MAXXI Signage

Architype Dialogue presents

Massimiliano Patrignani & Monica Zaffini

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 difficult issue was dealing with the relation between our proposed signage system and the Zaha Hadid’s building.
An approach characterized by the respect for her design and philosophy.

We conceived a signage system to reflect the architectural concepts of sinuous and geometric shapes and volumes using light/shadow, full/empty, and rigid/organic shapes.

The challenge was in the use of white. Structures and signage elements, deliberately in white on white, spring from the wall perfectly integrated in the enviroment. The numbers are huge white volumes in overhang with a strong matter quality, whose surface is marked by thick lines. The letters and words are cut in their original silhouette in such a way as to reflect the stark lines of the building and intrigue the visitor.

The MAXXI Foundation wanted the signage system to provide essential information in a clear, visible, but non-invasive way in order not to influence the various exhibitions proposed to the public.

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?

a. Yes. For sure this project contibuted to evolve our role ad graphic designer in the sense that it gave us the challenge to work, mix and experiment different graphic languages and technologies. The materials we used were also chosen considering the enviroments and the relation between space and information. Every sign is the combination of craftwork and high technology; every piece could be considered unique since it has been designed for a specific space/ for a particular enviroment.

Letters and words are cut in their original silhouette in such a way as to reflect the stark lines of the building and intrigue the visitor. Instead, Inside the hall, a large, full-color, indoor LED display follows the curved contours of the wall and provides real-time information, images, and suggestions relevant to the current exhibitions, meetings, and initiatives scheduled in the museum.

b. Enviromental graphics are becoming very important in our current projects. In fact we are working and conversing with societies of services, such as primary schools (…) or parks (…). We perceive that we are transforming from a society of industry /productions into a society of services. The dialogue with designers and architects is very important and complementary in many issues..

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?

Graphic design, like many other professions, is being transformed by new technologies. We belong to that generation of graphic designers who could experience different way of approaching graphic design and styles, different ways of production and different technologies.

Another factor influencing our graphic design today is the great contamination of different artistic languages and forms of art.
Computer technology and sculpture, LED and paper, sounds and format, light and typography. This fusion is extremely challenging for us graphic designers and gives us the oppurtunity to express and integrated different messages.

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?

Our work and process are continously and always the result of a complex and challenging contamination. Different trends in technology, architecture, music, video inspire our design process and define our aesthetic and conceptual training and research. As far as this project concerns, our design process has been influenced by the innovative fluid architecture. We are always grateful to our masters of graphic design and to young and experimental generations of designers.

Architype Review thanks Massimiliano Patrignani & Monica Zaffini for their interview and for contributing to this collection of Architype Dialogue. 

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