Whilst studying at Central Saint Martin’s, Kristjana came to appreciate how seemingly subtle adjustments within typography, in fact, have a profound influence on the world around them. After brewing the idea over several years, Kristjana has now launched her first Typographical artwork collection.
Engage with the elegant art of typography and simultaneously exhibit a prominence of European cities on your walls. From the prayer-calling minarets of Istanbul in the East to the Atlantic-swept harbours of Lisbon in the West, Kristjana discloses an experience of the cities’ climatic tendencies, their impermanent skylines, their hues, their worn iconic sights and their living shadows too. You are invited to weave your own exceptional tale from this continental alphabet:
Take all of the letters for a full set; Only 10 full portfolio sets are available for sale - they will be from prints 1-10 of the edition. In an aesthetic twist and to square off the display on your wall, Kristjana has added to the letters of the alphabet with the symbols ampersand ‘&’ and exclamation mark ‘!’.
Spell out across your walls a meaningful word, phrase or name; one that sparks a treasured memory, evokes an occasion or simply floats your boat. Perhaps your nickname, your house name, your childhood home’s name or a line from a poem or song. Bear in mind the letters can be hung vertically or horizontally, all in one go, or over several lines.
Hothouse: Once used exclusively to describe what it says on the tin - a greenhouse for growing plants in - today, hothouse also describes any place or situation that stimulates the rapid development of creativity, ideas, emotions and knowledge. Universities, social organisations, art studios, all have the perfect makings of a hothouse.
Peoplekind: A gender-neutral alternative to ‘mankind’ which may not be so easily dismissed in the future as a comedy faux-pas by Justin Trudeau. It certainly resonates with the KSW Studio principle to always think beyond the conventional box. We are cheering it on into the dictionary in 2020.
Mic Drop: This self-explanatory phenomenon [dropping the mic at the end of a particularly impressive performance] started creeping into our collective conscience in the 1980s, originally bookending rap battles and ending up as an internet meme. We surely all have a mic drop moment in us, don’t we?
Bluebird day: A dictionary newcomer, coined on the snowy rooftops of the world, where skiers and snowboarders started to exclaim at cloudless, dazzling ‘bluebird days’. Instagram-insatiable we have come to live in expectation of flawless photos where only an impeccable blue sky goes. On a dank and drizzly morning, OH! how we long for those ‘Bluebird days’.
If your thing is dark style go for Letter Spectrum - Black Stafrof; the sleeker, sulkier version of the Full Alphabet print with an elongated typeface to match. Perfect for a tall nook or a lengthy cranny.
If your thing is clean and bright go for Letter Spectrum - Hvitt Alphabet; a contemporary, light, snowdrift white, Full Alphabet print. One for the purists among you; let the city of letters take centre stage. Alternatively choose Letter Spectrum - Hjortur Landscape; the butterfly-borne, up in the skies Full Alphabet Print. Inspired by all of the spectacular vistas that roll out across the European continent, this is a soaring, scholarly print.
Exceptional tales from an alphabet of continental cities
A is for Athens [Αθήνα]
Ancient, radiant, colonnaded, dramatic Athens
The capital of Greece, one of the oldest cities in the world. The design is inspired by the radiant colours of spring in the city, its atmospheric ancient ruins including the colonnaded Parthenon temple and by traditional Greek costume.
B is for Brussels [Bruxelles/ Brussel]
Blended, spirited, Gothic, frites-filled Brussels
The Belgian capital and de facto heart of the EU. The design is inspired by its spirited cultural identity, effortlessly blending old with new. The warm colours echo autumn in the city. The 15th century Gothic town hall showcases the theatrical majesty of Brussels’ medieval architecture.
C is for Copenhagen [København]
Chilly, photogenic, rococo, clean, green Copenhagen
Denmark’s good-looking capital. The design is inspired by the city’s rococo district, home to the royal family’s Amalienborg Palace and by the photogenic surrounding countryside peppered with aged windmills. Wintry weather frames the composition.
