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Chillida Leku

A year ago, this magical place where nature, sculpture, music, flavours and aromas come together, a space that houses the work and essence of one of the greatest artists of our time, Eduardo Chillida, was reopened to the public. When we were asked to take part in this project in move, we knew that this was going to be a great challenge and a unique opportunity. With respect for the essence and roots, this was an exercise in transformation, revitalisation and updating of the brand, which was previously called "Museum" and now claims the concept of Leku, space in Basque, as the confirmation of the experience that is lived in this place and recognition of its creator.

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Building the new brand

After analysing the new territory and the reasons why the previous brand had to be modernised to adapt the brand to the 21st century, we drew up the "rules of the game" that will govern all our decisions. Working on a brand that contains a work of art by an artist we admire is both an exciting challenge and a great responsibility. We have to make sure that the artwork is respected and breathes well, but also that the typographic part is balanced, works well at different sizes and in different versions.

In the execution we are clear that it is good to avoid adding anything out of the essential that could confuse or detract from the work. We also removed all uses of the mark that did not preserve the work as it was originally conceived, eliminating more arbitrary uses such as positive/negative.

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Brand - place - concept

We decided to remove from the brand all explanatory headings indicating that it is a "museum", which makes it less international and because the concept "Leku", which means "place" in Basque, has a greater resonance. Also because Chillida Leku is a unique enclave and is much more than a museum. It is the place that the artist fell in love with at first sight, the place where he decided that his works should rest. If all of us who do not speak German have ended up knowing what "kunst" means, for example, it seems to us an equally interesting discourse to tell visitors what the word "Leku" means in Basque and what this place meant for the artist's work and career.

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Elastic system

One of the objectives of a cultural space is to communicate in many different media and formats. Therefore, from the beginning we thought of a recognisable system that would be able to respect the images (because many of them will contain artwork) without altering them too much and that would adapt to the different supports in size and proportion.

Following these ideas, we also gave the brand a certain "elasticity" so that it could adapt well and communicate correctly in all these media.

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Space-integrated signage

Another fundamental aspect in conveying the brand values and communication is the communication in the space. The maxim continued to be that the signage system should respect the work and be integrated into the natural environment, maximising legibility and minimising the impact on the space.

For the development of the icons we based ourselves on the use of the gnomon, a fundamental characteristic of Eduardo Chillida's work, the "almost right" angle, but not completely straight, which gives the graphics a more organic appearance.

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The re-launch of the Museum has been enthusiastically welcomed by local and foreign audiences alike. Since its recent opening, the museum has not stopped receiving visits and international interest is growing, which has been recognised with its inclusion in the list of the "100 most interesting places in the world" published by Time.

The new Chillida Leku brand is more international, more solid and better prepared to communicate in digital terrain. The new graphic system supports the great work done by the family, the new management team and Hauser & Wirth. The message and contents reach their destination better, which has resulted in an increase in visits and improved brand positioning in the digital field.

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Gastronomic space

In this new phase, the Museum is opening Lurra Cafe, a gastronomic space that highlights its interaction with its immediate surroundings. Its name (which means "land" in Basque) refers to the series of "Lurras" developed by the artist and is directly linked to this spirit of closeness that governs the space.

In order to give it a certain identity, a new brand was created that uses the corporate typography and is based on the graphic and communication system of the entire Museum. This sub-brand draws a graphic system divided into different lines that we have used for all the pieces in the space: letters, business cards, posters, menus for events...

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A great project, with a great team

Chillida Leku is a transversal project that has touched many fields within design and strategy: branding, naming, graphics, intervention in the space, decoration, communication, digital...

For -move one of the most satisfying parts of the project has been the good experiences lived with the many parties involved in its development: the new management team, the Hauser & Wirth team, the Chillida family, the architect Luis Laplace and his team, Fede Pacha and the staff of the gastronomic part, the company Acerca specialising in art communication, Lorea and Druck who have materialised our ideas by producing the printing and signage pieces and Alex Iturralde who has taken some wonderful photographs.

Historical images, content images and images of the restoration space:
© Zabalaga Leku. San Sebastian, VEGAP, 2019. Succession of Eduardo Chillida and Hauser & Wirth.

Images of work and space by:
Alex Iturralde.