Mats Horbach and Anne Ligtenberg work together and independently out of a large airy studio in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The duo work mostly on social design commissions and on personal projects.   “We are interested in things that are usually considered normal,” Horbach says. “We like to take out elements and manipulate them using a different point of view.”

At the moment they are looking at oft-used words about new media and discovering what people think all the jargon really means. “It is amazing how we use these words all the time, but in reality few of us properly understand,” Horbach says. “Words like byte, Internet, server, software*. In our research we give these words a more human definition and then try to visualize them in an intuitive or analogue way.”

Most of their analogue visualizations are made from simple pieces of paper. “We prefer to not add extra materials,” Horbach says. Spreading across the studio walls are a lot of geometrical shapes and graphic lines - 2D experiments translated into 3D forms.

The pair also do a lot of research on colour and material experiments to develop their own specific approach to visualization. “We always implement this research in our commercial projects,” says Horbach.

For another project for the health sector they turn the tables by defining the “norm” around the special and specific needs of patients. For a child suffering from cystic fibrosis, a condition that makes eating slow and unbearable, they designed cutlery including a fork for family members with miniature prongs.

“The idea was to make eating as slow for the healthy family members as it had to be for the child,” says Horbach. “A very slow pace becomes the norm rather than the exception and the child isn’t left eating alone. The point is to design ways for us to adapt to people who are not able to keep up with what is considered normal.”

* Byte = Bits by eight. One byte is the smallest unit of information on the computer.

Internet = The biggest public place in the world that is owned by no one.

Server = A powerful computer that exists to serve our smaller computers

and gives them what they ask for.

Software = What you work with, but can’t be touched.