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2012 no.


Lincoln Center + The High Line + Paula Scher Maps + I Walk New New York + 9 West 57th Street


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NUMBER 35, 2012

Brooklyn Signs Environments Graphics Designs 2012 no.


Brooklyn Wayfinding + Jane’s Carousel + Campus Graphics + The Accidental App Developer


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no. 35





Manhattan 15

Paula’s World Paula Scher leads a double life as Pentagram partner and gallery artist. Her super-scaled, intricately detailed cartographic paintings depict the world through her eyes.


Liberating the Fortress With a $1.2 billion architectural renovation and a respectful campus wayfinding program, Lincoln Center invites New Yorkers in.


High Line High New York’s linear park is this decade’s “Little Project That Could.”


I Walk New York The New York City Department of Transportation commissions a guidebook for its new pedestrian wayfinding system.





Columns 8 From the Editor 10 Short List 13 Hot Reads 15 Up Close 39 History

On the cover: At the newly renovated Lincoln Center campus in Manhattan, LED displays embedded in the broad stairs facing Columbus Avenue add drama and promote nightly performances. See story, page 20. (Photo: ©Thomas B. Miller)

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Publisher SEGD Services Corp.

Editor in Chief Jessica W. London

Executive Editor Ann Makowski

Editor Pat Matson Knapp

Design James Pittman, Design Director

Contributors Sue Gould, Justin Molloy, Jenny Reising, Steven Rosen, Leslie Wolke

Executive and Editorial Offices 1000 Vermont Ave., NW Suite 400 Washington, DC 20005 Phone: 202.638.5555 Fax: 202.478.2286

Advertising Sales Sara Naegelin 512.524.2596

Editorial, Subscriptions, Reprints, Back Issues 202.638.5555

segdDESIGN is the international journal of environmental graphic design and the Society for Environmental Graphic Design. Opinions expressed editorially and by contributors are not necessarily those of SEGD. Advertisements appearing in segdDESIGN do not constitute or imply endorsement by SEGD or segdDESIGN. Material in this magazine is copyrighted. Photocopying for academic purposes is permissible, with appropriate credit. segdDESIGN is published four times a year by the Society for Environmental Graphic Design. Periodical postage paid at York, PA, and additional mailing offices. Subscriptions: US $200/year, Canada and Int’l $275/year. Send US funds to segdDESIGN, 1000 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005. To charge your order, call 202.638.5555. Postmaster: Send address changes to segdDESIGN, 1000 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005. Š segdDESIGN 2012 SSN: 1551-4595

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2012 SEGD Program Partners Thank you to our 2012 SEGD Program Partners for helping make our educational programming possible.


2012 segdDESIGN Sponsors and Patrons Our sincere thanks to segdDESIGN’s 2012 Sponsors and Patrons!

LEAD SPONSORS • Gallagher & Associates • Infinite Scale • Pentagram • Ralph Appelbaum Associates SPONSORS • APCO Graphics • Cloud Gehshan Associates • Hunt Design

PATRONS • C&G Partners • ex;it • Kate Keating Associates

For information about sponsorship, email

3A Composites 3form AkzoNobel Coatings APCO Graphics, Inc. ASI Signage Avery Dennison Colite International Daktronics Digico Imaging Dixie Graphics General Glass International Icon Identity Solutions iZone Matthews Bronze Matthews Paint Mitsubishi Plastics Composite / Alpolic Precision Signs SignComp TFN Architectural Signage Vista System Visual Graphic Systems Winsor Fireform, LLC

Society for Environmental Graphic Design The global community of people working at the intersection of communication design and the built environment

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SEGD BOARD OF DIRECTORS Officers President: Wayne McCutcheon, Entro/G+A, Toronto Senior Vice President: Amy Lukas, Infinite Scale, Salt Lake City Vice President Jill Ayers, Design360, New York Treasurer: Gary Stemler, Archetype, Eagan, Minn. Patrick Angelel, CREO Industrial Arts, Everett, Wash. Sander Baumann, designworkplan, Amsterdam Steve Bayer, Daktronics, Brookings, S.D. Jennifer Bressler, Hunt Design, Pasadena, Calif. Teresa Cox, APCO Graphics, Atlanta Peter Dixon, Prophet, New York Oscar Fernández, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Moira Gemmill, Victoria & Albert Museum, London Sue Gould, Lebowitz | Gould | Design, New York Edwin L. Hofmann, Limited Brands, New York Lonny Israel, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, San Francisco Cybelle Jones, Gallagher & Associates, Bethesda John Lutz, Selbert Perkins Design, Chicago Dan Moalli, Design and Production Inc., Lorton, Va. Tucker Trotter, Dimensional Innovations, Overland Park, Kan. Mark VanderKlipp, Corbin Design, Traverse City, Mich. Julie Vogel, Kate Keating Associates, San Francisco Leslie Wolke, Leslie Wolke Consulting, Austin, Texas Alexandra Wood, Holmes Wood, London Joe Zenas, Thinkwell Group, Burbank, Calif. Ex Officio Gary Anzalone, Precision Signs, New York Steven Stamper, fd2s, Austin, Texas (Past President)

CHAPTER CHAIRS Lynne Bernhardt, Stephen Carlin – Atlanta Michele Phelan, Amy Files – Boston Jack Bryce – Brisbane , Australia Kevin Kern, Scott Muller – Charlotte, NC Maggie Allen, Adam Cook – Chicago Jeff Waggoner – Cincinnati Cathy Fromet – Cleveland Heather Chandler – Dallas George Lim, Jon Mischke – Denver Lucy Richards – Edinburgh Duane Farthing – Houston Steve Williams – Jacksonville, FL Rick Smith – Kansas City Cody Clark, Steve Reinisch – Los Angeles Adam Halverson – Minneapolis Michael Clarizio – Montreal Gary Anzalone – New York Justin Molloy – Norman/Oklahoma City, Okla. John Bosio, Barbara Schwarzenbach – Philadelphia Sarah Katsikas, Lauren Kelly – San Francisco Cynthia Hall – Seattle Andrew Kuzyk – Toronto Danielle Lindsay-Chung, Daniela Pilossof – Vancouver

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no. 35

From the Editor

Live from New York W

e bring you a very special issue of segdDESIGN magazine.

You’ve already noticed its double cover. And since you’ve already peeked inside, you may have noticed its split personality. With our 2012 SEGD Conference scheduled for Brooklyn and Manhattan June 7-9, we wanted to bring you an issue packed with great EGD projects in the two boroughs. We got so carried away with our coverage that we couldn’t decide which borough to devote the cover to. So both are winners. On the Manhattan side, you’ll enjoy stories on Lincoln Center’s campus wayfinding system, Paula Scher’s map paintings, the High Line, and Chermayeff & Geismar’s landmark sculpture at the Solow Building. Flip over to the Brooklyn side and you’ll learn about the downtown Brooklyn wayfinding system, Jane’s Carousel in the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, and how the New York City Department of Transportation is using signage and poetry to deliver its pedestrian safety message. We know you’ll enjoy these stories—and even more so when you come to New York for the conference. Along with the inspiring speakers you’ve come to expect, you’ll be able to tour exciting projects such as the High Line, Lincoln Center, and Brooklyn Bridge Park with members of the design teams that created them. We’ve also worked hard to reimagine the Expo component of our conference into its next evolution, NEXPO, integrating fun and innovative networking and collaboration events into the conference proceedings each day, all day. Gala social events cap off the evenings: the President’s Reception, the SEGD Excellence Awards and Fellows Celebration, and the grand finale, the SEGD Global Design Awards Presentation, our version of the Academy Awards. There’s another reason this issue is special. This is the last issue of segdDESIGN as you have known it. Beginning with No. 36—which premieres at the 2012 SEGD Conference—we’ll bring you a newly designed and named magazine. After almost nine years in publication, segdDESIGN was due for a refresh, and thanks to a talented design team at Holmes Wood (London), we’re making an awardwinning magazine even better—for you, for the SEGD community, and for those who care about the impact of design in our world.

