Backe i Grensen is a department store established in 1889 in Oslo and its the only remaining family-owned store of its kind in the city. The identity of the shop has been changing through different time periods but has never truly reflected the company´s heritage, reputation, know-how and service. The company´s forward thinking philosophy was first manifested through its iconic modernist building in 1964, the first of its kind in Oslo. We were challenged with the task of reconnecting the companys heritage with a new generation of mindful and quality focused consumers, creating a coherent experience across physical retail, gift wrapping rituals and e-commerce.
Backe i Grensen
In todays demanding market for physical retail it is important to find a strategy where the shop could transmit its history, philosophy and renowned personal service to a new generation of shoppers and to become an inspiring destination by offering curated packaging rituals that would stand apart from the competing departement stores. Our goal was to challenge what a premium retail experience could be today, shying away from the use of foil or other traditional effects and coated materials.
The company´s focus on quality and service is reflected through curated touch-points like the green uncoated Japanese gift wrapping paper used for origami, textile ribbons and round cardboard gift boxes with blind embossing, gift cards, signage etc. The work also included an e-commerce platform and art-direction for photography.
When redesigning the identity we approached Backe i Grensen as an institution that needed to convey its past, present and future. We developed a flexible system that manifests these tree coordinates through typography inspired by the modernist era, a bespoke signature as an homage to its founder Joh. Jørg. Backe, a geometric pattern lifted from the buildings tiled facade and a bespoke green colour signifying prosperity for the future.
The Modernist movement
The Backe building is an iconic modernist building from 1963 designed by Gunnar Eide. The fasade tiles creates a grid which proportions corresponds almost perfectly with the proportions of the facade. Three adjecent tiles form a golden ratio (the divine proportion commonly found in nature) a theme dear to Le Corbusier and the Modernist Movement.
Some common themes of modern architecture include:
- no unnecessary detail
- "Form Follows Function"
- adoption of machine esthetics
- exposing the structure
- “Truth of materials”
- horizontal and vertical lines
Le Corbusier, famous for his contributions to the modern international style, centred his design philosophy on systems of harmony and proportion. His faith in the mathematical order of the universe was closely bound to the golden ratio and the Fibonacci series, which he described as “rhythms apparent to the eye” and clear in their relations with one another.
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