Pulkra is approaching concrete with an unprecedented take. The brand wanted to establish strong guidelines from the start to convey a daring and bold aesthetic. The emerging design studio Stormo, formed by the duo Elena Calabrò and Michael Carion, was asked to set the stage for this new vision.
“We are both architects,” says Michael, “so it is natural for us to think about spaces and environments.” Elena continues, “We started building a universe for Pulkra, something completely different and very personal.”
Most of the references for this complex and evolving environment came from architectural theories like Brutalism and Metabolism. These architectural movements provided a framework, a starting point to build on. Concrete and brutalist architecture are intrinsically connected, to the extent that the material itself has become synonymous with the current aesthetic. Metabolism in architecture, although less known, was originally theorized in post-war Japan. Metabolist Architects argued that buildings were not static constructions but could be ever-changing and limitless. The Japanese word for metabolism also means renewal or replacement, in a “out with the old, on with the new” kind of way. For Pulkra, this echoes the revolutionary approach to seriality and production undertaken by the company.
Stormo then layered many other principles and aesthetics, such as the sensation of megalophobia and the comfort of an undisclosed familiarity, to create something almost futuristic and out-worldly. Great focus was placed on researching sensations and feelings. Concrete is ubiquitous, so Pulkra took the chance to rethink it.
“Concrete is old; humans have used this material for centuries, and it’s still the most prevalent construction material on Earth. We wanted to acknowledge this because doing so gave us space to say something new.”
To complete the work, the role of graphic design in building this aesthetic has been crucial. Stormo decided to ask Studio Iknoki to design a typeface that could encapsulate the vision of Pulkra and then develop an identity around it. The result is undoubtedly unique.