Jessica W. London, Chief Executive Officer, SEGD Errata Our story on the 9/11 Memorial in No. 34 (“Remembering 9/11,” page 25) did not acknowledge the work of C&G Partners on the project. C&G Partners was part of the original team that assisted in developing the names commemoration, and has been involved in development of the site, the visitor pavilion, and museum signage. Our story on parking garage graphics in No. 34 (“Park It,” page 66) included an incorrect photo credit for the Santa Monica Civic Center project. The photo should have been credited to Terry P. Graboski. Our story on public art and exhibitions at airports in No. 31 (“In Transition,” page 68) should have credited Jacobs Engineering as the developer of a new airport wayfinding program at Mineta San Jose International Airport. We regret the errors.

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Beginning with No. 36—which premieres at the 2012 SEGD Conference—we’ll bring you a newly designed and named magazine.


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no. 35

Short List

The Grind


offee, work. Work, coffee. For those of us who think the two are inextricably linked, there’s Grind, a new members-only workspace in Manhattan that includes the Intelligentsia coffee bar. Located in Union Square, the “co-working” space for creative professionals comes equipped with the collaborators, the space, the furniture, and all the coffee required to power the day. Graphics communicate a distaste for corporate culture: a bright orange wall graphic depicts a tie’s intersection with scissors, and glass conference room walls are covered in corporate-speak phrases such as “pushing the envelope,” “break down the silos,” and “that’s above my pay grade.” Grind is among many beehives popping up in response to a growing freelance economy. Co-founder Ty Montague (a partner in

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Co:Collective, New York) says he and his partners established Grind to help workers make the leap from corporate life by offering not only a desk, but a community of like-minded people who can share advice and skills. Another Grind partner, digital shop Breakfast (Brooklyn), created the Grind Gallery, an interactive gallery that displays members’ portfolio work as framed art, equipped with push-button options to “like” and print. The space was built and is operated in conjunction with creative network Behance, Breakfast, and creative culture site Cool Hunting. Design strategists Magic + Might and VB Architects also contributed to the space. Photos: Scott Beale/Laughing Squid (www.

Graphics communicate a distaste for corporate culture: a bright orange wall graphic depicts a tie’s intersection with scissors, and glass conference room walls are covered in corporate-speak phrases such as “pushing the envelope,” “break down the silos,” and “that’s above my pay grade.”

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no. 35

Hot Reads

What are You Reading? THE MANHATTAN EDITION The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York—Robert A. Caro “A [Pulitzer Prize-winning] biography of a remarkable man that is coincidentally one of the more epic books on urbanism ever written.” —Michael Bierut, Pentagram

Stanford White’s New York—David Garrard Lowe “A fascinating story and cautionary tale of design, partnerships, artists, big money, and client relationships in Old New York. All that and beautiful pictures too.” —Kathleen K. Towner, Towner Graphics

Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York—Eric W. Sanderson “Because what came before is just as interesting as what’s here now.“ —Nick Appelbaum, Ralph Appelbaum Associates

The Alienist—Caleb Carr “Awesome book touching New York’s history and downtown.” —Jonathan Posnett, Two Twelve

The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony that Shaped America—Russell Shorto “Offers a unique historical perspective on New York City’s beginnings, and how its early history continues to define its differences from other U.S. cities.” —James Montalbano, Terminal Design

Let the Great World Spin—Colum McCann “Philippe Petit tightrope walking between the Twin Towers in 1974 is the thread that weaves the many concurrent stories together in this novel. The New York City of the 1970s is not the city that most people know today; this book captures not only a singular moment in time but the feeling of the mid-70s.” —Gina De Benedittis, Width x Height Design

Eloise—Kay Thompson “One of my favorite books about New York City, this chronicles the adventures of a precocious little girl who lived at the Plaza Hotel. I had this book as a kid and it was one of my first exposures to the city.” —Chris Calori, FSEGD, Calori & Vanden-Eynden/Design Consultants

New York: Sunshine and Shadow—Roger Whitehouse “A great collection of historical photos of neighborhoods over time, by our own Roger Whitehouse.” —Sue Gould, Lebowitz | Gould | Design

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no. 35

Paula’s World Some people believe maps are literal depictions of geographic reality. Paula Scher knows better. Her cartographic paintings depict the world as she sees it.

Up Close


or the past 10 years, Pentagram partner Paula Scher has been spending much of the time she’s NOT creating awardwinning graphic design with paintbrush in hand, working on super-scaled, intricately detailed cartographic paintings that depict the world through her mind’s eye. Paintings as tall as 12 ft. burst with color, detail, and—rendered in her signature hand-drawn typography—the artist’s take on current headlines, statistics, and global issues. These huge canvases first graced the walls of New York galleries, then large-scale environments such as schools and museums. Now they are the subject of a new book, Paula Scher Maps (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011). Scher spoke with segdDESIGN recently about her current “double life” as an artist and designer. Q Why maps? My father was a photogrammetric engineer who studied the science of cameras and worked on aerial photography in the mapping division of the U.S. Geological Survey. He actually invented a measuring device that helped correct the distortions in blown-up aerial photographs used for mapmaking. When I was eight and nine, my father spent a lot of time in our basement working on his invention, and I remember there were aerial photos everywhere. They were incredibly beautiful and I was fascinated with them, especially the one of our neighborhood, which showed all the familiar places I rode to on my bike. My father told me, “All maps are distorted, they are not literal fact.” As a child the concept of distortion was foreign to me, but years later, as I began to work as a graphic designer, I became completely aware of the distortions that can inadvertently occur in the process of editing, designing, and publishing any information. I began painting maps to invent my own complicated narrative about the way I see and feel about the world. Q How did you get started doing them? I started in the late 1980s. They were very small at first, more like illustrations. One thing I did was an AIGA cover, a small tempera thing. Then I did a larger New York, New York painting for an AIGA auction. People started asking for them, so I did a lot of other variations: a self portrait, something for MTV, and later, I began to do more political, opinionated paintings. Working on them in my studio, I realized they would really change at large scale. So they got much bigger, and the amount of information I was cramming into them made them akin to Jackson Pollack’s abstract expressionist pieces. The first one was of the world (56.5- by 77-in.), jam-packed with place names and data about time zones, square mileage, populations, religions, and other information. Then I did the United States (108- by 144-in.), again with incredibly detailed hand-drawn type that creates a visual pattern and a dense layering of information. They became my way of listing what I know about a place from memory, from impressions, from media, and from general information overload.

