News

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Our Branding project Omakase Room by Savvy Studio in LS:N Global.

September 12, 2017

New York – The recently opened restaurant follows the Japanese ‘omakase’ tradition, which roughly translates to ‘to entrust’, with the chef choosing which dishes to serve to customers. The interior of Omakase Room was designed by branding agency Savvy Studio, which collaborated with ceramic artist Perla Valtierra and perfumer Barnabé Fillion to create a scented ceramic disc, which is gifted to each diner. The colour and scent of the plate-like pottery change over time, reflecting the cultural significance of the seasons in Japan. The Japanese acknowledge five seasons – spring, summer, autumn, winter and doyo, a transitional period of 18 or 19 days that falls between each of the other seasons. For another example of a brand that is elevating the dining experience see our Briefing report.
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Savvy Studio in Coolhunter

Savvy Studio, el arte de permanecer en constante cambio.

Los orígenes de Savvy Studio se encuentran en Monterrey, fundado por Rafael Prieto en 2010 con servicios de branding y diseño gráfico. A casi ocho años de su fundación, éste estudio se ha transformado en una firma multidisciplinaria que incluye diseño industrial, arquitectura e interiorismo.

Ahora con una oficina en Nueva York, liderada por Rafael Prieto y en Ciudad de México, dirigida por Bernardo Domínguez. Un estudio que ha sobresalido por propuestas estéticas sobrias, elegantes y cuidadas hasta el más mínimo detalle. Con el encargo de algunos proyectos en Nueva York, comenzaron a tener presencia en el ámbito internacional con el diseño de tiendas, hoteles en Brooklyn y una pop up en el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Los Angeles.

La única constante es el aprendizaje, entender que está pasando en la cultura y el contexto de las ciudades sobre todo en el arte y el diseño. Como estudio te toca estar en constante cambio, es un proceso de maduración entendiendo nuevas tendencias y trabajando con gente más joven, un partir y compartir conocimientos que llevamos desarrollando a lo largo del tiempo.

Con el objetivo de generar experiencias, el estudio no sólo propone logotipo o empaque, sino generar la tienda, la iluminación y todo aquello que dicte la necesidad de cada proyecto.

Fuimos expandiéndonos e invitamos a más gente a formar parte del equipo que nos ayudara a completar esa experiencia y ahondar en el significado de vivir el espacio. Pensar siempre entre el cliente y la gente que lo va a vivir; un proceso de conceptualizar, es buscar ideas que vayan mas allá de referencias y tengan que ver con el contexto y el lugar donde se desarrolla una historia.

Actualmente trabajan en una experiencia de producto en un hotel ubicado en el Zócalo de la Ciudad de México, a la par del desarrollo de los restaurantes Rebecca´s y una galería en Nueva York; también un libro de cocina y de arquitectura, así como proyectos para una marca de perfumes, dulces artesanales y cosméticos. Su interés es continuar creciendo globalmente y ahondar en el tema del hospitality, hotelería y proyectos más completos. Por el momento, desarrollan una línea de mobiliario que presentarán en Design Week Mexico 2017 y actividades que llevarán a cabo durante el mes de diseño en Casa Bosques por anunciarse próximamente.

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Savvy Studio in 99 Percent Lifestyle

