Olssøn BarbieriOB

Backe i Grensen

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.

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.

2020
Stavanger Ysteri
The cheese maker that made it to Maaemo
2020
Ambijus
The Lab is our terroir. A range of alcohol-free wine alternatives.
2020
Hovelsrud
A farm on the island Helgøya doing regenerative agriculture, with ecological chickens and an edible garden
2019–
Rekedal Pølsefabrikk
Traditional, family driven sausage factory in Follebu
2019–
Nykr
Handmade and ecological skincare made by Cecilie F. Egeberg
2019–
Himkok
Oslo is the home of the world's most sustainable bar
2019–
CF18 Chocolatier
A Norwegian engineer-turned-chocolatier
2019
Gullmunn Spritfabrikk
The creation of Marthe Bøhn, pioneering in a male-dominated business
2018–
Holmen Crisp
Bringing back the joy of baking to a gluten-free living
2018–
"Du, jeg, og Erik"
A naked and vulnerable first novel by the photographer Morten Andenæs
2018
Tales of (33cl)
These are the tales of Vodka, Gin and Rum
2018
Pins
A selection of our projects made into pins
2018
Oslo Tre
Good and honest buildings sustainably produced in wood
2018
Sepoy & Co
Indian tonic, made in India, by Indians
2018
Tales of (70cl)
A captain, a barman, a mule and two lucky friends
2017
Gilde Juleaquavit
Celebrating 30 years and giving honour to a master distiller
2017
Snåsa Water
Creating a contemporary vessel for the most humble of all drinks
2017
Løiten Aquavit
It all started when small farm distilleries around Oslo got together
2017
Babylife
Ecological mother & baby products from Norway
2017
Hellstrøm Sommer
Medicinal plants are at their strongest if collected on Midsummer night
2016–
Backe i Grensen
The last standing family-owned department store in Oslo
2016
Malbrum Parfums
Norwegian parfumes by Kristian Hilberg and nose Delphine Thierry
2016
Balholm Handverkcider
Craft cider from deep inside the Sognefjord
2016
Balholm Epledram 6666
The story of the gardener and his 6666 apple trees
2016
Balholm Fruktvin
The Medieval Scandinavian wine was made of fruit
2015
Lysholm No 52
After 52 trials of the recipe, distiller Ivan Abrahamsen was satisfied
2015
Cantina Zaccagnini
In Norway, this is called the "Pinnevin" – the 'stick wine'
2015
Territoriet Winebar
An unpretentious wine bar with serious wines in the center of Oslo
2015
Hellstrøm Gløgg
A traditional Scandinavian winter beverage of warm wine with an infusion of spices
2014
Karin+Sondre=Sant
When you find the other half - a wedding invitation
2014
Fiin Gammel Portviin
In 1923 a deal with Portugal ensured port wine to Norwegians in exchange for cod
2014
Hellstrøm Juleaquavit
Recovering pagan agricultural symbols for the spirit of Christmas
2013
Pietro di Campo
A range of wines inspired by Italian gestures
2013
Principiano
One of the first natural wines in Norway
2013
Bamsrudlåven Gårdsis
Mysen is famous for Jan Garbarek – and now ice cream
2013
Bodega La Serrana
A rural organic wine from Bierzo
2012
Cuvée S
Shakespeare, Sonia Delaunay and concrete poetry in a bottle
2012
Animasjonsdepartementet
Oslo-based production studio doing animations, films and installations
2012
Alberto Fenocchio
Creating a sense of place through local decorated ceramics
2012
Hellstrøm Aquavit
A Michelin starred Chef and his Aquavit - redefining a category language
2012
Villa Cafaggio
Pioneering the use of premium Italian papers to elevate wines in BIB