D is for Dublin [Dublin]
Devout, decent, complicated, lyrical, welcoming Dublin
The capital of Ireland, land of “céad míle fáilte” - one hundred thousand welcomes. The design is inspired by the city’s thrumming colours and beer culture as the birthplace of barley-rich Guinness. The ghost of Nelson’s Pillar and a statue of King William III evoke its complex recent past.
E is for Eindhoven [Eindhoven]
Eclectic, industrious, balmy, design-focussed Eindhoven
Eindhoven is a fascinating town in the Netherlands with a world renowned Design Academy. The design is inspired by the city’s eclectic architecture, temperate climate and the DAF Museum idiosyncratic truck and lorry museum.
F is for Florence [Firenze]
Famed, mesmerising, renaissance-cradling Florence
This Italian city is the birthplace of the Renaissance. The design is inspired by its sensational architecture and art including frescoes by Giotto and Ghirlandaio, canvases by Botticelli and Bronzino, and sculptures by Michelangelo and Giambologna. Encircled by vine-covered hills the colours speak of languid summer days and sleeping cats.
G is for Glasgow [Glasgow]
Gritty, elegant, sea-faring, proud to be Glaswegian Glasgow
Scotland’s most populous city is an oxymoron; gritty art nouveau elegance. The design is inspired by the city’s proud heritage built upon the booming decks of shipbuilding and trade. The amber tones of Autumn glimmer under soggy skies, igniting Glasgow Cathedral and the facade of the Hunterian Museum.
H is for Helsinki [Helsinki]
Hipster, extreme, non mainstream Helsinki
Helsinki, the epicurean capital of Finland nestled in Europe’s deep North. The design is inspired by the epic climate, veering from summer’s endless light to winter’s eternal night.
I is for Istanbul [İstanbul]
Iridescent, cultures & continents-straddling, tea-loving Istanbul
Once a stop-over on the silk road, the Turkish capital has been a cornerstone of the Byzantium, Roman and Ottoman empires and is now the largest city in Europe. The design is inspired by this fertile history, by the penchant of modern day Turkey for a strong black tea (çay) and by the city’s ornate mosques with their prayer-calling minarets.
J is for Jersey [Jersey]
Jovial, romantic, bygone, drop in the ocean Jersey
A half French half British potpourri Channel Island. The design is inspired by its understated bygone charm, its rolling hills strewn with wild flowers lapping up against sheltering walls of medieval ruins.
K is for Kiev [Kyiv]
Kinetic, revolution weary, up and coming Kiev
The capital city of the Ukraine is on the move. The design is inspired by the creative ways in which the city is shrugging off the pain of revolutions past and is metamorphosing into a lively, vibrant butterfly of a city.
L is for Lisbon [Lisboa]
Languorous, cobbled, westernmost, waterfront Lisbon
Atlantic-swept harbours shape the periphery of the Portuguese capital. The design is inspired by the sun’s brilliant rays probing the city’s warrenlike, cobbled streets. Also, by the triumphal Rua Augusta Arch and by the 16th-century Belem Tower, built during the height of the Portuguese Renaissance.
M is for Munich [München]
Metropolitan, Bavarian, flawless, liveable Munich
Germany’s third (but most favoured?) city. The design is inspired by how ultimately liveable and cosmopolitan the city is; glittering shops, ample markets, infamous festivals, lakeside, mountainside, bourgeois perfection.
N is for Naples [Napoli]
Neapolitan, clamorous, sizzling, edgy, alluring Naples
The capital of the Italian South, Naples is a cauldron of noise, crime, poverty, culture and charm. The design is inspired by poker-hot summers, a brooding atmosphere, monumentally beautiful squares, Baroque masterpieces and the petrified remains of nearby Pompei.
