Opinion by Richard Baird
Old Spike is a coffee roastery, subscription service and wholesaler, cafe and social enterprise working with the homeless, located in South East London. It is situated on the site of a former workhouse, a place where the poor would break rocks over metal spikes for food and lodgings, and where the roaster gets its name. With a desire to separate the roastery’s commercial and social activities Commission Studio worked to develop a retail and subscription packaging design that avoided the conventions of the market, and worked together a sense of the artisanal and wholesome and the eye-catching and luxury.
Celestine Eleven is a fashion and homeware store located in London’s Shoreditch that describes itself as having its “roots firmly founded in counter culture”, adding “a new holistic realm to the retail experience” and aiming to provide an alternative, luxury concept store that offers a “means to live well within all spheres: aesthetically, intellectually and spiritually” by honouring the importance of each through the “unique selection of product”.
The store’s visual identity, designed by Construct, contrasts bright white papers, heavy boards and a blind sculpted emboss (reminiscent of carved marble surfaces) with uncoated unbleached carriers and black foil detail bound by the carved depth of roman numeral and sans-serif logotype. These deliver the significant restraint you would expect of a high fashion brand, a retrospective nod to the concept of timeless style (and perhaps the grandiosity of the past tempered by contemporary understatement) and a sense of high tactile quality and craftsmanship.