For Sebastian Bagge and Julio Rölle–better known as as the Berlin-based art duo 44 Flavours–creativity begins and ends with fun.

Eclectic, idiosyncratic, chaotic yet skilfully composed and playful. These words are more typically used by music critics for album reviews, but they’re just as well suited to the oeuvre of 44flavours: the Berlin-based art duo/mixed-media collective comprised of Sebastian Bagge and Julio Rölle.

Since joining forces in 2003, these friends have established an international reputation for their creative use of colour, recycled materials and abstract motifs on projects that nod to their respective backgrounds in graphic design and graffiti. Their collaborations range from brochures and illustrations to murals and experiential installation.

In between their travels all over the world, we were fortunate to tap their talents to transform one of the listening rooms at the new Sonos store in Berlin’s Mitte district. On the walls of this compact pod, they brought the concept of home to life with their signature energy, creating vibrant hues and geometric shapes suggestive of rooms.

While we were wrapping up the finishing touches on the store, Bagge and Rölle kindly invited us to their studio, also in Mitte. Among their collection of quirky objects, we sat down to talk about the creative process and where they find inspiration.

Tell us a bit about this studio space. How did you find it?
Our studio has a relaxed vibe, and we have enough room to work on all of our projects. When we’re not busy, we just hang out here listening to music and chatting about new projects. Sometimes we’ll invite friends over. A lot of students also visit the studio. Clients and collectors also like to come by to talk about our work. It’s important for us to have these exchanges with others.

We moved into this space about two years ago, after spending almost a decade in a space in Kreuzberg right off of Moritzplatz. The owners were about to triple our rent without even renovating, so we thought that it was time to leave. We were very lucky to find this place for a reasonable price, and we share it with a couple of good, talented friends. The studio is like our extended living room. We hang out here all the time when we aren’t traveling and doing projects abroad.

We also have another studio – which is more like one big empty space – called Raum Vollreinigung where we work on large paintings and sculptures and organise monthly exhibitions. We share that one with Clemens Behr and Julius Dörner. We feel very lucky to have these places to be able to develop all of our crazy ideas.

Do you ever find yourself needing to get out the studio for inspiration?
We love our lunch breaks. We need this moment in the day to talk things over. 90% of the time, we go out for lunch with our studio mates, friends or colleagues. We also travel a lot due to our exhibitions. We love to discover new places. It feels like we have friends everywhere now.

How does your environment influence your process?
We love being surrounded by all kinds of relics: things we’ve found, presents, artworks, books, plants and all types of weird, random objects. It’s all a part of us and in some strange way it completes us and our work. We don’t need a tabula rasa to develop new work because everything we create is somehow connected. Our work either builds on or is somehow based on something that we’ve done before. And this body of work is constantly evolving.

What drew you to some of these objects?
We like beautiful, weird, odd objects. We appreciate folk art and art made by our friends and colleagues. We love books and handmade zines. We love things that tell stories: a postcard sent by a friend or a book from an artist, designer or architect who we know. Sometimes we buy books or get samples of ones that feature us.

We like old discarded things, which tend to inspire our sculptures. Sometimes a thing is only interesting in relation to something else, which is why we love collaging objects. Our studio is an ever-growing mood board of physical objects. But there is a system to all of this chaos. There has to be, because we work with all kinds of tools and materials, and we need to be able to find things when we need them.

What role does music play in your creative process?
Music is definitely a major inspiration for us. We have a lot of musician friends, and over the years we have had the privilege of designing many LP covers. We love to discover and share new music, which is why we have an ongoing project with our buddy Lukasz Polowczyk from initialsLP. We invite different musicians to create Mixtapes, then we make covers for them and publish them on Mixcloud.

What kind of music are you into? Any favourite albums or new artists you’ve been listening to lately?
It really depends on how we feel, what kind of vibe we need at the moment and if we are working on the computer or manually. Recently we designed the cover for the digital release of a project by our friend Simon Houghton (alias Sneaky) called Wooden Leg. It’s experimental, improvised, instrumental music that was recorded directly onto 8-track analogue tape. Sneaky had also just released another album called Lost and Found. We highly recommend both.

Do you have any upcoming projects you’re excited about?
Yes! We are preparing an installation for a new co-working space based in Kreuzberg.

It will be an assemblage made out of wood crafted into different shapes and installed on the wall of the entrance hallway of the building.

Another exciting project is an architectural/art intervention. We were basically asked to come up with an idea for a house that integrates the voices of its inhabitants. We have several ideas and are not yet sure which one to realise.

And, of course, we are organising the next monthly show at Raum Vollreinigung, which will be the first solo show of our friend Lenia Hauser. We will also go to Salzburg to teach at the university there, which we do annually. Then we’ll hold a workshop at the university in Kiel. Mid-June we will be in Munich to build a stage set in collaboration with Schauburg. After that we will work on an installation for Watt En Schlick Fest. It really doesn’t stop!

Follow 44flavours on Instagram to keep and see these upcoming projects come to life. 

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