D.A.T.E. 2017: a manual print workshop with Kastaar
Ever wondered who made the latest TIA magazine look so amazing? The D.A.T.E. visitors, all talented creatives themselves, sure did. They met Kastaar, the magazine’s graphic design duo, for a printing workshop with an analogue press. I joined them as This is Antwerp local and graphic arts fan.
Who is Kastaar?
Kastaar’s An Eisendrath and Stoffel Van Den Bergh both had a background in product design before getting into graphic design. Their collaboration started with a shared soft spot for “old paraphernalia”, as An says herself. The collection of letter cabinets and authentic presses from the 1950s predate the knowledge to actually use them. By watching YouTube videos, they taught themselves how to print the old way.
Kastaar now uses manual techniques, mixed with modern digital tools. An and Stoffel still design themselves, but also produce for others, and give workshops to share the passion for oldschool printing. Only last weekend they won a silver European Design Award for the entire concept they created for Museum Plantin-Moretus’ reopening in September 2016. Stoffel built “press bikes” for this event, with which visitors could print updated versions of 16th-century illustrations.
Graphic design heaven
Kastaar’s workspace is located at the Transvaalstraat, my favourite street in the Zurenborg district (which has recently become my hood). This street is full of splendorous, extravagant architecture.
Though we only got as far as the backyard and the aforementioned workspace, this was plenty to feast our eyes on. The presses and rows and rows of letter cabinets are already impressive. On top of that, Kastaar’s atelier is decorated with pretty much everything they ever made. All walls are covered with printed posters, while postcards and old advertisements fill up the blank space. The D.A.T.E. crew was struck silent, trying to absorb it all.
Workshop in 30°C
In the workshop, we combined all the ways Antwerp is written in the four languages represented in our group on one poster. Unfortunately, there was no Hebrew type for Marianne, which would certainly have given a beautiful contrast. Together with Laura (Daily Breakfast), Marianne took it to herself to lay out the letters. Not an easy job, because the plan needed an awful lot of them. The unusual 30°C weather did not make it any easier to focus.
After inking the letters with red and black, José skillfully turned the press handle to print the first poster. Only 19 more to go! Every time, we had to ink the letters again, taking quite some perseverance. Combining the talents from Kastaar and the D.A.T.E. dream team, the result looks fantastic (see Marianne’s Instagram for a sneak peek).
Text and pics by Tine Van den Poel De Clippeleire