Parisian studio Building Paris was in charge of the building’s signage, with the major task being to help employees finding their way in this huge space (20,000 square meters).
Regarding the exteriors spaces, to locate the six noteworthy places of the building that are not actual offices (restaurants, library…) — L’Accueil général, Le Gymnase, La Scène, Le Kartz, La Cantine and La Doc — Building Paris wanted to make something big, in connection with the building’s history.
That’s why they invited Alaric Garnier to contribute to the project. Garnier is a skilled graphic designer and type designer but he’s also the only French designer to have received a traditional sign painting training in the US. Paying homage to the many layers of painting that the block has worn, they wanted to add the ultimate one: the “2016 layer”.
Garnier decided to make something simple, not to fancy, to contrast with the impressive architecture. He chose his Mars typeface in white with a black outline and a shadow effect. The Extended width was used for La Scène lettering (note the LA ligature). The other five letterings were done using the Condensed width which was compressed even more to fit the window space.
The first step was to print the letters at actual scale to make pounce patterns. Then, in August 2016, he handpainted all the huge letterings with the help of his friend (and former teacher) Sean Barton. Five of them were done from the inside but the bigger one, La Cantine, was done from the outside, using a crane platform.