10 Okt Interview with Miruna Sorescu – Sindroms
In a world in which facts are handled as a matter of interpretation, it’s kind of ironic, that Sindroms, a magazine dedicated to colours proves that our highly subjective, emotional response to light refraction is by far less arbitrarily than one might think. In fact, our associative apparatus triggered by different qualities and intensities of the colour palette evokes a multitude of versatile and contrasting ‚monochrome states of minds‘. Without lapsing into banality, Sindroms unveils, issue after issue, all the complex and not seldom hidden layers of colours. So far it has been red, yellow, white before the pink issue hit our shelves. We e-met founder and Creative Director of Sindroms, Miruna Sorescu, to talk about her “obsessive-compulsive tendency of colour coding“ and how to translate this passion into print.
Miruna, the pink issue is already your fourth outcome of – as you put it – your “obsessive-compulsive tendency of color coding”. What was the most intriguing thing you learned about colours since you launched Sindroms in 2017?!
I think the best ‘surprise’ in this journey has been discovering that if you immerse yourself into working with a single colour for quite a long amount of time, you will really fall in love with it. It’s been happening to me with every single colour we’ve done, even if I used to have a strong dislike for colours like red or yellow. It’s fantastic to see and it probably happens for different reasons each time, but it really creates this tunnel-vision for me and I never really fall out of love with them after diving that deep.
Sindroms not only tries to spotlight the pretty facets of each colour but also its darker, more unpleasant affects. Can you tell us how you succeed in converting all these versatile aspects into this unique visual, highly conceptual and minimalistic language?!
We don’t see any aspects of a colour as unpleasant. Most colours are filled with contrast, especially because their interpretations can be so subjective for different people and different cultures. So far, all of the colours we’ve worked with turned out to be quite multifaceted and associated with contrasting emotions. From the beginning, we set out to get fully immersed in the colours we explore, and we are very open in the early process of a new issue to just go where the colour guides us. So naturally, we’ll go on to explore the emotions and themes that are most widely associated with that colour – good or “bad” – and that’s what gives it character. We approach all of the emotions/themes in the same way, to show that there’s beauty and unexpectedness in all of them, even if we’re talking about jealousy, anxiety, artificiality etc. And we keep the same conceptual and high quality level throughout all stories.
For Sindroms’ last issue you collaborated with students from different departments of the renowned University of the Arts of London. Providing these young talents a platform to realize their ideas and deepen their design thinking towards a far more economic approach sounds like a thrilling journey. Can you tell us how this all started and how you found a common, cross-disciplinary ground to work together?!
We were approached by the school – they wanted to create a cross-disciplinary semester project for the students, to bring together students from all disciplines – journalism, fashion design/styling, photography, etc – to work together on creating a story for our pink issue. We had a full workshop day with the students, where we showed them how we approach the different themes of an issue, and then guided them through their brainstorm and idea generation, production, photoshoots, content. They then worked on their stories for the rest of the semester, before we chose the final work to include in the issue. It was a really great experience because we are often invited to lecture students, but this time we had the chance of getting hands on and exploring with them what it means to create a story for a magazine – from idea to final result, and then providing a platform to publish their work. It was really impressive for us to see the creativity that sparks from cross-disciplinary groups, and how they go about exploring the themes we ourselves were already working with.
With Sindroms you also organized mono-chromatic events as dinners etc. How else do you challenge the idea of what a magazine can be beyond print?!
We always wanted to immerse our readers in monochromatic experiences outside of the limits of the printed magazine, so events have naturally been a great medium to do it through. For our latest pink launch in Copenhagen, we created an exhibition of the 5 senses, where guests were invited to see, touch, taste, smell and hear pink. Our newest monochrome experience is a product we just launched, Omakase: Pink. We were inspired by the Japanese concept of Omakase (where you put your trust in the chef to serve you whatever he chooses), and we really wanted to bring the artists and designers featured in the magazine closer to our audience. So we created a ‘secret’ pink gift box where the contents are a mystery, so you only discover them when you receive the box. We collaborated with some of the designers and artists to create some exclusive design objects especially for the box, and also curated a few design products from some brands we love and also promote through the magazine.
The Pink Issue swirls a lot around our aspiration for eternal youth in Western cultures. Do you think the meaning of colours changes over time and within different cultures, evoking contradictory emotions and memoirs?!
Definitely, I think human history and cultural context plays a big role in the colour associations we develop over time – it also explains why we see different or contrasting colour meanings in different cultures. Symbolism and meaning has definitely shifted a few times, affected by different cultural events, but from a psychological point of view, in terms of how different colours can make us feel, or the way they influence our emotions and moods – that’s something quite universal.
What does the name Sindroms exactly mean?! And how does it relate to colors? What did you thought and expect naming the magazine like this?!
The name plays on the idea of the obsessive compulsiveness of organising things by colour, and just being really obsessed with one colour at a time – which is what we do. It really is like a syndrome, if you think about it, so that’s how the name came to be.
And, what do you organize by colour?!
My wardrobe is sometimes organised by colours, but mostly the props shelves in my office, where I store all the different props used in the issues, for photoshoots, for events etc. But like I said the predominant colour is always the one we’re currently working with, it tends to take over everything…
Where does your love for colours stem from?! And how does your work with Sindroms influence your personal daily life?!
I am originally from Romania, which has a very colourful culture. When I first moved to Copenhagen many years ago, I had a bit of a cultural shock adjusting to the lack of colours here. It’s improved over the years, but I guess back then I was really missing colours in my daily life, so I started focusing on it in my work and projects, and when deciding to start Sindroms the idea of going monochrome and exploring one colour each issue seemed quite natural to me, and it was something different from all of the other magazines. Sindroms has a huge influence on my personal life – since it’s a side business it usually happens in my free time, in my apartment – which is usually taken over by the current colour via hundreds of photoshoot props, colour samples, layout, etc.
The independent publishing scene is against all odds still flowering?! Which contemporary magazines and books will we find on your coffee table?! And, what blogs or social media channels do you follow to find creative inspiration?!
I love to discover new magazines constantly and I’m an avid collector; but my favourites are usually the ones that make you feel like you discover it all over again with every new issue. There are quite a few magazines out there that are undoubtedly very strong, but you don’t feel there is anything new being explored or anything done differently, so you can’t get excited about a new issue. Personally, I loved the first issue of To Think by Made Thought, and really looking forward to the second one. On my coffee table right now I have Flaneur’s latest Taipei issue and Designing Design by Kenya Hara, and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on the new issue of The Skirt Chronicles.