Pixelgarten – Catrin Altenbrandt & Adrian Nießler
»We asked ourselves: in which design office can we do what we do? The answer was obvious – it didn’t exist! So we set up our own.« The courage paid off. For about ten years, Catrin Altenbrandt and Adrian Nießler have been independent and successful with Pixelgarten. In April 2016, they exhibited in the shop windows at the Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe) in Berlin for the 100th anniversary of the porcelain manufacturer, Rosenthal. Rosenthal products were staged in geometric, structured arrangements. Spatial design, the translation of installations into photography, is an early feature of Pixelgarten. Altenbrandt and Nießler were already able to succeed with this approach during their studies at HfG Offenbach.
The array of their projects is broad, ranging from the classic design of printed matter and corporate design for companies, through art direction to product photography and illustration. Networks from their student days also play a role. For a Czech glass manufacturer, Pixelgarten designed a new corporate identity and for this project, the office of designer Sebastian Herkner, also a graduate of the HfG, was invited. Numerous exhibition catalogues and artist monographs can be found in Pixelgarten's portfolio.
Altenbrandt and Nießler began their studies in the art department (formerly Visual Communication) at the HfG in 1999. »The possibility of moving freely in all departments and fields of instruction« motivated Nießler to study in Offenbach. He appreciates the interdisciplinary exchange. »One gains something from all the fields and can make use of that.« At first, Altenbrandt was interested in the design department (formerly product design) before deciding on art. In 2007, Altenbrandt and Nießler jointly presented their thesis, which included the areas Experimental Spatial Concepts and Conceptual Design.
Since the spring of 2015, Pixelgarten has been sharing a studio workshop with other creative in the Gallusviertel district of Frankfurt. A fixed freelance employee complements the team. With clients who want to intervene too much in their design concepts, the two are self-confident: »The clients must respect the competencies of the designers.« Nießler sees a change occurring in some clients. They allow more freedom, without locking the designers into a »corporate identity framework.«