Wolff Olins creates visual identity for OMA-designed art gallery in Paris
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Wolff Olins creates site-specific visual identity for Parisian art gallery

Wolff Olins creates visual identity for OMA-designed art gallery in Paris

Branding firm Wolff Olins has created a typeface for Paris gallery Lafayette Anticipations, based on the building's "mechanical" renovation by Dutch studio OMA.

Wolff Olins creates site-specific visual identity for Parisian art gallery

The agency was asked to create a visual identity that would reflect the multi-disciplinary nature of the gallery, which opened on 10 March 2018, inside a 19th-century building that has undergone an extensive renovation by Rem Koolhaas' firm.

The revamped building acts as both an exhibition and performance space, but also hosts workshops in its basement, providing invited artists with the space and tools to create new artworks.

Wolff Olins creates site-specific visual identity for Parisian art gallery

The art centre's steel and glass Exhibition Tower comprises four motorised platforms, which can move up and down independently to align with different floors – allowing the space to be reconfigured in 49 different ways.

Wolff Olins was keen to reflect this through its bespoke typeface, created in collaboration with foundry Colophon, and did so by cutting the sans-serif lettering into different parts.

Wolff Olins creates site-specific visual identity for Parisian art gallery

By inconsistently cropping and misaligning letters, the studios aimed to convey movement in the type, as a nod to the building's "mechanical" design.

As artists would continually be at work in the gallery space, the designers also wanted to create a feeling of anticipation by concealing the letting in parts, rather than revealing things in full.

"As the artists make their pieces, so the building makes different spaces. Visitors wouldn't know what to expect next," said the companies.

Wolff Olins also developed an algorithm that causes the same word to yield different combinations each time it is typed, adding to the random-style of the font.

Wolff Olins creates site-specific visual identity for Parisian art gallery

According to the creators, the typeface is "a feat of design, maths and code, used across print, digital and signage to great effect."

"Overall, this is much more than a traditional brand identity. It's a smart, interconnected system of responsive assets, intrinsically connected to new technologies,"said the company.

"It seeks to create a genuine dialogue and emotional connection with people and is an example of intelligent identity at work."

"It literally signifies to our audience that there's more to what one reads or sees," added gallery founder Guillaume Houzé.

Wolff Olins creates site-specific visual identity for Parisian art gallery

The Lafayette Anticipations gallery is part of the Galeries Lafayette Group, which also owns the French department store of the same name.

"We created the Galeries Lafayette Corporate Foundation as a tool for advancing the conversation in our era and participating in the major social debates through the applied and visual arts," said Houzé.

Wolff Olins creates site-specific visual identity for Parisian art gallery

"The Foundation will be more than a gallery. It will be a place to gather and converse, to engage on a wide range of topics and issues," he added.

Wolff Olins, founded in 1965, has offices in London, New York and San Francisco. The agency was also responsible for The Metropolitan Museum of Art's new logo unveiled in 2016, and the 2012 London Olympics logo.

More recently, it created a shape-shifting logo for Brazilian telecoms company Oi that changes colour and form in response to people's voices.