Freunde von Freunden (Friends of Friends), the German online interview magazine, has managed to straddle both the digital and printed worlds this December, with the release of its first eponymous title.
Founded by Berlin-based design studio NoMoreSleep in 2009, the website invites readers into the personal spaces of Berlin creatives, which are documented through a series of photographs and interviews. Now the homes and working environments of the first 28 individuals featured on the website have been compiled into a 336-page book, accompanied by narratives in both English and German.
'We wanted to create a portrait of our friends and creative folks in non-linear careers, which you never usually see in the media', explains Frederik Frede, co-founder of both the website and NoMoreSleep. The result is a tightly edited, yet inexhaustible look into the lives of Berliners, in which the pared down elegance of the enviable high-ceilinged, low-rent residences, which permeate the city's districts, are beautifully portrayed.
Subjects range from artists such as Nomad, whose enigmatic shoot in his Löwenpalais apartment provides the book with its memorable cover, to art collector Christian Boros (who is also manager of Distanz, the book's publisher) whose home, a 1942 former Second World War air raid shelter, is littered with art by prominent artists such as Olafur Eliasson.
With both interviews and photographs generated by a circle of Berlin-based friends and acquaintances, the book successfully differentiates itself from the glut of similar 'personal space' models. Describing the unique 'friends of friends' concept, Adriano Sack notes in the book's foreword: 'anyone who is photographed in the book today will propose the next friend tomorrow; anyone who - as a reader - discovers the website today can be activated to serve as an interviewer tomorrow.'
The Freunde von Freunden website expanded worldwide in September this year, with permanent editorial teams set up in London, Paris, New York, Stockholm and Sao Paulo, as well as the addition of an iPad app. Plans are in the pipeline for more books.