August 24, 2017

STARTING A DESIGN AND BRANDING AGENCY WITH SAVVY STUDIOS Starting a studio with Savvy Studios and their Creative Director Rafael Prieto. Starting any studio is a very challenging task but this is something Rafael has perfected with his studio. To give you some context on what Savvy Studios do, Savvy Studio is a Branding & Architecture design studio based in New York and México. Savvy’s expertise involves working around the globe on different ventures including boutique hotels, restaurants, retail spaces, art galleries and museums. This article gives a brief bit of insight into this studio and how they set the company up. I also wanted to quickly announce that I have now added a subscription feature for the 99 Percent Lifestyle magazine. All you need to do is click the word Subscribe in the menu bar above and chose which subscription you would like to purchase. You won’t be charged until three weeks before the next volume of the magazine is out too. STARTING A DESIGN AND BRANDING AGENCY WITH SAVVY STUDIOS Can you give me the history of the studio and how it started out? We started out almost 7 years ago, Bernardo, Pablo and I. Before, we were all living in different places, I was in San Francisco, Pablo in Madrid and Bernardo in London, but somehow we ended up connecting through life, ideas and work. I meet Pablo in Berlin when I was commissioned to work on a branding and interior design project. I was looking for someone to collaborate with who was living in Europe and we got connected, we met, we worked together and it just made sense. After Berlin I went back to Mexico where I met with Bernardo in a coffee shop, he was writing an article about a chocolate project I had. He was coming back from St Martins, we shared ideas and here we are now. At the beginning it was more about Mexico and how could we bring all these interesting and good things that were happening out of there and that we were enjoying, and evolve it into a studio with designers from all over, with Mexico as our home but doing design projects with a global approach. I and Pablo moved to New York to open the studio two years ago, we were hired by a sunglasses brand to design their shop in LA. Then in 2 months, we got a hotel project and things have luckily and organically been quite busy, a great type of busy. When did you get your first big break? I couldn’t specify how. We launched the website after 2 years of work and all the projects became interesting for some people or media, I guess it all happened in 2012. What are you currently working on? We are working with two restaurants in New York, Tribeca, they are going to be really nice; the branding, packaging and whole visual experience for a tea company; a gallery in the Lower East Side NY; creating the whole concept and visual identity for a Parisian skin care line; and a hotel in Plaza Zocalo Mexico City. We are also in the process of developing the studio’s own furniture line, it will be very simple and all about materials, technique and function. What advice would you give to people looking at perusing their dream career? Understand yourself, your strengths, your skills and weakness, be aware of your substance and share it. What does the term ‘being creative’ mean to you, what’s your personal definition? Creative, creating, exploring, everyone could be creative in their own way, it’s a bit of exploring something else within ourselves and then being able to materialise it into something. That is the hard part—how to translate an idea into the right piece, feeling or aesthetic. Sometimes it’s quite easy, sometimes it can get complicado! Who is your idol and why? Bob Dylan… A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall. What is the biggest creative challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do it? Last year, we designed a new shopping experience for Zara in their future shops from 2018, it was new for us, challenging but it went so well. What advice would you offer to someone starting out in your field of work? Confidence on one’s ideas, humbleness and the right amount of flexibility will make things smoother. If you could go back and tell your 18-year old self one thing, what would it be and why? I dunno, I pretty much believe everything that happened has gotten me here. What do you do in your spare time outside of work? I have this side project, I make chocolate. I use some of my time on that, then the usual, exercise, read and eat and drink wine with friends. I like over the weekend to check galleries and museums, most of my inspiration comes from it. If you would like to see the best products and pieces of entertainment in the world right now, recommended to you by Savvy Studios then check out this weeks newsletter here!
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Homework in Archdaily

August 17, 2017

Ubicado en la plaza del Monumento a la Revolución, Homework es un espacio de co-working integrado a través de ambientes de trabajo, áreas de reuniones, minioficinas, cafeterías, terrazas y lugares de descanso. Distribuido en 3 niveles, hemos diseñado ambientes amigables, cómodos, flexibles y profesionales equipados con tecnología de primer nivel que facilitan una convivencia casual y dinámica para la comunidad de creadores que lo habitan. Los espacios de Homework fueron diseñados a partir de las necesidades y personalidades de cada cliente, es decir, la diversidad espacial responde a los habitantes, eligiendo un diseño abierto que propicie ambientes colaborativos a partir del concepto de co-working donde algunos espacios enfatizan más la privacidad cómo son las oficinas individuales, el salón de proyecciones, talleres y salas de conferencia así como otros espacios más comunales como son las áreas de trabajo abierto, auditorio y cafetería. Metal y concreto en combinación con materiales naturales como madera generan un ambiente cómodo y de gran valor estético. A través del mobiliario se crean espacios versátiles de trabajo con un enfoque de diseño práctico que permite variantes de uso y configuraciones modulares.
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VERANO SOLAR CON PABLO LIMON.