Tsunami (2006) is 113.5-in wide by 92-in. tall. Scher’s colorful acrylic paintings are covered with an impossibly intricate patterning of geographic and sociopolitical data. segdDESIGN 15

“ Maps are amazing. They provide us with overviews of things but we take them as literal fact. They can give us this incredible view of the world and really enhance our understanding of how things are connected.” “ They became my way of listing what I know about a place from memory, from impressions, from media, and from general information overload.” Q The paintings have sold well in galleries and other settings. How have you managed to be an active painter as well as a busy Pentagram partner? For the past 10 years I’ve lived two lives—a design life and a painting life. I love it. Four days a week I go to Pentagram and attend meetings, I have partners, I have team meetings. There is a set and tight schedule for the day, there’s interesting dialogue, and that’s all fun. Then I go to my country house for three days and work in a little room and write tiny little words on the walls. The two worlds balance each other.

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Q How long do these incredibly intricate paintings take to complete? If I have to work nonstop (which I’m doing right now in preparation for an exhibit), a painting takes roughly 16 weekends, which I guess is 36 to 48 days. Sometimes I paint 12 hours a day, sometimes I paint all day. I can only work on one painting at a time—my studio space is just large enough to hold one canvas and the room for me to stand back and look at it. I buy pre-gessoed canvases and paint the backgrounds with big brushes. I paint the large land masses to set the tone, then use very small acrylic brushes to do the type and create pattern. Q How do you decide the stories you’re going to tell with your maps? How much research is involved? For my visual research, I paint off of as many as 20 maps or books at a time. Just like any map, where the creators can control what they leave in or take out, I control the information, this impressionistic information. I use data to create the spirit of the piece.

“ My associate Drew Freeman figured out how my painting of the Metropolitan New York region centered on Queens could fill an auditorium and atrium space at the Metropolitan Queens campus. I added to the painting to fill the space. We created a maquette that consisted of more than 100 panels that the painting would be recreated on. We made a virtual reality rendering of it so we could see what it would look like.”

“ We hired a sign painter, Michael Imlay. Working at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, he enlarged the painting by projecting sections of it and repainting them at a larger scale on 3mm DiBond panels covered in canvas. He used acrylic to recreate the dense layering and texturing of my original painting. Then the panels were installed on site.”

Q Did you always intend for your maps to jump from the canvas to “real-world” environments? I either want to make paintings for no purpose, or marry them with environments. I’d even like to make them dimensional and add lighting and other elements. As an environmental designer, it’s easy for me to think that way. One of the pieces of work I’ve always loved is Jean Dubuffet’s “cave” at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. It’s this molded, starkly black and white room that is its own environment. It’s like walking into an inverted sculpture, with ceilings and walls all covered in paint and form. I would love to do that with maps. My painting of the New York metropolitan area focused on Queens was recreated in an auditorium and an atrium at the Metropolitan Campus in Queens, where two high schools are colocated. I loved the experience of working to transpose the twodimensional painting to a three-dimensional experience. They photo well, but there is nothing like the experience of being in them, of being inside a map. Q Why do you think your maps have resonated so?

Left: World (1998) was Scher’s first large-scale cartographic painting. At 56.5- by 77-in., it includes detailed population data as well as geographic place names.

This is really mysterious to me. I’ve been sort of surprised by it, to be quite honest. I’m making things all the time and I’m certainly not an unknown person in my profession. But this seems to resonate way beyond the profession. I think it gets back to the wonder I felt as a child looking at maps. Many people must feel that same wonder. You can see what you know in them, and the possibilities inherent in what you don’t know. And I think maps are also aesthetically pleasing. People respond to the beauty and they respond to the information. They’re emotional. They’re real and abstract at the same time. segdDESIGN 17

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the Fortress With its $1.2 billion renovation, Lincoln Center invites New Yorkers in to enjoy the show. Like the architecture, a respectful EGD program chooses intelligence over spectacle. By David Sokol

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“The revelation of program was everything.”

Below: Lincoln Center’s primary identification, facing Columbus Avenue, reflects 2x4’s concept of “White, Light, and Transparent,” using a minimalist palette that takes cues from the new and old architecture. (Photo: © Iwan Baan)

Right: Primary fabricator Visual Graphic Systems handrolled and formed the 22-ft.-long series of freestanding stainless steel letters, made luminous with internal LEDs. (Photo: Mark Bussell)


hen officials at Lincoln Center decided to upgrade their 16-acre Manhattan campus in 2003, they bucked trend. Instead of joining the ranks of museums and performance centers rushing toward celebrity architects, they hired the then-littleknown New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro. “I think it was an incredibly bold decision to choose them,” says Michael Rock, whose design firm 2x4 (New York), partnered with DSR firm to compete for the commission. “While it was their biggest commission to date, Liz [Diller] was masterful in her management of the complexities and brought a very integrated vision to the project.” With its choice Lincoln Center also took another risk—on intelligence in lieu of spectacle. Although design and construction costs would still exceed $1 billion, the winning design team envisioned strategically coordinated improvements and additions to various buildings and public spaces over eight years. Some architectural fireworks were planned to go off, but the new Lincoln Center would largely retain the elements that had endeared themselves to New Yorkers over time. Peter Duffin, Lincoln Center vice president of brand management and marketing, sums up Diller’s persuasive appeal: “She really talked about turning the campus inside-out and inviting New York City into it.” Or, as Rock puts it, “The revelation of program was everything.” A cultural fortress

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts was conceived in the mid-1950s as a slum-clearing effort in a swath of Manhattan near Columbus Circle. As the home of 11 performing arts and educational organizations, it is an inarguable success. On the other hand, it embodies an approach to urban redevelopment that has been soundly rejected. Configured into a superblock on a plinth, prior to renovation the main campus allowed theatergoers a grand entrance from Columbus Avenue to the east—but only after they crossed an

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intervening service road gnarled with taxis. From Amsterdam Avenue, on the western edge of the plinth, a parking garage tucked into a grade change imparted the main campus with a fortress-like sensibility. And, covered by a skybridge, 65th Street felt more like a back alley, forsaking north campus satellites that include Alice Tully Hall and the Juilliard School. Simply, these cultural groups were beloved only upon the crossing of thresholds. Physically they were detached from New York street life and from one another. The modernist building exteriors did have Italian travertine cladding in common. Even so, rather than serve as a shared feature that stitched together institutional identities and performed wayfinding functions, the facades just appeared monolithic. Previous attempts to strengthen weak community ties through environmental graphic design were never fully executed. “There was a pastiche of overlapping partial attempts,” Rock says of those incomplete EGD solutions. Perhaps one design firm alone could never have resolved the issues posed by a huge cultural fortress situated literally on a pedestal, concedes Duffin. “Being situated on a plinth…that sets up a certain relationship with New York City. In line with Liz Diller’s thinking about the architectural renovation, we knew the signage would also help to open the campus up. Liz’s goal was to make the borders between Lincoln Center and

