Preserving Beauty In Ice

German Design Duo Use Frozen Flowers to Depict a Romantic Tale of Love and Loss

Lenny Grade and Christian Diekmann form the German art and design house “Grade Die”. The two got to know each other while studying design at university in Cologne, and they have worked together ever since. What began as a collaborative student project became an established artistic connection between the two, proving to be complimentary to each other’s aesthetic and workflow. Deikmann remarks “we have a very good friendship, teaming up was one of our best decisions!”

A recent project from the duo that caught our eye is an enchanting music video, Last Happy End by Alice Rose, a Danish singer-songwriter known for her experimental electronic sound and breathy vocals. Both the visuals from Grade Die and the musical content of Alice Rose match perfectly, “Our concept focuses on underlining it’s feeling without getting to dominant,” says the duo, “Our intention has always been to keep everything minimalistic and to use the frozen flower bouquet as an abstract symbol that blooms into full sight, just as Alice herself opens up both vocally and instrumentally at the end of the song.” The romantic yet dark scenes of the video, paired with the sound of the monitored heartbeat that explores love, loss, and the preservation of beauty.

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She lives in Amsterdam because someone told her that in this city it is highly forbidden to use any kind of PA system if you are a street musician. She thought about this for a while and as a result she started performing electronic silent concerts on the streets having her crowd wear headphones. That is how Alice is. We felt the same vibe when she asked us if we would be interested in producing her music video.

We caught up with the filmmakers to find out more about the project.

The Plus: How did you come to work with Alice Rose?
Christian Diekmann & Lenny Grade (Grade Die):
A few years ago we went to an event where Alice performed in a small basement in front of a big crowd. And there she was, a woman performing her songs in a blue evening dress wrapped up in caution tape holding a violin in one hand and a plastic play toy chainsaw in the other. We started chatting with her after her performance and ended up in planning a photo shoot. One thing led to another.

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TP: Were the use of flowers a reference to her name?
GD:
No, it was not. The idea of using flowers as our main symbol was actually inspired by a line out of the song’s lyrics “there were flowers in the air, rainbows everywhere“.

TP: Were you given a specific brief for this video?
GD:
We started our work listening to Alice’s song in a loop for one whole day. After that we came up with our personal intention of the song: “A monitored heartbeat pulsates slowly until it peacefully falls asleep. The life of a beloved one has reached its end. And while fading away a new memory is born preserving all of its beauty. Like flowers frozen in ice.”

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TP: What was the ice like to work with?
GD:
The ice was the one thing we expected to be an easy task but it turned out to be the most difficult one! Our options were limited and we only had our very own kitchen freezer. We accepted the challenge and started to research on how freezes a clear block of ice at home, only to find out that this is a really difficult task and 95% of the information on the internet regarding this topic are just false.In the end – after four months of nothing but failure – we got lucky and found a small group of hardcore whisky fans who did develop some great ideas within the field of freezing clear ice blocks at home.

TP: Were there any off-camera mistakes/funny incidents?
GD:
Yes! Working with ice is one big funny incident. It frustrated and fascinated us all the time. If you ever get bored, try freezing clear blocks of ice at home. It is a great adventure.

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