SuperDuperStudio is a transdisciplinary design studio based in San Francisco, California. Partners Christopher Yamane (born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1990) and Matthew Johnson (born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1981) founded the studio in 2014; the two met in 2012 while enrolled in the graduate design program at California College of the Arts, San Francisco. The studio’s name is a take on the 1960s Italian avant-garde architecture firm SuperStudio. According to Yamane and Johnson, “Just as SuperStudio responded to the consequences of late modernism in the 1960s, SuperDuperStudio aims to confront some of the current formal and political constraints of late-capitalist industry.”
The two enjoy appropriating non-design methodologies, and like to design projects that result in unforeseeable outcomes. In addition to technical expertise, they are motivated by cultural theory, systems, and the scientific method. Outstanding projects to date include Saturn Glasses (2014), a playful line of glassware that remixes Italian and Scandinavian glass-making traditions; Wassiliscope (2013), a device named for Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky that translates light frequencies from a viewer’s visibility range into audible frequency, thus allowing one to “hear” color; and Satellites (2014), an experimental, 3D-printed mobile whose joints reflect one’s lunar positioning data at the moment of manufacture, making each piece both site and time specific.
Yamane is a graphic and industrial designer who earned his undergraduate degree in sculpture from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island in 2012—as well as the title “Valedictorian of Visual Art.” At the same time, he also studied glass at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) from 2009–12. He went on to earn his Master’s degree in industrial design at California College of the Arts in 2014. In addition to SuperDuperStudio, since 2014, Yamane has worked as an exhibit designer at the Exploratorium in San Francisco.
Johnson’s experience ranges from product design and development to communication design and arts-based community development projects. He studied architecture at The Cooper Union School, New York from 1999–2000. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in art history from Grinnell College, Iowa in 2004 and, in 2014, a Master’s degree in industrial design from California College of the Arts.