O is for Oslo [Oslo]
Outdoors, fjord-facing, confident, enterprising Oslo
Oslo sits handsomely positioned between the crystalline waters of Oslofjord and the lush green forests at its back. The scene is inspired by Norway’s history and natural beauty evoking Viking ships, stormy seas and jaw dropping scenery.
P is for Paris [Paris]
Peerless paragon of style, romance, creativity and cuisine: Paris
The unmistakable capital of France. The design is inspired by tree-lined boulevards thick with iconic landmarks, cultural superstars, brasseries, boutiques, chocolatiers and chic Parisiens. The rich colour palette is synonymous with the passion and romance the city is famous for.
Q is for Quimper [Quimper]
Quaint, Gothic, riverside, ancient, half-timbered Quimper
The oldest city in Brittany. The design is inspired by “kemper” denoting the junction of the very pretty pair of Steir and Odet rivers that the city sits astride. It has a Gothic-style Cathedral with soaring twin spires and a cobbled medieval quarter replete with half-timbered houses.
R is for Rome [Roma]
Romulus-born, gladiatorial, epic, gastronomic Rome
Italy’s capital was once the superpower ‘cuput mundi’ (capital of the world). The design is inspired by the fact that from humble beginnings, legandarily spawned by a wolf-suckled boy, Rome is today a fathomless treasure chest of over two millennia of European art and architecture.
S is for Stockholm [Stockholm]
Stylish, inclusive, glistening, multilingual Stockholm
Woven around glistening waterways Stockholm is known as one of the most inclusive and welcoming cities in the world. The design is inspired by the sleek, contemporary appeal of the modern city, perfectly balanced with the crooked cobblestones of Gamla Stan. The verdant colours reflect the Swedish people’s deep appreciation of nature.
T is for Turin [Torino]
Tailor-made, self-possessed, affluent, Alpine Turin
Turin, capital of the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, is a thriving business and cultural centre. The design is inspired by the self-possessed Turinese and their tree-lined city boulevards with baroque buildings housing art-nouveau cafes.
U is for Utrecht [Utrecht]
Urban, godly, convivial, canal-ringed Utrecht
Utrecht, the Netherlands' oldest urban centre. The design is inspired by the fact that for centuries it was its religious heart. The popping colours show that today it is a convivial university city ringed by a loop of eye-candy canals.
V is for Venice [Venezia]
Venerated, golden, sighing, inundated, floating Venice
Once a maritime empire with the audacity to build marble palaces on a lagoon, now a city paid for and yet inundated by tourists. The design is inspired by the views that have been drawing the tourists for centuries; silently gliding blood red gondolas, ornate sighing bridges, golden basilicas and streets made from water.
W is for Warsaw [Warszawa]
Wise, star-gazing, Phoenix from the flames Warsaw
The capital of Poland was once the ‘Paris of the North’ but became the ‘Phoenix City’, almost entirely rebuilt after the Second World War. This piece is inspired by the life of native Pole Nicolaus Copernicus, the founder of modern astronomy and by spring colours synonymous with new beginnings.
X is for Reykjavik [Reykjavík]
X-rated, oceanic, super-styled, otherworldly, wind-bitten but never shy
The world’s most Northerly capital is a stark, hedonistic, eerily beautiful, breath of fresh air of a city. The design is inspired by Kristjana’s intimate experience of her hometown.
Y is for York [York]
Yesteryear, Roman, Viking, gentleman York
A walled Northern English city with Roman roots, briefly raided by the Vikings then won back in 1066 and built into a prosperous medieval city. The design is inspired by the magnificent York Minster, surrounded by the evocative medieval streets - Stonegate and the Shambles - now home to contemporary shops and eateries.
Z is for Zagreb [Zágreb]
Zesty, red-roofed, transformative, strollable Zagreb
Croatia’s capital ranks among the oldest cities in Central Europe. The design is inspired by the city’s red-roof and cobblestone glory. The diverse colours, flora and birdlife recall the mish-mash of secessionist, neo-baroque and art deco buildings and nod to today’s vibrant, youthful street life scene.