Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Architype Dialogue presents

Soren Luckins

What was the most difficult issue about weaving the environmental graphics into this building or the most unexpected challenge that may have influenced new design thoughts in this project?

The most challenging issue for Büro North working on ACMI was the complexity of the site itself. Starting with a strategic review of the site, and the operational requirements that ACMI wanted to achieve, we planned how best we could assist people in using the site. Part of this operational change was to turn it around 180 degrees to face towards Federation Square, where the majority of their users would most likely approach from. We had to make it easier to navigate, whilst fulfilling the client brief; this required that we pare back the signage so that the space had a minimalist feel. Because the space is not new, many users would remember ACMI facing Flinders Street, therefore a secondary route to the front door from Flinders Street needed to be developed. Below is the premise of the design.
“With light alone, the moving image can take us to another world. Referencing the optical qualities of light itself, the design concept for ACMI wayfinding signage uses the spectrum of refracted light to suggest the vibrancy and diversity of the moving image. Its diverse forms – film, television, games and digital media – come together at ACMI like nowhere else. The convergence of the spectrum into white light is used as a metaphor for their unique amalgamation at ACMI. The dramatic angles and shards of coloured light suggest movement and transformation, even in stationary signage, as visitors move around their three-dimensional forms, and the introduction of animated elements into external signage further reference the ACMI experience.
The diverse colour of the building palette, overlaid on grey and white building tones, is unified in the signage designs.”

Did this project expand or evolve your role as a graphic designer in any way? In general, do you feel that the role of the graphics designer, and in turn environmental graphics themselves, is changing on current projects?

This particular project was similar to all other projects in terms of the application of a conceptual idea and the creation of a visual language, in this case for a well-known Melbourne landmark. ACMI really needed to be noticed, and the challenge was to make it stand out. Graphic Design is one of Büro North’s more specific skill sets and was critical to the successful delivery of this particular project. The challenge for any Graphic Designer is to work with the various disciplines of wayfinding and industrial design, and this is particularly true of the way Büro North works. Delivering a signage and wayfinding project requires the more specific elements of science, research and planning of space and industrial design, concentrating mainly on the 3D aesthetic.

How are your designs possible today in a way that it may not have been before and how have trends in technology, wayfinding, and graphics inspired new thought and solutions?

The biggest difference today is the way people interact with technology. It is an aspect of almost everyone’s lives both on a conscious and unconscious level. As a result, when we design, we need to consider a multitude of applications and a more holistic design solution.

In the context of this project, how is your office and design process being influenced by current trends in academic curricula and incoming young designers? In turn, how are current projects and processes guiding the ongoing reformulation and development of academic curricula?

Young designers are greedy for information and it is obviously very important for any design company to keep up with this demand for knowledge. It is essential that we remain open to fresh ideas. We actively employ young designers and work closely with universities and educational institutions, our staff lecture and teach so they are keeping up with the latest literature and developments. We provide a realistic view of the market and industry to students so they gain a more rounded understanding of the design environment they are entering.

Architype Review thanks Soren Luckins for his interview and for contributing to this collection of Architype Dialogue.

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