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the city osmotic so there is a two-way relationship there. And she was always talking about taking what was inside the theaters and putting it out on the street. That was the goal.” Inviting New York in

Today, Alice Tully Hall has shed some of its travertine for glass. The building also includes a new three-story crown whose jagged cantilever follows the diagonal of Broadway: This is a 45,000-sq.-ft. upward expansion of The Juilliard School, which tops an enlarged Starr Theater lobby and projects over a sunken outdoor plaza featuring bleacher seating. Where the 65th Street skybridge once alighted in the main campus’s North Plaza, an all-new building houses a 250seat restaurant while its saddle-shaped green roof kneels down at one point for the public to enter the elevated lawn. The North Plaza also includes a stand of trees with integrated seating, while just south of that, the Main Plaza features a reimagined fountain and broad entry steps that connect pedestrians directly to Columbus Avenue, taxi-free. Rock says the design radically changes the relationship between Lincoln Center and the urban fabric. “I think the biggest navigation achievement is that it has been humanized: flattening the rise of the stair, adding the lawn, creating points of entry that didn’t exist before.” Architectural revisions also elegantly guide users to their ultimate

destinations farther within the campus perimeter. Glass canopies extend eastward from Avery Fisher Hall and the David H. Koch Theater’s Rat-Pack porticos, conducting visitors from Columbus Avenue toward the venues. Rock says the transformation of the combined Alice Tully Hall/Juilliard building exemplifies the reconceived architecture’s ability to explain where you are and where you might want to go. Whether it is the student dance studio poking from underneath the new cantilever or the Starr Theater cafe and box office visible through the Broadway-facing cable net glass facade, “Light and activity draw you to places; I don’t have a lot of faith in arrows and directional.” EGD as connective tissue

Nonetheless, Duffin says, EGD had to play a big role in convincing users of Lincoln Center’s approachability and navigability. “We really wanted wayfinding and campus maps to invite people here and make them feel that we were thinking about their needs and wants.” Underground concourses underscored this necessity, since subterranean garage or subway paths do not boast the signatures of the streetfront. The EGD program also needed to be respectful of its elders, namely the individual organizations that make up Lincoln Center.

“ Light and activity draw you to places; I don’t have a lot of faith in arrows and directionals.”

Opposite top: Along 65th Street, a series of 13 sidewalk-mounted video blades (designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and fabricated by Bunting Graphics) add strong curb appeal. (Photo: Mark Bussell) Opposite bottom: Donor elements were integrated with the architecture via a wide range of materials and processes, including stainless steel cut letters embedded in stone or mounted to glass, and letters hand-carved into stone. (Photos: Iwan Baan)

Below: Embedded in the broad stairs facing Columbus Avenue, LED displays (by Sunrise Systems) add drama and promote programming. (Photo: ©Thomas B. Miller)

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Venerable institutions such as The Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic have extremely strong identities of their own, and it was important that the campus EGD program not try to compete, says Rock. “The challenge of this project was to make some uniform branding decisions for Lincoln Center in the in-between spaces of the campus—to create a connective tissue that doesn’t interfere with any one constituent’s identity,” he explains. Duffin agrees. “How do you respect the individual identities—some of which have been around longer than Lincoln Center itself—and still have a uniform, useable, user-friendly way to navigate the campus?” 2x4 determined that “absence” would be the theme of this interstitial branding—more appropriate than a flamboyant gesture that might compete with individual organizations. The phrase “White, Light, Transparent” clarified the vision. The 2x4 design team agreed that Linotype Univers achieved such minimalism. Illumination, wherever it could be afforded, would emphasize lighthandedness. “Barely there” signage

Executing the almost-disappearing EGD scheme is characterized by what Rock calls “non-design” choices respectful of the old and new architecture. For example, sign placement on the street and plaza levels was sparing, says Mieko Oda, senior associate with Gensler, which shepherded 2x4’s vision through programming, design-intent documentation, and implementation. Individual signs were also minimized, respecting Lincoln Center’s original modernist vocabulary as well as the expansion project’s toolbox of finishes. “They wanted to have materials that are transparent,” Oda notes, “so a majority of street- and plaza-level wayfinding signs were made of glass in addition to the predominant use of stainless steel.” The design team decided that the least intrusive primary campus identification facing Columbus Avenue would be a 22-ft.-long series of 6-in.-deep letters, with the capital “L” measuring 30 in. tall. Its stainless steel was borrowed directly from the architectural palette. Primary project fabricator Visual Graphic Systems (VGS, Carlstadt, N.J.) rolled and formed the letters by hand, says VGS account LINCOLN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS CLIENT Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts LOCATION New York CAMPUS RENOVATION ARCHITECTS Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Beyer Blinder Belle Architects and Planners and FXFOWLE Architects CAMPUS-WIDE ENVIRONMENTAL GRAPHIC DESIGN* 2x4 (concept and design), Gensler (programming, design intent, project management, implementation management), Diller Scofidio + Renfro (65th Street video blade design), Imaginary Forces (Infopeel content), North American Theatrix (digital media management system design) FABRICATION VGS (primary fabricator), LivArt (on-site stone carving and inlay), Applied Image (directory vinyl graphics), Bunting Graphics (65th Street video blade signs), Sunrise Systems (LED displays), Show + Tell (A/V consultants)

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CONSTRUCTION Turner Construction Company, RCDolner Construction (construction); Ove Arup & Partners (structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineers) PHOTOS As noted *Editor’s note: Identification, wayfinding, and donor recognition programs for individual Lincoln Center venues comprised numerous separate projects, undertaken by additional design firms and fabricators.

2x4 designed freestanding directories in glass and stainless steel, with printed vinyl film used to simulate the ceramic fritted glass used throughout the campus renovation. Extensive prototyping was required to achieve the right balance of transparency and opacity. (Photo: 2x4)

executive Lorraine Conte. The freestanding installation all but fades into the milieu except for the LEDs shining from within. To place Lincoln Center’s programs center stage, the letters are supplemented by more than 30 7-ft.-tall poster cases displaying promotions for events and performances. Each frame is half-in.-thick stainless steel with “Lincoln Center” stencil-cut by water jets. Wayfinding at street and plaza level is limited to a series of freestanding and wall-mounted directories strategically placed among the poster cases and within the campus. These directories not only exemplify the conservative use and placement of signage, but also the intense mock-up sessions performed throughout the project. The freestanding directories required particular care by VGS due to the structural engineering requirements dictated by the size and scale of the custom glass-and-stainless-steel structure, says Conte. And because the architect employed ceramic fritted glass in the renovation, the extended EGD team attempted replicating the effect on the directories, using printed vinyl. The gradation of white was prototyped until the right combination of transparency and opacity was achieved. “The effect is to maintain an open view of the plaza while providing enough background in the center of the directory to clearly portray the text and graphics,” explains Oda. Pure functionality informed signs that guide visitors through the concourses between venues, and to and through the underground garage. 2x4 designed black painted aluminum with silkscreened white text for vehicular ceiling-mounted signage. Pedestrian-oriented signs—including ceiling-mounted, blade, and wall-mounted pieces— feature a white background with a gray “Lincoln Center” identifier and wayfinding message in black Linotype Univers type with a 3M graffiti-resistant laminate. Donor recognition was doled with the same gracefully spare hand. “Scale and position were determined by what fit the architectural space in the most elegant manner possible,” Rock says. Donor elements range from stainless-steel cut letters embedded in stone or mounted to glass or stone, letters hand-carved in stone and sandblasted to stainless-steel casing, to bronze-cast plaques embedded in stone in highly vulnerable areas.

