For A Life Extraordinary in Milan and on Moooi.com, 3D artist and designer Ada Sokół created digital worlds that add another multi-sensorial layer to the exhibition. We sat with Ada, and asked her all about her work, who she admires, what inspires her, and what A Life Extraordinary means to her.
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Hi Ada, nice to meet you! You’ve got quite the resume. Working on amazing projects worldwide. Can you introduce yourself to our readers and explain what you do?
I have been a designer and artist for eight years right now. So, quite long, but I never planned to be working the way I am working now. It just happened organically. I have always been interested in visual culture and the increase in interest in digital graphics. Paintings, illustrations, everything surrounding visual culture. It all happened very quickly, and I just rolled into 3D art. I am still young with everything happening. I had my first global campaign at 24, which was crazy. Before 2020, I mostly worked from home, just me and my computer, and suddenly everything snowballed, career-wise.
How was that for you? That everything in your career happened so fast?
I’m thrilled about it, actually. I never had much time to think about what I really wanted in my career. Everything just happened, and I realise that I’m doing something that I always loved, and I can do it every day. So yeah, I’m pretty happy about how it all came to be.
And now for A Life Extraordinary, you are working on spectacular 3D visuals. But that isn’t the first time our paths cross, is it?
Yes! I have been a huge fan of Moooi for years. About five years ago, I worked with Gentle monster. And Moooi and Gentle Monster collaborated on a sunglasses collection. I worked on the creative campaign for the collection. It was a great project, because everything that both brands do is extraordinary, and I absolutely love that.
What can you tell our readers about what you are making for A Life Extraordinary?
Well, you have got these fantastical animals, the Extinct Animals were introduced a few years ago, with new animals that have been added throughout the years. And in all my personal works, include insects or other animals. I absolutely admire everything that is connected to flora and fauna. So, what I can say about what I am making, is probably that it is visual and connected to the Extinct Animals and bringing them back to life.
How do you start your work? How do you begin a visual?
It always depends on the project. Because if it is a personal one, I will try to get deep into the concept and meaning of everything. So, my personal works are very conceptual. But if I am working or collaborating with someone, it depends on the purpose of the project or campaign. We will start with the direction and story, with visual mood boards, choosing colours, etc. After that I work on models, preparation, and setting up the scene for the animation. After that rendering and post-production. So, it is a lengthy process overall.
How have people responded to your work? And was there something you wanted to achieve or say with your work for Moooi?
Most people are surprised. Because I can exhibit in completely different ways than I used to exhibit. But surprised in a wonderful way. For my project for Moooi, I wanted to show the Extinct Animals in the most beautiful way possible. And in a bit of an uncanny way as well. Let’s say everyone can believe that dogs are real animals, but we know some animals cannot exist. So, with this work, I wanted to do a trick on people, letting them think the animals are real. But when they look closely, they will realise they are actually fantastical animals.
To come up with the wonderful worlds you create, you need lots of inspiration. Can you tell our readers what inspires you?
Mostly nature, I think. For example, for my work, uh, with the moth, called Luna(r), for like two years I was obsessed with different moths and how they look in close ups. And looking into stories about them as well. Most are lured by the moon and light, that is why I called the project Luna(r). I also read a lot, which can be very inspiring, other times it is simply a visual object that catches my eye. There is not just one process for me to get inspired.
Are there any trends in the art and/or design world you are following right now?
I was living in Paris a while ago, and in Paris every weekend you can go into plenty of galleries and there will always be something new. So, in that way, I followed trends. But I moved away, and that is why I am not as up to date as I used to be. But I follow trends online as much as I can, for instance, NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and technological developments there. This new aspect of culture, really. For instance, I think art should not be just perceived in galleries only. When you perceive a photograph, it rarely gives you the whole feeling, but with technical information it is easy to discover absolutely everything there is to discover. There is a lot of interest in my work as NFTs. I still don’t have them, but somehow, they are selling. So, that is good because that also means I can continue doing what I have been doing, but I still have environmental and sustainable problems with NFTs. It would be great to make them more environmentally friendly, which I know is in development.
Do you have any idols?
Plenty! One of my biggest inspirations for years is Neri Oxman. She is a designer and combines design, biology, computing, and materials engineering. I absolutely admire her work. It is beautiful and exceedingly difficult. Her work is very connected to how to help people or how to help the environment. She is on the top of my list of idols, for sure. I also admire a lot of Polish illustrators and painters, such as Wojtek Siudmak. His style has been a huge inspiration to me, ever since I was a child. In terms of fashion, definitely Iris van Herpen. But also, Miuccia Prada, I really admire her concepts. But also, Gentle Monster, whom I used to work with. Their concepts are so amazing. I admire Giger, although his work is very dark, and I prefer lighter themes. I can go on and on with naming idols because I admire so many people.
Besides your project with Moooi, are you focussing on anything else currently?
I have been rejecting other commercial clients right now because I want to focus on this project. But my more personal work continues. I have a few exhibitions in the upcoming months, and that really motivates me to finish personal works. As well as creating new artworks and focus on NFTs.
How do you see you and Moooi complement each other?
Moooi has a history of working closely with artists and providing space and opportunity for them, which I think is amazing. It is a new platform, or media to showcase design and art. This is the first for me to be involved in an interior design project, and I absolutely love the space in Milan and the fact that my work connects to that and adds another sensorial layer. It really is a dream come true for me. I have always wanted to go to Salone, just to visit, and now I get to be a part of an exhibition. This means a lot to me, and I am incredibly happy about it.
In all that Moooi does, creates and envisions we contribute to ‘a life extraordinary’. What does a life extraordinary mean to you?
A Life Extraordinary to me is about freedom of creation. It is about having balance between emotions and surrounding myself with extraordinary people. But freedom of creation is the most important one, because for me that is extraordinary, and it is what makes me happy.