DNCO brandishes the reinvented Heal’s Building
DNCO developed the name, brand strategy and brand identity for The Manufactory, a set of restored buildings on the Tottenham Court Road site which has been home to furniture company Heal’s for over 200 years.
In the mixed-use creative reuse development by General Projects in partnership with investors KKR and architects Buckley Gray Yeoman, Heal’s will retain a flagship store in the Grade II* listed building redesigned for the company by Cecil Brewer in 1916. The upper floors and a former mattress factory will become office space for The Manufactory, with a public café and gallery located in the store’s former loading bays at Alfred Mews.
The Manufacture aims to attract “the next generation of tech and creative companies,” says DNCO strategist Brenda Sjahrial. “We had the opportunity to transform an iconic furniture design and manufacturing institution into an equally exciting place to work,” she says.
In collaboration with General Projects, a brand was developed that “respects the heritage of the place while [being] bold enough to stand on their own,” says Sjahrial. Launched this week, it is being applied through onsite and online applications, including signage, wayfinding, website and social media campaigns.
Senior designer Arianna Tilche explains that DNCO wanted to celebrate Heal’s history as a “place of craftsmanship and manufacturing” with a design that “echoes that meticulous approach.”
A new typeface, Rouleur by Good Type Foundry, was chosen “to acknowledge the building’s past without becoming a pastiche,” says Tilche. Its “large x-height and widened characters” provided a “very strong contemporary presence”, “while nodding to Heal’s craftsmanship heritage through the soft, rounded painterly detailing on certain letters like the R “.
Its use, meanwhile, was inspired by “strong borders with recognizably thick rulers” found in Heal’s archival posters and advertisements, Tilche says.
“Drawing inspiration from this design language, we developed a typographic approach that frames and creates a container for content. We’ve also introduced a more fluid approach where the words weave around and through the content itself,” she adds.
Colors are taken from the building itself, taking deep red from an accent in the facade tiles, gold and brass tones inspired by brass detailing in the millwork and red entrance signage alive with “old hand-painted industrial signs” found “forgotten in some corners of the building,” says Tilche.
Heal’s cat mascot – inspired by Heal’s spiral staircase bronze statue – is also adopted for The Manufactory. Illustrator Abbey Lossing visualized the cat around the building “coming out of doors, sleeping in a nook of stairs, climbing up a windowsill”, giving the identity a “playful feel”, says Tilche.
A line drawing by illustrator William Luz is used on the website, tech packs and promotional material to give meaning to the buildings on the site.
“The Heal building, although easily recognizable from the outside, is an extremely complex set of buildings that have been put together over the years,” says Tilche.
The “intricate, yet playful” line art not only shows the various buildings and their entrances, but “does so with an uplifting character that reveals the buzzing life within,” she explains.
Tilche adds that “the same playful approach applies to the design of the website, where the cursor follows you across the screen, wrapping around itself and even giving you the option of waking up the sleeping cat at the bottom of the screen. screen if you wish”.
Following the rollout on external orientation, facade, field marketing, website and social media campaigns, DNCO is currently working on internal orientation and future campaigns.