Process Ten: 2x4
Posted: April 29, 2014
As part of our city profile on New York in Process Journal Edition Ten, we speak with founder and creative director of world-renowned 2x4, Michael Rock.
If you really want someone’s attention, you hit them over the head with a 2x4. Fittingly, 2x4 lends its name to a global design consultancy whose work is making itself felt around the world.
Currently, 2x4 is producing work around the United States, Moscow, Shanghai, Seoul, Milan, Basel, Jeju, Guangzhou, Madrid and Amsterdam. ‘We travel a lot,’ Creative Director Michael Rock explains. ‘We are all over the world all the time, which I think is very enriching and has a lot of impact on how we see things.’
But, for Rock, it’s the city that houses 2x4’s headquarters—New York—that’s been the key to the company’s success. ‘New York is a constant inspiration to us. This is our place and we are very much a part of the culture. We are out and about in this city, we are bringing up kids here, we use every part of it.’
2x4 was founded by Rock, Susan Sellers and Georgianna Stout, 20 years ago. A stone’s throw from Manhattan’s Washington Square Park, 2x4’s headquarters houses a group of designers who work on a wide range of projects for clients such as Prada, Nike, Kanye West, Barneys New York, Harvard and CCVT. Rock explains, ‘The focus of our work is brand strategy for cultural and commercial clients who value the power of design.’
The portfolio of 2x4 is richly varied, innovative, experiential, participatory and visually dynamic, and the team often uses a range of different design disciplines to deliver beautifully executed and meaningful solutions. For example, the team collaborated with American illustrator James Jean on the outfitting of the Prada stores, producing one example of their stunning wallpaper that complemented the new handbags in store. Rock describes New York design as ‘diverse’, allowing for a broad approach to any new brief.
Producing work that has longevity in New York is something on which the company prides itself. An up-and-coming project will see the team design for a brand new cultural organisation to be built in downtown Manhattan in a spectacular building designed by Diller Scofidio Renfro. ‘It will be an organisation dedicated to large scale projects that cross over between performance, art, culture and technology. It’s amazing to be part of something that is really starting from scratch and helping to define not just the voice but really the ethos of a new thing.’