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Borderline Branches 1

His phlegmatic manner emphasises the foreign accent, giving him the air of a visiting tourist. But Austrian born Christoph Radl, Milanese since 1977, is considered by the Japanese review Casa Burtus one of the three best Italian art directors. Radl approaches work with a glad heart,  because he does it with passion. For Christoph Radl, work is life and vice versa; you must have a vision and every project must be approached as if it were the first, giving it your all, like a beginner. These were all lessons he learned from maestro Sottsass, with whom he worked as Art Director from 1981, that seminal year marking the beginning of Memphis.  Radl’s résumé is impressive. Yet he remains serene and smiling, for although a “consummate professional” he knows how to have fun with the projects he chooses to realise. And it’s not so much the jobs he chooses but the people. His approach to graphic art and image creation is more that of the philosopher than the designer, the relations he enters into highly personalised and profound. “To design the image of a company”, he says, “you have to know its soul”. Although work is fun, Radl always remains detached. His job, he believes, is not to leave his own mark rather provide a service to make communication concepts proposed by the client clearly visible to the market. Clarity is a major objective. Radl, he says, is in the business of readability.
Radl became a graphic artist by chance. After finishing the Polytechnic School of Design in Milan, where he enrolled at the insistence of his parents who didn’t want to see him end up as a painter of mountain scenes hung on ski-resort walls – and because the course lasted only two years – Christoph started work for Hienz Weibel. He then got to know the group of young people who worked as associates of Sottsass. Friendships firmed, leading eventually to a meeting with the great man. “My professional, cultural, existential and philosophical training”, Radl declares “was very much...

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