ENS Ulm - PSL
The École Normale Supérieure de Paris (ENS), both a grande école and a university, provides excellent research training to students subject to a rigorous selection. Historically located rue d'Ulm, on the mountain Saint-Geneviève (Paris), the establishment has enriched its built heritage over the years to reach a total of 24 buildings, spread over 4 campuses. The ENS has a very diverse real estate portfolio: the most recent construction dates from 2017.
In order to renew and harmonize its signage between the different sites, the ENS has launched a design-build competition for the historic rue d'Ulm campus, and the recent boulevard Jourdan campus. It expects signage to assert its identity, while respecting existing codes, which fits into both historic and contemporary sites. In addition, the establishment wants a sober and elegant system, which corresponds to their image of an institution of excellence, true to the Rive Gauche spirit. In this logic, the ENS is looking for lasting signage, which can evolve at the pace of the school and resist the effects of fashion.
Empreinte is responding to this consultation with the bdc conseil agency to study the realization of these objects. The proposal that emerges from this collaboration, and will be retained by the ENS, offers a clean and elegant design of timeless inspiration, presenting a calm typography. The devices are intended to reflect this university institution, which is one of the most prestigious in France: statutory but not ostentatious, classic but modern. The aluminum sheet, lacquered then screen-printed, has a rear bevel (chamfer) which lightens the object. An effect of lightness reinforced by the fact that the devices do not have visible screws.
The 1,700 or so manufactured objects form part of a whole, a rational system that gives them harmony and allows new elements to be integrated according to needs that may emerge. In the same concern to think about the future, the devices are placed on a spacer which allows them to be dismantled, for information reversibility.
In addition, the use of redundant formats made it possible to set up installation templates. This is how Empreinte was able to offer very rapid on-site deployment, so as not to interfere with classes and competitions - a crucial element for this higher education institution.
Lacquered and screen-printed aluminum with chamfer
Julie Beyou / Empreinte