If you are thinking of entering to sample a seasoned Camembert and enjoy a good wine, you have got the wrong idea. The French Cheese Board on 41 Spring Street, New York, offers much more. They call it a “cheese shop concept and culture lab”.
It is a workshop because it is a place to share and learn about the essence of French living, embodied by its gastronomic emblem: cheese. Graphics and design play a fundamental role in attracting visitors and allowing them to learn, test and rapidly comprehend traditional notions.
The Ich&Kar duo have truly outdone themselves with an enticing design that departs from the so-called ‘comfort zone’, namely from the usual rules of product sales. Not least because the French Cheese Board is very multifaceted: it is a shop, as well as a concept store, with gourmet selection, design pieces for the table and a bookshop that, as well as selling cheese-related books, allows customers to sit down, read, chat and ask for more information. It is a meeting place for chefs, enthusiasts and even producers who wish to stay up to date through tasting and cooking sessions, as well as interactive presentations.
“We wanted to create a strong identity that reflects French culture and its savoir faire,” explain Helena Ichbiah and Piotr Karczewski, the French couple who are experts in graphic design and brand identity. “We used black, which we consider the most stylish, sophisticated color, as a leitmotif: for the entrance façade, the fridge that contains our products with its leather handle and the walls, which, with simple and immediate designs, illustrate the ways that we cut (a very important consideration) depending on the type of cheese. Meanwhile, the magnetic map invites people to play with the geography of production places combined with the names of cheeses. This graphic is integrated with minimalist oak furniture that we designed, emphasizing that the whole dairy industry is rooted in the land. The aim was to make the space functional and fluid.”
Ich&Kar managed to create an experience geared around exploration and discovery, defined by a number of influences including the variety of products on display and the building’s interior.
Owner: French Cheese Board
Main suppliers for the interior: tailor-made based on designs by Ich&Kar
Design team: Ich&Kar
Photo Credits: © Pascal Perich