Before banding together to form design practice and art partnership M/M (Paris), whose regular collaborators include Nicolas Ghesquière, Björk, Stella McCartney, and Interview magazine, Mathias Augustyniak and Michaël Amzalag met as students at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in 1988. Four years later, they founded M/M (Paris), and started with “very, very simple things,” as Augustyniak recalls. “I remember both of us creating a quarter of a page for a record that we didn’t particularly like, but we knew we had to do it as part of the learning process.” A handful of album sleeves later, Yohji Yamamoto assigned M/M (Paris) its first fashion commission for the designer’s Y’s range in 1993. “We were handed a series of images and we had to select ones to use and put them into a catalog,” Augustyniak says. They were eventually tasked with transforming Yamamoto’s runway shows into brochures distributed in his shops, and from there, they continued to log hours in the fashion world.
Today, to mark their two decades of creation, Rizzoli releases the 528-page M to M of M/M (Paris), edited by Emily King — a monograph featuring their contributions to fashion, music, art, and furniture; overviews of their exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum, Centre Pompidou, and Tate Modern; and interviews with photographers Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin and editor Glenn O’Brien — arranged in alphabetical order, but beginning with M (for a conversation with Michaël) and ending with M (for one with Mathias). “I really feel this book is like, a catalog of a new exhibition that we’ve been working for twenty years, because this is the story of our work,” Augustyniak explains, adding they couldn’t create the book themselves because it would feel too “self-centered” to him: “There’s nothing better than hiring a good graphic designer just to put that clearly in a book and I think that was the right move. Had we designed our own book it would have been terrible.”
Asked how M/M (Paris) stays inventive, Augustyniak insists he and Amzalag are always able to find things surprising and are constantly shifting between disciplines. They also try to be curious and follow the “rhythm of human beings,” he says. Click through our slideshow for more from Augustyniak and a preview of M to M of M/M (Paris).