August 15, 2017

La segunda entrega de #VeranoSolar presenta a nuestro director de arquitectura Pablo Limón en NY.

Dirección y concepto: Pablo García Contreras
Música original: Hunter Taylor-Martinez
Dirección y concepto: Pablo García Contreras

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Verano Solar con Rafa Prieto.

La segunda entrega de #VeranoSolar presenta a nuestro director Rafa Prieto en NY.

Dirección y concepto: Pablo García Contreras
Música original: Hunter Taylor-Martinez
Dirección y concepto: Pablo García Contreras

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Savvy x CBB Monthly book review

July 14, 2017

Shopping in Jail Ideas, Essays, and Stories for the increasingly Real Twenty-First Century With a subtle, dry sense of humor, and an introvert’s eye for detail, Douglas Coupland incisively tackles the ironies of modern life in this collection of nonfiction micro-essays. From time-traveling musings to a bullet list of thoughts on porn and dating in the digital age, Coupland smartly and rather entertainingly gives his take on those parts of life that sit below the level of consciousness in modern life—the things that exist around you but that you never really think about. Most of the essays are a couple of pages at most, but hold enough information to provide a quick bite of food for thought. Con un humor seco y sutil, y la atención al detalle de un introvertido, Douglas Coupland aborda de manera incisiva, las ironías de la vida moderna en esta colección de micro-ensayos. De reflexiones sobre viajes en el tiempo a una lista de pensamientos sobre el porno y las citas en la era digital, Coupland relata su opinión sobre las partes de la vida que existen de manera subconsciente en la vida moderna, aspectos que existen a nuestro alrededor pero a los cuales no pensamos. La mayoría de los ensayos son de pocas páginas, pero contienen suficiente información para dar algo sobre que reflexionar.
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Avocaderia coming soon

July 4, 2017

We worked on the branding and visual image for this unique concept in New York. Whole project coming soon.
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Our founder and creative director, Rafael Prieto talks about our Casa Bosques chocolates with Saturdays NYC

June 21, 2017

Rafael Prieto

Casa Bosques Chocolates

Some people can be transported to a specific place in time when they smell a particular scent. For Rafael Prieto, the creative mind behind Casa Bosques chocolates, taste does the same thing.

Interview by Annette Lin — Images by Miguel Yatco

Guided by memory and intuition, Rafael Prieto (aka Rafa)—the co-founder of Casa Bosques Chocolates and the creative studio Savvy—uses chocolate as a way to capture moments in his life. Each flavor he produces is no accident but, instead, speaks to a place and an atmosphere. The result is dark, almost-ebony bars of chocolate that are layered, intellectual, smooth and surprising. None of them are overly sweet—Prieto’s palate doesn’t run that way—and they come wrapped first in gold foil and then Casa Bosques’ clean, pared-back packaging. We speak to Prieto about how he came up with them.

annette lin: Let’s get straight to it—how did you start making chocolate?

rafael prieto: About six years ago I was traveling in Europe and tasting many chocolates, dark chocolates, and at the time in Mexico everything was made with milk and was imported, with a lot of sugar. And I was like, why don’t we have dark chocolate? We have really good cacao. We’re the source for all these people making chocolate, but we don’t have it.

So from there I started, and I thought, yes, I would like to have my own chocolates. That’s why I do branding—because I like to work and develop ideas and new ideas and ways of telling stories. And it’s not just for Mexico—Ecuador and Venezuela are also amazing sources of cacao, but no one was making dark chocolate.

al: How did you get the ball rolling on that?

rp: I started looking for different chocolatiers. I found someone in the north of Mexico and we got along really well. He has this amazing technique, and he’s interested in making chocolate and the making it the way it should be. We’re not making raw chocolate. We’re about using human intervention and using the right technique to make the cacao refined and soft.

al: Where do you get your inspiration for the flavors from?

rp: Traveling.

