Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh have been contemplating the concept of beauty. This may seem unsurprising, given that both are designers at the top of the design food chain, and aesthetics, you’d think, would be a constant priority. With a laugh, Stefan explains, “One aspect of what we’re doing is striving to abolish the tired notion that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” “It isn’t,” says the narrator. I’m sitting in the Stefan and Jessica show’s control room, located right off-Broadway in Manhattan. A small team is hard at work outside the meeting room where we are seated.
The universe in which their firm, Sagmeister & Walsh, operates is one that they have created wholly on their own. They are showmen in a world where they have firmly established themselves at the centre through the strength of their convictions and significant design talent. There is a personality cult that divides opinion but never fails to elicit a response. The two deal in feeling, and together they’ve constructed a business and fan base that has grown in lockstep with the rapid pace at which design is created and consumed.