Pentagram's playful product design and identity for French cookware startup, Soufflé
The brainchild of entrepreneur Rocco Ghrenassia, Soufflé is aimed at a younger audience who are "completely comfortable buying investment pieces online", and the playful look and feel reflect more informal French cuisine and culture.
An interesting yet crucial consideration for Soufflé was that the range was as sustainable as possible, both in the manufacturing process and with the amount of energy used during cooking. "With health concerns over traditional non-stick materials, it was also imperative that the range was manufactured using non-toxic materials," says Pentagram.
Jon, Angus and their team carried out a lot of research to streamline the range by determining the most useful combination of pieces. Soufflé's cookware is manufactured using traditional methods and materials, and every element from the enamel, to the lids and handles, is made in France.
According to Pentagram, working with these local manufacturers meant certain limitations on the design, as some standard pieces and standard tooling had to be used to create the range. The design team's challenge was to work within these constraints but still produce a distinctive product that would appeal to the intended audience.
"Professional cookware is manufactured using carbon steel which means it heats up quickly but requires seasoning, careful maintenance and is not dishwasher-safe," adds Pentagram. "After an extensive research and development period, we worked with the manufacturers to develop a unique and complex process whereby the carbon steel is coated with enamel. This combines all of the advantages of both materials and gives the distinctive colourful appearance of traditional French cookware."
If you're interested, you can choose between four colourways – a vibrant clementine and Mediterranean blue, and a softer lemon and peach.
Pentagram also considered how the cookware set could be stored and handled with "carefully thought-out details" that are both "practical and attractive". While the overall design is minimal and sleek, some traditional French details were added, such as flat lids with side handles for easy draining and storage.
Pressed metal was used for the handles, working with a process that could be manufactured locally. To add strength and character to the handles, Pentagram created a unique ribbed design, which echoes the classic Citroën H van's pattern. To finish it all off, a matching hanging rail and bespoke double-sided 'S' hook were also designed, as well as attractive, child-friendly packaging to house the cookware.
The Soufflé brand identity features a handcrafted serif word marque with a ligature and upturned accent, giving a feeling of lightness and 'Joi de Vivre'. And when combined with a strapline, it reinforces the brand's provenance and traditional roots. Pentagram also designed a monogram which takes its form from the Soufflé hook, and three traditional 'makers marks'. These are used at an angle to mimic a traditional stamp and reinforce the French-manufacturing aspect.
A set of rustic-looking icons was created to signal messages such as 'Express Shipping' and 'Refer a Friend' – all important aspects for the marketing – and the informal colour palette used throughout complements the cookware's colours.
In terms of brand photography, that was art-directed by Pentagram's design team. There's even a set of playful food-related illustrations alongside hand lettering by Marion Deuchars – which feature in campaigns and social media assets.
Blending modern and traditional manufacturing methods, Pentagram's work for Soufflé has helped create a highly aspirational and sustainable cookware brand. Discover more at Pentagram.com.