“ How do you respect the individual identities—some of which have been around longer than Lincoln Center itself—and still have a uniform, useable, user-friendly way to navigate the campus?”

Left: A centralized digital media management system feeds programming information from the various cultural venues into dynamic displays across campus. (Fabrication and photo: Visual Graphic Systems)

Above: Promoting events and performances happening at the Lincoln Center’s 11 venues was a key task of the EGD program. More than 30 7-ft-tall poster cases display information on upcoming events. The 85-in. by-46-¾-in. cases are flag-mounted into the plinth on asymmetrically placed 13-¾-in.-tall tabs. The half-in.-thick stainless steel frames were stencil-cut by water jets. (Photos: Visual Graphic Systems)

Left: Pure functionality informed wayfinding signage in the underground garage and in concourses connecting the campus venues. Ceiling- and wallmounted pedestrian signage is white-painted aluminum with text in black Univers type. (Photos: Visual Graphic Systems.)

segdDESIGN 25

Dynamic content

To supplement the minimal signage and place programming at center stage, the design team employed electronic elements that add energy and leverage content produced by the individual venues. Along the broad stairs facing Columbus Avenue, LED displays integrated into the risers scroll nightly performance times and other program messaging. They also characterize the ascent to the North Plaza from 65th Street. Lining that street’s south sidewalk, too, is Infoscape—a series of 13 sidewalk-mounted “blades,” designed by DSR, with screens that display performance information and play evocative video sequences, and the backs of which house poster cases. And Infopeel, an expansive, state-of-the-art LCD screen integrated into the grandstand of the Alice Tully/Juilliard courtyard, provides animated overviews of performances and events being presented across Lincoln Center. Duffin is particularly enthused about these little-precedented electronic tools, because the center’s 11 cultural organizations have realigned themselves to provide the content for them, and a digital media management system created by North American Theatrix (Southington, Conn.) can drive the information to multiple media channels. “We knew we could tap into the organizations’ marketing and information infrastructures, and with this system they can repurpose the content they already have,” says Duffin. “The same programming information can feed directly into the website, the staircase LEDs, and the Infoscape blades, or a photo taken for a New York Times ad can be shown on Infopeel and in the Atrium—all driven by the same centralized database.” The client certainly benefits from this newfound ease of use, yet the electronic components primarily do as the new architecture does: reveal Lincoln Center’s cultural programming to New York City. “We wanted to make the diversity and density of activity the primary message of the space,” Rock says of the dynamic components and of the upgrade as a whole. “I think most of us knew about 5 percent of what was happening at Lincoln Center.”

26 segdDESIGN

This page: Venue identification— separate projects from the overall campus EGD program—were also rendered in 2x4’s minimalist palette of glass, stainless steel, and light. (Photos: 2x4 [top], Iwan Baan [bottom])

Indeed, the graphics commission ranged far beyond static wayfinding. In another example, with research showing the waning of subscription patrons and the rise of same-day ticket sales, Lincoln Center worked with Pentagram to create its first-ever centralized dayof discount box office. Taken with the white, light, and transparent EGD system, the graphics undertaking encapsulates the achievement of the new Lincoln Center in all design disciplines: a balance of respectful and radical transformation. David Sokol is a writer and editor based in New York and Washington, D.C. Currently he is working on the second volume of the book series Nordic Architects.


DESIGN INNOVATION COLLABORATION VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM 27 APRIL 2012 Innovation and collaboration are radically transforming the process and the products of design for the built environment. As the world prepares to descend on London for the Summer Olympics, the spotlight has turned on British design and how it is shaping modern Britain. This spring, the second SEGD International Symposium returns to the V&A to celebrate Design, Innovation, and Collaboration and will be held in conjunction with the V&A’s much anticipated exhibition, ‘British Design 1948–2012: Innovation in the Modern Age’. Come and hear the latest from SEGD, the global community of design for the built environment. For tickets please visit

Speakers include David Adjaye Kenneth Grange Malcolm Garrett Mike Dempsey Rob McIntosh Alex McDowell Paul Traynor Georgina von Etzdorf Peter Dixon Jason Singh Julia Lohmann Richard Wolfströme Patricia Austin

Presenting sponsor Rivermeade Signs In partnership with Victoria and Albert Museum, London


t was the “Little Project That Could”— 1.5 miles of abandoned elevated railroad structure, left unused since 1980, tracks rusting and overgrown with wildflowers. Targeted for demolition by the city of New York, it was championed by two visionary Chelsea residents who started a grassroots movement to save it. More than a decade later, the High Line opened as a public park, pushing a verdant path through Manhattan’s West Side from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street. The High Line is not only a major destination for New Yorkers and visitors, but it has also functioned as an economic catalyst in the area. According to The New York Times, Phases I and II of the park’s development cost $153 million, but the park has generated an estimated $2 billion in new developments nearby. (Phase II, the final section running between West 30th and West 34th streets, is in planning stages.) And the High Line has inspired redevelopment of urban public spaces in major cities through the United States.

The High Line meanders from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 30th Street in Chelsea/Hell’s Kitchen, and will eventually stretch to West 34th Street. It provides a lush refuge from the urban condition below, but doesn’t try to hide its freight-train origins. (Photo: Iwan Baan © 2011)

Railroad ties The High Line’s roots go back to the 1840s, when New York City’s Lower West Side streets shared passage with local freight trains running manufacturing parts and raw materials to factories and warehouses. The freight trains were allowed rights-of-way inside the factories to load or unload materials and transport finished goods to their various marketplaces. But as the city streets became more crowded with automobiles and pedestrian traffic, collisions between trains, cars, and pedestrians increased. By the 1930s, in efforts to improve safety, the tracks were elevated. Starting in 1934, the High Line’s 1.5mile elevated railway operated for five decades, with the last train completing its run in 1980. From grassroots to grasslands Abandoned and slated for demolition, the High Line caught the eye of Chelsea residents Joshua David and Robert Hammond, who saw promise in its forlorn rusted tracks. They began advocating for the rail passageway to be preserved and refurbished as a public open space. In 1999, the non-profit Friends of the High Line was established to raise funds to preserve and transform the High Line into a unique urban space—an elevated, landscaped promenade— the first of its kind in the United States. In 2003, Friends of the High Line held a design competition to solicit ideas for the re-use project. It captured the imagination of the world; more than 700 submissions came from teams in 36 countries. An exhibition of noteworthy entries was presented at Grand Central Terminal.

High Line High Manhattan’s elevated park has some lessons to teach about the art of reimagining public space.

