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The Cathedral project, Metz, France

Contributed by PampaType Team on Apr 17th, 2022. Artwork published in .
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 1
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Between 2018 and 2020, Nouvelle étiquette, a French graphic design studio, and the PampaType foundry co-designed a set of bespoke typefaces for the visual identity and signage system of the Saint-Étienne of Metz Cathedral, one of the most significant Gothic cathedrals in Europe.

    The celebration of the 800th anniversary of this cathedral, which boasts the largest area of stained glass windows among European cathedrals (including Marc Chagall’s famous vitraux), led to a public tender in France that was awarded to Nouvelle étiquette, which was submitted along with PampaType, invited to co-design the typefaces.

    The custom typefaces designed for the information and signage systems are as follows.

    Cathédrale Lumière is an uppercase typeface conceived for use on the spiritual tour phrases inside the building, which are projected with light on the cathedral walls by gobo projectors specially installed on site. In terms of style, the Lumière type is an attempt to integrate the incredible richness of medieval scriptural traditions in a (shall we say) generous way.

    Cathédrale Métal, the accompanying text type, was designed to set the information texts engraved on the steel panels installed throughout the building. This set includes three weights (Régulier, Gras, Noire) in roman & cursive styles. Their anatomy discreetly evokes the density and texture of text in Gothic script, i.e., somewhat compact, slightly angular in shape and with short ascenders & descenders that make it possible to reduce the interlinear space.

    Finally, the medieval theatrical characters, monsters and chimeras that appear in the sculpted decoration throughout the building inspired a third style: Cathédrale Enluminée, a set of carefully hand-drawn illuminated letters to be used as initials in publications and on special occasions.

    Art direction: Nouvelle étiquette (Metz, FR). Design & scenography: Generique design (Montreal) and Nouvelle étiquette. Light design: Quartiers Lumières (Toulouse, FR) and Nouvelle étiquette. Steel engraving & gilding: Malinvaud (Limoges, FR). Typeface design by Francis Ramel, Julie Luzoir (Strasbourg, FR) and Alejandro Lo Celso (Córdoba, AR).

    Read the full case study on the Pampa Type website.

    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 2
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 3
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 4
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 5
    © Nouvelle Étiquette. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 6
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 7
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 8
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 9
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 10
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 11
    © PampaType. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 12
    © PampaType. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 13
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 14
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 15
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 16
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 17
    © Nouvelle Étiquette. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 18
    © Nouvelle Étiquette. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 19
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 20
    © PampaType. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 21
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 22
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 23
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 24
    © Romain Gamba. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 25
    @ PampaType. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 26
    © PampaType. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 27
    © PampaType. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 28
    © Nouvelle Étiquette. License: All Rights Reserved.
    The Cathedral project, Metz, France 29
    © Nouvelle Étiquette. License: All Rights Reserved.

    1 Comment on “The Cathedral project, Metz, France”

    1. Saw this in person in December. It works so well, solving the problem of providing contextual information in a functionally modern but unobtrusive way, which is especially important in a sacred space. So many building restorations have contemporary signs that clash with the space and experience. Or, in fear of clashing, they simply don’t offer much info at all. The projections were especially effective.

    2. Nice font, is it available for purchase?

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