2019—A year in Review
From international interviews to Berlin-based events, relive some of Friends of Friends’ favorite moments from the past year.
Not only a year of international school strikes, endless Brexit delays, K-pop’s rise to international fame, the advent of the algorithm, 2019 was also the year Friends of Friends celebrated its tenth birthday! We’ve come a long way since we first started out in 2009. While we continue to strive for authentic storytelling, we are increasingly expanding our focus so that we can cover stories from across the globe, and produce content that speaks to the turbulent times we find ourselves living in. As we head into our ‘terrible teens,’ whatever they may entail, we invite you to come along on the journey with us for more insightful stories, perspectives and, ultimately, for more uplifting content for you to enjoy.
Places we visited:
Our favorite features
While forever evolving as a magazine and agency, at its core Friends of Friends remains committed to profiling inspirational creatives from around the globe who explore issues relevant to contemporary society. From Christine Sun Kim who told us about how her artwork celebrates Deaf culture and campaigns for greater visibility for the Deaf community, to Indonesian designer Don Aretino who explores his paradoxical identity as a gay Muslim through fashion our stories in 2019 have largely focused on individuals addressing socio-political issues through their respective art forms.
As well as interviewing burgeoning artists, we also enjoyed speaking to established creatives who have made great contributions to their respective fields. For example, it was a privilege to speak to renowned experimental musician Laurie Anderson about how her practice has evolved since she first started performing in the ’70s.
Our collaborative stories
Friends of Friends always loves to collaborate with like-minded brands to produce cutting-edge content celebrating shared brand values. 2019 has seen us join forces with a range of international organizations including Unseen, Closed, Reform, Windsor, Classpass, Dynaudio, BMW Culture, Siemens Home Appliances, MINI, Zumtobel, Euroboden, and Indorse. As a new decade approaches, we’re excited to see who we’ll partner up with next!
The Sooner Now
The Sooner Now, our joint initiative with MINI Germany that explores questions surrounding urban futures, has seen many exciting developments over 2019. From the launch of the TSN website and podcast series to the day-long events in Berlin and Munich, the platform has provided much food for thought throughout the year, and we are excited to see how it develops in 2020.
This year, Friends of Friends has continued to produce 25hours’ Companion Magazine, chronicling cultural affairs and interviewing the individuals that shape our cities. We love taking the opportunity to share some of Companion’s articles on Friends of Friends, and we’re particularly pleased to publish a story spotlighting the female artists making noise—and changing the game—in Berlin’s music scene.
Friends of Friends in motion
The Friends of Friends video team has been hard at work throughout the year capturing unique and inspiring stories on film. Some of the best content they have produced includes a video portrait of Valencia-based designer Jaime Hayon, a filmic insight into the dark, macabre mind of Johannesburg-based photographer Roger Ballen as part of our Visually Speaking collaboration with Unseen, as well as their portrait of fashion designer Nicholas Daley for our partnership with Danish loudspeaker company Dynaudio. We also loved their depictions of international chefs Marente van der Valk, Sophia Rudolph, Linda Granebring, and Christina Hjeltnes which were created as part of Culinary Encounters, a content series created in collaboration with Siemens Home Appliances.
Our Friends Space is the physical manifestation of our digital platform. The design-driven space facilitates forward-thinking ideas, creating a platform for members of our extended network to present their work and meet other like-minded individuals. Highlights this year have included the second full-day festival we’ve held as part of The Sooner Now event series, hosting an evening promoting the launch Berlin brand Tylko’s new shelving systems, and inviting our close friend Noah Slee back to celebrate the release of his latest EP. If you couldn’t make it and would like to find out more about Noah’s work, take a look at the profile we produced in which he talks to us about how his indigenous roots have influenced his musical development. Friends of Friends also hosted the film symposium Cortisol in collaboration with Los Angeles-based actor and director Jessie-Ann Kohlmann. The event looked at how film can be used to explore human suffering and reconciliation and was also followed up by an interview on our online magazine.
Most liked Instagram pictures
So now you’ve seen a few of our favorite things, let’s find out some of yours. Take a look below at the eight most popular images on our Instagram feed to find out what Friends of Friends readers have been liking and sharing this year.
Our favorite photographers
Quality photography is our bag—and this year we’ve collaborated with some great photographers from all around the world. A special mention goes to Jenny Penas, our inhouse photographer who is currently on maternity leave. We’re hoping to feature more of her stunning images in the near future.
Our favorite mixtapes
What did 2019 sound like? Throughout the year, we invited various creative individuals to curate playlists of their favorite tracks for our mixtape series. Ranging from the electronic beats mixed by Singaporean DJ Marco Weibel, to the ‘yé-yé’ noir’ tracks selected by Berlin-based music journalists Laura Aha and Jördis Hagemeier, our mixtapes have encompassed a wide range of genres and given insights into the listening habits of some of our favorite artists.