28 segdDESIGN

by Louis M. Brill

Far left: Between 1851 and 1929, so many accidents occurred between freight trains and street-level traffic that 10th Avenue became known as Death Avenue. A safety patrol called the West Side Cowboys rode on horseback in front of trains waving red flags. By the 1930s, the train tracks were elevated in efforts to improve safety. Left: Abandoned since 1980, the tracks were rusted and overgrown with wildflowers, and local business owners were calling for demolition when Chelsea residents Joshua David and Robert Hammond stepped in to save it. (Photo: Joel Sternfeld Š 2000)

segdDESIGN 29

Far left: Pentagram Partner Paula Scher designed the logo for the Friends of the High Line. It was later adopted for the signage. (Photo: Peter Mauss/Esto) Left: Steel was an obvious choice for the signage, fabricated by Design Communications Ltd. The streel-level park identification signs, mounted directly to the railway supports, are matte porcelain enamel on brake-formed and fabricated steel plates. (Photo: Peter Mauss/Esto) Right: The Falcone Flyover is an elevated ramp rising 8 ft. above the High Line, affording walkers a treetop view via a canopy of sumac and magnolia trees. (Photo: Iwan Baan © 2011) Below: The park is also a canvas for site-specific public art commissioned by Friends of the High Line. Artwork ranges from sound installations to sculpture and performance art. Rainbow City was an environmental and interactive installation on view in summer 2011 at The Lot, a temporary public plaza below the High Line at West 30th Street. (Photo: Friends of the High Line 2011)

SIGNS OF THE HIGH LINE Few people had even heard of the High Line in 2000, when Robert Hammond approached Pentagram Partner Paula Scher to create a logo for Friends of the High Line. “I actually had no idea where the High Line was,” recalls Scher. “Robert Hammond seemed like a reasonable-enough person, but he had no urban planning experience and I didn’t believe he had any chance of moving an entire city to accomplish this dream.” Nonetheless, she found herself agreeing to design the logo. “I thought, ‘High Line,’ ‘H,’ ‘train tracks,’ ‘green.’ How long could it take?” It took one hour, and 11 years. After designing the logo in 2001, Scher designed Reclaiming the High Line, a 2002 study of the project by the Design Trust for Public Space. In the ensuing decade, she designed a succession of brochures, books, exhibitions, and other materials to help the group raise money and public awareness. She also designed the High Line signage. Though many of her ideas were value-engineered out of the project, a minimal sign system was installed to guide visitors. Mostly integrated into the park railings, the signs are constructed of steel (“an obvious choice,”) and use Rockwell, a slab-serif typeface common in the industrial railroad era. “It looks both contemporary and appropriate on the site,” Scher says. The signs were fabricated by Design Communications Ltd.­—Pat Knapp

30 segdDESIGN

In 2004, Friends of the High Line selected a design team for the new park: project lead and landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations; architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf; and engineers Buro Happold. “The construction of the new High Line surface was known as ‘agri-tecture’—part agriculture, and part architecture,” notes Diller, Scofidio + Renfro project leader Mathew Johnson. The team envisioned a sequence of varied environments within a cohesive landscape plan, and for the pedestrian walkway ribboning through it, they specified pre-cast concrete planks with open joints to encourage new plant growth emerging through the cracks. Along the walkway, they incorporated a variety of seating areas (benches, bleachers, and lounges), viewing spurs, and stairways joining the High Line with the streets below. The High Line functions on two different scales, says Lisa Switkin, a managing partner at James Corner Field Operations. On a macro scale, the elevated linear park passes through three distinct urban neighborhoods: the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea, and Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen. The High Line offers its visitors very unique views of the neighborhoods from above the street, as well as between the buildings in each of the blocks it passes through. “The walking path and gardens were designed to be in balance with the city visually, to let you see the city of the moment, as the city and the High Line look at each other through this urban dialogue,” notes Switkin. But it also functions on a much more intimate scale. Its promenade offers many opportunities for social interaction. Benches and bleacher seating encourage people to congregate and mingle. A public art program connects to the surrounding landscape and adds texture to the conversation.

MANY HIGH LINES The phenomenal success of the High Line has been noted by other cities, and many of them are now contemplating their own creative reinterpretations of public space. Developers from Singapore, Jerusalem, Rotterdam, and Hong Kong have come looking for ideas. In the U.S., Philadelphia envisions the redevelopment of its 60-ft.-wide Reading Viaduct into an elevated park and bike path. Chicago has the Bloomingdale Trail, which is almost three miles long and wide enough to accommodate bike traffic. Jersey City officials have established the Embankment Preservation Coalition to turn a downtown railroad embankment into an elevated park and transportation corridor. In Atlanta, city officials are exploring the BeltLine, a former railway corridor around the core of Atlanta, as a future green space. Currently, the only other park space remotely like the High Line is the Promenade Plantée (Paris,

1993), which is built on a former right-of-way of the Vincennes railway line. “We already know that urban park redevelopment creates multiple benefits for communities,” notes Uwe Brandes, the Urban Land Institute’s senior vice president for initiatives. “New parks stimulate quality of life for nearby communities, enhance land values, clean up and restore urban ecosystems and, if programmed correctly, can become a major driver of placebased culture in cities.” “The fact that other cities are inspired by the High Line and want to emulate its success is fabulous,” Brandes observes, “but there is no simple formula for urban revitalization. Each of these High Line-inspired cities is accessing their own available resources and exploring opportunities to leverage their ideas into site-specific public space redevelopment projects.” —Louis Brill segdDESIGN 31

Left: Wayfinding information is integrated into the railing along the 1.5-mile promenade. At night the signage glows with a photoluminescent infill applied to the letters. (Photo: Peter Mauss/ Esto)

Below: The sundeck at 14th and 15th streets is one of the High Line’s most popular gathering spots. The park incorporates a variety of seating options to encourage people to gather and mingle. (Photo: Iwan Baan © 2009)

“One big distinction between the High Line and other New York City parks is that most conventional parks like Central Park are designed as a refuge from the city,” notes Switkin. “You go inside these parks and the all-embracing foliage allows you to escape and forget the city around you.” But the High Line is visually very much a part of the city: as you walk its promenade, you have a 360-degree view of the Manhattan streetscape and skyline around you, with viewing vantages ranging from the Hudson River to Lady Liberty in Lower Manhattan. Looking uptown, you can easily spot the Empire State Building rising majestically. The High Line was also designed for meandering. “It was meant to be a ‘slow space’ in contrast to other linear parks such as the Hudson River Park, where activities such as bicycling, roller blades, skate boards, and running are all permissible,” adds Switkin. “At the High Line, none of this is allowed; it’s meant to slow you down. We want you to walk or sit as you watch the city and fellow High Line visitors pass by.” Today, Friends of the High Line is the lead organization building and maintaining the park. The non-profit conservancy now works with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to ensure the High Line is maintained as an extraordinary public space. The group also provides more than 70% of the High Line’s annual operating budget and maintains the park’s stewardship and its programming of public art and community activities. 32 segdDESIGN

The dominance and sheer variety of greenery gives the High Line its lush and verdant look, creating an oasis of tranquility, a refuge from the urban condition below. But it also doesn’t attempt to hide its freight-train origins. “The project has an interesting historic dichotomy,” says Joshua David, co-founder of Friends of the High Line. “It’s at once a preservation project about the city’s past and a construction project about its future.” Louis M. Brill is a journalist and a consultant for high-tech entertainment and media communications. He can be reached at

2004 /5/6 / 7/8

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segdDESIGN x 25

I Walk New York A Plan for Pedestrian Wayfinding in New York City

IN 2010, the New York City Department of Transportation commissioned Manhattanbased design firm Two Twelve to analyze the pedestrian experience throughout the five boroughs. NYCDOT’s mission was to encourage people to walk more, which naturally leads to a web of other benefits for the city: decreased traffic congestion, better health, Why Wayfinding? 9 and stronger neighborhoods. But planners Public Health New York faces anthe obesity crisis, accounting for some knew needs of pedestrians were unmet.


nding Will fit the City VISITOR NUMBERS

mply a system that helps tourists find major mpire State Building. Instead, it offers a host of fits to the life and economy of the city.

g information encourages walking as a mode s residents to explore their city. It can boost the reasing foot traffic in front of local businesses. public health and reduces vehicular congestion anwhile it enriches the tourist experience, C goal to strengthen New York’s position among t destinations.

