For the high-end shoemaker Faust, Snøhetta has created a complete visual identity and the brand’s very first signature store in Oslo. The project includes retail design, web design, signage, and brand design for everything from business cards to shoe boxes, as well as a customized typeface bringing all the elements together.
Coming from a family of shoemakers, Faust founder Álvaro Miranda started up his Oslo-based bespoke boutique earlier this year. The store offers both tailor-made shoes as well as handcrafted ready-made shoes. Customers are invited into the mysterious world of Faust to be part of the long-established craft of shoemaking – from the measuring of the feet and carving of the last, to the final sculpting and sewing of the shoes.
The art of shoemaking has remained practically unchanged for centuries, and Faust aims to continue the cordwainer’s tradition with a contemporary approach while honoring their time-tested methods. The artisanship is central in the design concept, striving to create a personalized experience and a customized result.
The interior design and visual identity both have a strong link to shoemaking as a craft, with focus on tactility, quality, and elegance. Another important reference for the design is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s legend of Faust from Renaissance times – a legend which has been the basis for many literary, artistic, cinematic, and musical works through the ages. The interior elements of the design, including the vaulted shapes, carved patterns, and the material palette, as well as the brand’s reconceived typography and color scheme, reference this historical period in which Goethe first penned the manuscript.
Located in Oslo’s Barcode-area, the 20 square meter space consists of five custom concrete niches with massive carved wooden doors. The five niches and their vaulted shapes each have their own specific programmatic purpose; the designer’s personal cabinet with tools and materials, a place for sitting, a display niche, and two storage niches. With large-scaled oiled oak doors with a milled and brushed finish, the design of the cabinetry reflects the handmade details and the tactility of the products being displayed and sold in the shop. The niches reference a historic, almost religious architectural language, giving homage to the thoughtful and quality driven trade of shoemaking. The concrete niches with their weight and massiveness possess a surreal scale in an otherwise small space, while disappearing into the darkness of the charcoal colored walls.
Similar references were applied to the branding. Based on several Faustus manuscripts dated back to the 17th century, a custom-made typeface was created. The letters are inspired by the strokes and forms of medieval typefaces written with quill and ink, combined with more modern letter forms for increased legibility and elegance. The typeface is handwritten and digitalized by Snøhetta, and has become a key element of the identity used in the logo, on printed elements, and on signage. The Faust typeface is embossed into the paper on business cards, receipt envelopes, and greeting cards. The tactile feel and the manual process of embossing function as a link to the forming and imprinting of leather in the craft of shoemaking. Reinforcing the historic feel of the design, the color palette consists of a classical grey and a deep blue. The use of organic paper enhances the tactile quality, and together with the custom typeface the brand elements contribute to a unique customer experience.
Drawing the link back to today’s digital world, the Faust experience starts online. Snøhetta designed and developed in its entirety a simple yet elegant website that allows the customer to gain a greater insight into the process of shoemaking. Applying the custom typeface and selected colors also digitally gives Faust a holistic and consistent feel throughout its identity and brand.
all images courtesy of Snøhetta