How to design unique signage for a utilitarian space. Something beyond the functional, something experimental, to raise an eyebrow, amuse or entertain…
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 challenge was two-fold and self-imposed:
1. How to design unique signage for a utilitarian space. Something beyond the functional, something experimental, to raise an eyebrow, amuse or entertain, whilst respecting the need for public safety.
2. How to design signage that is comfortable at home in a crude, robust and alienating setting, to ‘dignify’ the information, without over presenting pragmatic instructions, or trivialising the information, at the same time contributing something to the spirit and image of the place.
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?
The project provided an opportunity to fulfil some key interests, particularly an interest in design operating at a number of levels simultaneously: two-dimensional imagery seamlessly inserted in three-dimensional space. Literal and abstract information, mediated by time and motion. Experiential illusion and wonder. High art juxtaposed against low art. Simplicity against complexity. An unfolding spatial experience punctuated with surprise.
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?
There are significant changes to the relationship between graphic design and architecture with technology, new media and mediums of communicating and activating and transforming buildings and urban places. Architecture is now shaped and informed by the overarching commercial imperative of branding. Architectural ideas are of increasing importance, ideas that have the strength to accommodate other expressions of design, bringing places to life with added meanings, without diluting the core architectural intention.
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?
This project was inspired by art and a desire to make places distinctive and engaging. However, the team did include a young designer intern who contributed to the outcome. Our current projects and process have an influence on professional practice, but no visible influence on local Australian academia, yet.