HELPS THE CITY ng can deliver significant economic benefits to hown that people,Partners even residents and in commuters, city wayfinding s well as they think. By increasing people’s real ork City, wayfinding encourage residents to Tocanundertake this study, Two Twelve vealing hidden shopping streets, local attractions, joined forces with Applied (formerly AIG), utes. It helps to decode the city and gives residents designers of Legible London, an awardconfidence to explore.

winning pedestrian system being deployed

ate Research in the UK found a direct relationship which people travelin around city centers the British cities. The London andand other ey spend. The weekly expenditure of consumers partnership took advantage of Two gher than those who drive1. Real estate in areas Twelve’s local knowledge and Applied’s evels of walkability command a premium of $34,000 over houses in areas with average understanding of levels global best practices and rch in London shows that more attractive and emerging technologies. add an average of 5.2% to residential prices and an The team called on Beresford Research, etail rents 3.

w York

a Connecticut-based market research firm, to conduct qualitative and quantitative research to discover and document the current pedestrian experience. A battalion strikes To meet NYCDOT’s aggressive timelines, a battalion of researchers conducted more than 500 intercept interviews on the 34 segdDESIGN

International 8.7 million US Domestic 36.7 million (of which 24.5 million are US residents within 250 miles of NYC) 8.7M 36.7M

25,000 premature deaths annually in the metropolitan area 4. The NYC NYCDOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan Department of Health recommends that adults conduct at least thirty minutes of moderate physical activity (such as walking) at least five notes, “It’s ironic that in a walking city like days a week. Only 42% of New Yorkers presently achieve this level of New city York, nothing nearlyhave as ubiquitous as the fitness. Public health experts, planners and urban designers come to realize that simply telling people to exercise does not work signage system we maintain for motorists and that changing the structure of cities—making places walkable—is on our highways and streets is available to more effective in helping people achieve this amount of exercise.


Tourism Tourism is a major New York industry. The city’s 49 million annual tourist visitors account for $31 billion in direct spending 5. NYC & Company, the city’s official tourism organization, estimates that tourist spending directly reduces the taxes assessed on local residents by roughly $1,300 per household 6. Mayor Bloomberg has set an ambitious goal to increase annual tourism to 60 million visitors by 2030. Wayfinding can play its part by revealing all the city’s benefits to visitors.


Greater livability

Pedestrian Wayfinding

Greater social inclusion

Greater knowledge / exploration

Modal shift

More sustainable modes

More walking

Increased house prices

Improved health Longer visits

Greater footfall

More transit More cycling

Repeat visits Improved air quality Increased retail / tourism spending

Reduced household taxation

Increased business

Reduced congestion

Reduced greenhouse gas emissions

I Walk New York

sidewalks of New York in six days. Interviewees were tourists, residents, and small business owners. The findings were surprising, says Julien Beresford, CEO of Beresford Research. “The most

interesting fact we uncovered was that a fourth of visitors got lost while visiting NYC in the past week. That’s astounding and a call to action for improved pedestrian wayfinding in NYC.”

Navigating the City

ing ools. ople still

in only 10% of maps

Navigating the City

other than Manhattan

How People UnderstandPockets of knowledge Research shows that people do not know New York as well as they think they do, and that their knowledge is limited to New York City the areas they know best. Expanding and connecting these ‘pockets’ of 28

Navigating the City

Mental maps

Researchers also asked subjects to draw the city. This exercise highlighted how people organize and process location 16 Why will Wayfinding? knowledge allow people to make better transportation choices and give information in their head. As described in MENTAL MAPPING them the confidence to walk more often. the final report, “Universally peoplebehavior use in urban Extensive research on pedestrian navigation the urban form and environment as their environments shows that people visualize a place by developing theirPeople find many areas of the This story of awareness has a environment presents itself. But this ‘involved with’ the place rather than 40% of people drew Broadway impact on the choice of underestimates the multiple effects just having to navigate it. Fixing source of wayfinding information. ownprimary unique picture or ‘mental map’. Bydirect studying individuals’ mental city hard to comprehend, and this visitors destinations, activities and use of induces considerable stress. Being of weak legibility of the urban form this problem will provide of a host of admitted to getti the previous week Sight-lines, landmarks, building maps, we learn how people make sense offeatures, New York’s complexity. transportation. Visitors often do not ‘lost’ can sometimes bring on panic and 75% street tangible benefits for the in city. ofenvironment. people drew Central Park use the subway, as initially and a sense of impending disaster. If people are spending their time and street names are the corereadily pedestrian not sure how toas find it, and This may seem to be problematic Universally people use the urban formthey andare environment their primary looking for landmarks, thinking it can be difficult to decipher, evendrew neighborhoods only for the tourist, for a resident The grid was the dominant characteristic Only 10% drew the boroug People in the or downtown navigation tools.” about where to go next, checking source of wayfinding information. Sight-lines, landmarks, building

NHATTAN? he name ‘New nhattan alone. rk as The Bronx, an, Queens and d promote more g neighborhoods

Many Find NYC Confusing



Navigating the City

AIN’S LEARNING S places through a series , firstly learning points, routes and finally the ea. We need a system s to build this knowledge nd surely. The brain muscle; the more we certain parts of it, the eloped they become. ocampus is the area of associated with mental .


of locals are not familiar with the area in which they were surveyed


of visitors could not give directions to a local landmark


in only 10% of maps that a turn has not been missed, then their time is unproductive, leaving little scope for being

with good navigation tools.area These visiting a neworarea of the city for more than in Midtown Uptown

natural problems for complex features and street names are the coreare pedestrian navigation tools. the first time. Those who know the transportation systems. place, after all, can find their way However, either prior to or midway through a journey many people still around no matter how obtusely the need maps.


other than Manhattan

Pockets of knowledge

of New Yorkers have been lo in the past week

CENTRAL To understand people’s CENTRAL perceptions DOT conducted over 500 pedestrian PARK PARK To understand how a first-time visitor intercept surveys around the city. One hundred interviews were creates a mental map, the design team conducted in each of the following neighborhoods: TIMES


