Base design on their stunning BMVR custom typeface
Founded back in 1997, Base, this one of a kind international network of studios led by creatives claims to be “where design bumps into pop culture“. With studios in Brussels, New York, and Geneva, this overproductive team of individuals create brand solutions using strategy, creativity, and innovation. “We specialize in not specializing” is their motto as they share their vision in any industry, discipline, or media. Base is an expanding international network that partners with best-in-class collaborators to make the complex simple and the informative entertaining. This is the case in the custom typeface Sander Vermeulen and his team designed for OMA. “Base understands the context, defines the concept, brings in the design in an effort to seek clarity and build a commitment to each project” they say. To be frank, Base does anything. Branding. Research. Concept. Art Direction. Design. Environmental. Digital. Social. You name it and they are there in full force because for them “branding is about people, simplicity and common sense”. TYPEROOM asked them what this new stunning typographic project is all about and they guided us thoroughly to one of their adventures in contemporary design that bares a soul.
What is the context?
OMA, the architectural practice of Rem Koolhaas won the competition for the new library of Caen de Mer, France. They needed a partner to develop the signage system and organised a small competition, which Base won.
What did you do?
We designed a typeface that would not only be used in the signage system but that is the identity of the future library.
Will you define the project for us?
By the design of a library as a space of exchange and discovery, by blurring the boundaries between different spheres of knowledge and by the fusion of virtual and physical spaces in one information hub, the project BMVR Caen la Mer is in total resonance with the current creation of information.
What were the issues you had to deal with?
The signage needed to be conceptually thought consistent with the building. It needed to be pervasive and could not distort the overall spirit of the architecture. We had to develop a transversal concept in line with the reality of the BMVR Caen la Mer, an inspiring idea that meets the challenges of the future library.
How did you approach the overall concept?
It needed to respond to our two cases, determined by two types of visitors:
1. JE CHERCHE, DONC JE TROUVE.
The signage must allow the visitor with a specific goal to quickly find his goal. It needs to be extremely functional.
2. JE ME PERDS, DONC JE TROUVE.
Secondly, the signage should be inspiring and allow the visitor with no precise objective intuitively to find a purpose. It needs to be serendipitous.
Therefore, our starting points for the typeface were three. Books, digital and building.
We used the grid of the building as base for the type weight and leading.
Sander Vermeulen / Design Direction and typeface design
Thomas Leon / signage and typeface design
Matthieu Cortat / typeface design and development