At work with: Ricarda Messner, publisher, Sofa

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This morning we’re getting coffee in Berlin with Ricarda Messner, publisher of magCulture favourite Flaneur, and we’re chatting about her latest publishing project, Sofa. Unlike Flaneur, which is very much about exploring a physical place, Sofa is about the digital world and both the cyber and face-to-face conversations that we have every day. Its ironic and loud visual language has already proven to be divisive amongst Flaneur fans and readers. We catch up with Ricarda the week after the release of her second publishing venture.

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Sofa and Flaneur, ready to be sent out.

Where are you today?
Right at my desk in my own apartment, I live and work together. Sometimes it takes a lot of discipline to not work out of bed. Today I’ve successfully accomplished that mission.

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Some green trees to loom at (very calming!)

What can you see from the window?
A lot of green trees and my street ends with the Schloss Charlottenburg which is a tourist attraction. So I can see some tourists walking equipped with cameras towards the castle.

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Trying to keep things organized

Are you a morning or evening person?
Morning! I don’t even need an alert to wake up around 7-7.30am which is also not always a good thing.

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Which magazine do you first remember?
Bravo – the German youth culture publication during the 90’s. Full of trash, pop culture and including the first naked bodies I’ve ever seen in a magazine. They were big on sex education.

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What’s your favourite magazine this morning?
Some self-promotion right there: Flaneur and Sofa. But I am actually re-reading again the new US Playboy which had a re-launch last year. Great morning content haha.

What is your favourite physical sofa this morning?
My very own black leather sofa/couch I inherited from my mum. It’s been around since the early 90’s but looks brand new and is the most comfortable sofa according to everyone who sat down on it.

What is your favourite digital sofa this morning (and what is a digital sofa?!)
A digital sofa is everything that connects you with people who are not physically close to you. Text messages, whatsapp, FaceTime, skype sessions, chatrooms… so my favourite digital sofa this morning would be my whatsapp conversation with my very close friend who is about to have her baby and sending me hourly updates :)

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Who is the Sofa audience – is it the teenagers and digital natives it features or the art, design and culture enthusiasts likely to read Flaneur?
Caia (my co-editor) and I are focussing Sofa on one special topic with every issue. Since we are always very intrigued by the future and prophecies, we started off with the future of our society, the teens of today. Although we created a lot of the content with teenagers themselves, it is not a teen mag and everyone who is interested in what they have to say can pick it up. The next issue will be dedicated to the theme of cyberlove.

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To what extent is Sofa’s content and design ironic, and to what extent is it serious? How do you mediate the two?
Our big aim is to mix high and low culture, creating an emphatic space where both can co-exist like in our everyday lives. Also embracing the power of trash and pop culture and actually playing with the presumptions of how one defines usually something glossy and trashy looking – often assuming there is no profound content behind it.

We believe in and aimed at producing some serious, thought-provoking contributions but also believing in the power of humor and not taking ourselves too seriously at times. Our great designers from Studio Yukiko definitely went for the look and feel of teenagehood for Sofa: it’s colorful, poppy and is supposed to irritate you. Issue two will be speaking design wise more between the lines of a cyber aesthetic but still underlining our above described general philosophy.

What are you most looking forward to this week?
We are about to wrap up the Flaneur Moscow production!

What are you least looking forward to this week?
Some problems or obstacles needing to be solved that I don’t know about yet.

What will you be doing after this chat?
Getting to work!

sofa-universe.com

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