn't Adam's only flea market treasure, either. When he discovered a toy print machine (2) that reminded him of childhood, he couldn't resist picking it up. "When I was young, my brother and I had one and we printed jokes and things," he explains. "It always fascinated me."
Other tokens from Adam's past have an equally creative appeal. The first time he visited Los Angeles he found a vintage compilation of vinyl songs (3) and it's easy to see what attracted him to them: "The collection is almost 40 years old, and they kept the same great artwork, only changing the fonts – except the number – to be coherent with the mood of the compilation," he says. "I love this system and I love the colour choices."
Elsewhere in his studio sits a hefty World Tour book (4). This was purchased not for its travel tips, but because Adam immediately fell in love with the collection inside of old hotel labels from around the world. "The typography, illustration and visuals are amazing and so contemporary," he smiles. "It's a great inspiration for colour ranges and shapes."
As for the flamingo (5), quite simply, Adam loves the pink wading birds. "What can I say? I like them a lot!" he laughs.
This article originally appeared in Computer Arts (opens in new tab) issue 230.