Every chocolate represents a moment or a place. We started with pink peppercorns from Mexico, the sea salt with Venezuelan chocolate; the curry—they all represent random times in life. I was literally living in Berlin and eating a lot of coconut curry at the time. And then we were working on this project in Kuwait and there, no matter who you are, everyone gets together in the center of the city and drinks cardamom. From the richest man to the poorest, they just go to the same place and nothing matters, because they’re drinking tea. So we have this cardamom flavor that comes from that experience of getting together and drinking.

The wasabi and almond flavor came from when I was in Japan. And the puffed quinoa, coconut and turmeric one comes from your childhood, when you used to eat chocolate with a crunch, with the puffed rice, and the idea was, how can we achieve that and bring it to what’s happening now? So we switched to quinoa and used turmeric because of its healthy properties. But it’s all about places and moments and experiences, and it’s very intuitive. Sometimes nothing happens to me in six months so I don’t do much. And then things happen, and I end up doing three in six months—so it depends on how life is going.

al: What is your favorite part of the process?

rp: I like it all, but I think—that feeling I get in my stomach when I actually make the flavor happen.

Sometimes I have one in mind—for example, I’ve been trying to make one with cheese—which is pretty much impossible. I tried it with parmesan and camembert, and it tastes great, but it won’t last on the shelf for more than two weeks. But when one happens and it tastes good, I really enjoy it. Because sometimes it takes a while to get there.

al: Tell me about the ingredients you use.

rp: I’m not tied to one type of chocolate. I switch different bases. At the moment we have cacao from the Dominican Republic, but we’re probably going to change to Venezuela and Colombia.

I had an evolution a year and a half ago and also switched from normal cane sugar to coconut sugar, so it was better for you. The way I eat chocolate is to feel cozy at 6pm and indulge at night, when you’re treating yourself and you’re being nice to yourself—and I wanted to make that even better.

al: Which one is your favorite right now?

rp: I always have my current thing that I’m really into. Right now I’m making this cashew chocolate with rosemary and cardamom. I like the cardamom one, but this week I’ve been into the rosemary. I go back and forth.

al: Do you have any memorable moments around food?

rp: Yes. Most of my greatest moments have happened around food. Family-wise, being with friends, being at this huge dinner and sharing, laughing a little with good wine—those are the things that I love. ■

Annette Lin is a New York City-based writer who covers fashion, art, design and travel. Find more of her work at www.annettelin.tumblr.com.
Casa Bosques Chocolates is a New York City- and Mexico City-based chocolate brand that is currently sold at Saturdays NYC's New York locations.

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Savvy Studio en L’Officiel México

November 17, 2016

Savvy Studio in the pages of L'Officiel México in its November publication. From Savvy Studio, Rafael Prieto and Bernardo Domínguez create design and branding projects that transcend borders.
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Études new pop up designed by Savvy Studio

October 11, 2016

We teamed up with the French brand Études to design their new pop-up installation at MOCA | The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The sleek and utilitarian space will be open from October 8 to January 8, 2017 with a curated selection of their Autumn - Winter 2016 collection.
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Savvy featured in Monocle magazine #93

May 12, 2016

Savvy Studio featured in Monocle Magazine #93 as one of the three best branding and graphic-design studios in México. More info: Monocle.com
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Savvy at HOW Design Live 2016

March 30, 2016

Our Co-Founder and Creative Director Rafael Prieto C is a speaker at HOW Design Live (Atlanta – May 20th) In his session, he will discuss the process of creating your own story while attaining authenticity and self-confidence, as well as embracing your strengths and weaknesses to have them work in your favor.

more info: howdesignlive.com
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