Opinion by Richard Baird Posted 25 October 2016
Faust is a high-end shoemaker with its first signature store located in Oslo’s Barcode area. The shop is a small but impressive space consisting of five concrete niches and large carved wooden doors. Faust worked with Scandinavian studio Snøhetta to create both interior and brand identity. This was based around the The legend of Faust from the Renaissance, its basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic and musical works through the ages, and Faust as an ambitious person who surrenders moral integrity in order to achieve power and success. These served as historical reference points, taking a look back at a period where all shoes were handmade and bespoke. This then informed the calligraphic strokes of signage, wordmark and custom typography, is seen in the materiality of identity across stationery, business cards and packaging, and in the wood and vaulted forms of interior design.
It is an impressive interior design that takes historical architectural forms and materials and distils these down into a very precise and unique modern expression. Wood panelling meets smooth concrete floors and niches, strong and simple geometric forms contain the detailed natural grain of oiled oak doors, and the aesthetically pleasing is underpinned by functionality. This includes cabinets that contain the designer’s tools and materials, spaces for sitting, displaying and storing.
The charcoal coloured wall and roof above is a particular highlight, effectively drawing out and emphasising the shape and scale of Faust’s niches, and visually extending space.
The precision of interior, its materials, forms and the meeting of old and new continues through to visual identity in the drawing of custom typeface with a strong calligraphic quality; informed by several Faustus manuscripts dating back to the 1600 century, in the blind embossing of good quality, dyed, uncoated boards, the flourish of a copper block foil, and an overall restraint in print and across packaging.
As interior finds a balance between the handcrafted and functional, custom typeface works well to balance a modern and accessible desire for legibility with clear period reference and elegance. As a wordmark, and alongside blind embossing across business cards, receipt envelopes and greeting cards, this is distinctive, contemporary in its restraint and forms a connection between interior, visual identity, and the imprinting and craft of shoemaking. Check out more work from Snøhetta on BP&O.