Wayfinding adventures in super graphics

We’ve been using our own bespoke designed super graphics for a long time as part of the process of developing interior schemes.

At one time they might have been viewed as stand-alone features adding a brand identity to the building but increasingly (if not completely so) these super graphics are an important part of the overall wayfinding strategy. They work alongside the paint finishes helping to identify areas, create landmarks and way points as visitors circulate through a building.

Graphics and visual imagery in general is readily available through stock libraries online but if you look closely you will often observe the same stock images appearing time and time again. We believe that schemes deserve better.

At the Childrens’ Day Unit (Milton Keynes University Hospital) we designed a complete suite of playful graphics based around the theme of the farm which were installed full height on walls throughout the unit. Graphics, flooring and wall finishes were all tuned to work with eachother.

At Birkett House SEN school the headteacher said that there was a noticeable improvement in the way that pupils independently moved to their classrooms rather than being escorted. This was in no small measure due to the way in which we used the finishes and graphics to help make the building more legible to a non-literate population.

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Extruded at Altro

Here are some photos of the Altro Letchworth Headquarters stunning installation we designed using their Altro Whiterock Satins and Chameleon product. We called it ‘Extrude’ and it joyfully rises up through 3 storeys of the factory culminating in a shower of coloured spheres blowing out of big vents.



 

Fill a pool with water – then just add colour + light

Colour and light at Perdiswell Leisure centre which was completed in December 2016

The initial brief of designing a large scale coloured manifestation for the pool hall was expanded to include various other features around the centre as well as advising the client on all the interior finishes.

Main contractor Speller Metcalfe, client Worcester City Council.


 

 

 

Project FitzRoy – taking a walk through fields and sky in a brand new CAMHS unit

Today patients and staff are moving into the brand new FitzRoy House CAMHS unit.

We were commissioned by St Andrews Healthcare Trust to deliver a design integration project as part of their new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) unit. The two storey facility will give specialised bespoke care for up to 110 young people and is the largest residential mental health facility for adolescents within Europe.

Early on we involved the service users in an engagement programme which explored every aspect of the new building. These workshops generated ideas which helped to develop the concepts for the interior design of the building; providing a positive environment and one which will ease the service users’ transition into their new building.

We used the workshop process to discuss how different colours made them feel which we then developed into a set of biophilic themes around nature with colour schemes linked to ‘Field + Sky’. This theme and the conversations we had were used to inform the naming of the 11 new wards such as Brook, Fern and Berry and also the colours, super graphics and zones around the building.

Starting in the wards; the most private spaces, super graphics were used to identify and personalise each space including the ensuite bathrooms, the dining rooms and each ward entrance. The themes and colours were also used to develop coherent wayfinding elements for the public spaces with features in the main entrance, the Education area, Sports facilities and outdoor spaces. An important part of the integrated design approach was to develop modular systems which could be used throughout the building. One example of this are the display boards on each ward which will be ‘owned’ and customised by each service user as well as the circulation 3D display cases. We even worked on a 1:1 basis with one service user to create the signage for the ‘Branch Out’ cafe.

A critical part of the whole design process was the sampling and qualifying of designs and  specifications for the new unit. Aside from the paramount anti-ligature concerns the client has extensive experience in what does and doesn’t work in relation to safeguarding issues for their service users. The challenge was to integrate these stringent design parameters into the various manufactured elements whilst at the same time maintaining a light touch – a hard trick to pull off but one we feel we succeeded in achieving. The overall feel of the spaces is of light, natural textures and colour which encourages the user to journey through the building taking a walk through fields and sky.

Take a look here for more background information on the project.

Architect : P+HS Architects
Contractor : Galliford Try
Client : St Andrews Healthcare Trust
Agent : Willis Newson

Tarkett ‘Floor Is The New Playground’ part 2

As promised here is the second instalment to the ‘Floor Is The New Playground’ challenge hosted by Tarkett.

Just a quick recap;

The premise of the competition or shall we say challenge was that designers would submit their designs in order to remain on top of the pile. As I played with the patterns and submitting; one other designer’s name kept popping up; René Wissinck (Follow on Twitter with @AtelierArgos) from Atelier Argos based in the Netherlands.

This was going international. Via Twitter we started to exchange ideas and encouragement and then – I would argue as all designers like to do – decided that here lay an opportunity to collaborate. Isn’t that a great vindication of what social media can do to bring people together.

René suggested that one of us could start a pattern, screenshot it and send it to the other to then complete and submit. A sort of graphic game of tag if you like. Now we’re talking design collaboration. Another vista of infinite opportunity opens up.

So René and myself decided to take the game up to a new level. We each set eachother a challenge by developing a pattern and then sending just a portion of the design to eachother. The aim was we would then both complete a design and compare the results.

Not content with that we then decided to start put the patterns into 3D models so as to render the patterns into flooring designs. By this point we were beginning to see how the quick online game could be turned into a practical tool for flooring design.

René agreed to do the design ‘heavy lifting’ and worked hard to generate the model and visuals. Naturally he took it a step further and created a complete environment – the new virtual ‘Floor Is The New Playground’ exhibition hall.

Into this space he assembled many of the designs that we had both developed. Some were placed on the floor whilst others became part of a virtual exhibition.

So where do we go from here?

Well the game brought myself and René together as designers and we’ve really enjoyed the collaboration. Wouldn’t it be great if we could take it even further into an actual project collaboration.

FITNP virtual exhibition

FITNP virtual exhibition

FITNP virtual exhibition

FITNP virtual exhibition

MK Hospital design developments

Sometimes it seems that you’ve been very quiet when in reality you’ve been very busy working on a whole series of concepts.

Milton Keynes Hospital have commissioned us to develop ideas for both the Children’s Wards as well as other parts of the hospital. It follows on from a previous commission to create graphics for Ward 4. Working with the Arts For Health team we’ve been developing a load of very exciting proposals of which the Nature Trail concepts below are a small sample of the project development.

A key challenge for the scheme is to ensure that our programme connects and integrates with the larger hospital maintenance regime as there are some interesting opportunities that can arise from that collaboration.

Our next step is to run some focus group work with young people to gauge their reaction to the current proposals as well as gather their ideas .

You can find out more about the excellent work of Arts For Health here

mk-nature walk mk-nature walk mk-nature walk

Action stations! – it’s a BOA Year 13 video project…

BOA - Machine video still

We’ve been asked to go back to BOA ( Birmingham Ormiston Academy if you didn’t know) to help the Arts Department on a video project that they’re running with their Year 13 students.

Last time we were there was a few years ago when the academy was staging its opening launch event. A spectacular 2 nighter involving all the students in live performance and musical theatre. We created a ‘Memory Box’ installation of artefacts and video projections which was part of the promenade journey through the new building.

This time round the students have been tasked with creating their own videos which will be presented in a installation yet to be designed; probably in the theatre space and involving lots of hanging screens.

I predict lots of hard work and some serious editing ahead….