SQUARE called on Applied’s concept of Pockets of of visitors are using subway Knowledge: a visitor’s experience of the I Walk New York maps to move around the ci TIMES city begins with discrete neighborhoods or 2. Fashion District SQUARE pockets that they have visited. Over time, 3. Chinatown ROUTES AREAS these pockets meld into other pocketsVISITOR TOOLS Used to help navigation as they get to know more of the city. The 4. Coney Island 40% of people drewconfirmed Broadway mental maps that this additive Subway/bus map 26% 5. Long Island City approach was common: people wouldWeb map 20% draw great detail about the areas they Pre-printed map 19% TRIBECA KNOWLEDGE (OR LACK OF IT) knew, SOHO leaving gaps where their personal People drew neighborhoods in the downtown People were asked “How familiar are you with this area?” Those who Ask for directions 17% area more than in Midtown or Uptown experience of the area ended. Two Twelve TRIBECA SOHO tended to answer “very 44live or work in New York City Thefamiliar” Pedestrian or Wayfinding System Guide book 17% Creative Director Laura Varacchi recalls “somewhat familiar.” Unsurprisingly, less than half of visitors had this Smartphone 14% how these maps informed the design same level of familiarity. However, when questioned about the locations GPS 10% CENTRAL PARK of local destinations such as subway stations, bus stops and local process: “We learned where the gaps were Other 8% DAY 1: INITIAL PERCEPTION DAY 1: REALITY inlocations the different boroughs and developed a landmarks many of those give On day one, a user’s impression of who claimed to be familiar could not The actual of the pockets, roosevelt both in relation New York City might look like this, to each other and in strategy for how to build the framework to directions or point them out. This suggests that people overestimate island TIMES made up of pockets of knowledge, relation to the grid network which is SQUARE fillnorth-up the gaps.” theirinaccurately understanding of the city. often located (Tribeca in fact not as is generally

1. Central Harlem




of visitors can’t name the borough they are in



TIMES of visitors did not know how to SQUARE get to their next destination I Walk New York


West Village


of locals did not know which way north was




MAKING CONNECTIONS wo, the pockets are ed by key routes such as y and 5th Ave. Other areas marks such as Greenwich nd the Empire State appear when the pockets d.




An Identity for Pedestrian Wayfinding Lenox Hill

Hell’s Kitchen

is above Soho, Flatiron is too farGarment presumed. Turtle Bay south east, locations in Times District Many visitors could not even name the neighborhood or borough in Square are upside down and Central Murray Hill Park is toothey far away). which were standing. Fourteen percent of visitors failed to name CHELSEA

A brand for the system

the neighborhood while 27% could not name thehunters borough. Further,Varacchi explains the “I Walk New York” point Kips Bay Meatpacking District identity: “This wayfinding system was to a quarter of visitors did Flatiron not know how to get to the next destination on their journey. Of these, Gramercy almost half were planning to get to theirbecome a key ambassador for welcoming Park West destinationVillage on foot, despite being unsure whichgreenpoint way to go. visitors, providing17information at all points GREENWICH Why Wayfinding? VILLAGE


of visitors admitted to getting lost in the previous week


of New Yorkers have been lost in the past week


of visitors are using subway or bus maps to move around the city

I Walk New York VISITOR TOOLS Used to help navigation

I Walk New York

East Village

of arrivals as well as insider tips for even The wayfinding system should be named and branded to facilitate broad

Alphabet I Walk New York the most consummate New Yorker. The GETTING LOST City SOHO recognition. The Wayfinding Plan team has proposed “I Walk New York” Nolita logo itself was a late-night idea early in the Many people admitted to having been lost in the previous week. Over TRIBECA Little as a working name for the system has described preliminary visual Italy and one in eleven New Yorkers (9%) admitted to project, and not overwrought oraover-thought. a quarter of visitors CHINATOWN LOWER north side EAST for theFurthermore, system. The use of a standard, recognizable symbol on Battery having been lost in the week prior treatment to being surveyed. Itthe just worked.” Park SIDE City survey showed that a third of locals and over of wayfinding visitors could elements not New Yorkhalf City would assure users that it is part of point north, thereby increasing their chances of becoming lost. I Walk New York an official city program. DAY 3: FILLING THE GAPS Noho

On day three, Manhattan comes alive and the individual pockets

WAYFINDING SUPPORT become a continuous area. Experience hasmaps corrected The subway aresome the main navigation tools people use to orient misconceptions, and wandering off themselves, as these are by over a quarter of visitors and 13% of the main routes has filled someused of the gaps. locals. While these maps are freely distributed around the city, they are difficult to read and contain limited pedestrian information. Many people were combining digitally accessed data for navigation, including web-based mapping (20% of those surveyed), smartphones (14%) and GPS (10%). These plans are preliminary, however, and the implementation design

team will have to develop the final name and design for the wayfinding

GLOBAL PERCEPTION system. New York City is often considered the world’s leading city. As such it

segdDESIGN 35

present themselves.

Orienting and guiding

Which neighborhood am I in?

With the research phase complete, the design team began to define wayfinding elements to address the confusion residents and visitors reported when they walked in unfamiliar neighborhoods. Tactical wayfinding questions informed what types of wayfinding devices could best guide pedestrians. The strategy would consist of neighborhood nomenclature hierarchy, defining the street network, representing landmarks and local destinations, and the rules needed to accommodate for pedestrian challenges unique to each borough. The final sections of the master plan provide “a catalog of on-the-street and in-your-hand wayfinding information,” including schematic designs of directionals, pavement neighborhood identification, and wall-sized maps.

Where am I?


destrian Wayfinding System

How am I going to get there ?

The Pedestrian Wayfinding System




These are the tools that allow people to plan a trip. They The Pedestrian Wayfinding System provide options regarding various travel modes. They are accessed via digital and printed media.

These are tools that allow people The P 79 along the way. They provide orie and identification information an landmarks, focal points, decision



Mott & Canal Mott ST & Canal ST ST Mott ST ST & Canal ST




I WALK NEW YORK AREA MAP Local map showing major destinations and areas of interest

Hudson River

Business BusinessImprovement Improvement District DistrictIdentification Identification


Chinatown Chinatown Information Information Kiosk Kiosk

East River

Confucious Confucious Plaza Plaza


BID SPONSORSHIP Opportunity for partner brand identification


DIRECTIONAL Directional towards districts


DIRECTIONAL INFORMATION Nearby destinations with minute marker showing walking distance from current position

Where exactly on Mercer Street am I?

DOWNTOWN and geographic landmarks

Mott Mott ST ST & Canal & Canal ST ST

LOCATION Current ‘District’, ‘Neighborhood’ and ‘Cross-Street’

Which way is Greenwich V


LOCATION Current ‘District’ and/or ‘Neighborhood’ USAGE Located along pedestrian routes. Function to provide directional confirmation and some I WALK NEW YORK AREA MAP neighborhood information Local map showing surrounding area

SYSTEM ICON Denotes official I Walk New York city information

What street is this?

Confucious Plaza 5 MINUTES



Broadway & Sixth Chinatown Broadway & Sixth AVE AVE

Information Kiosk 2 MINUTES

Business Improvement District Identification UPTOWN UPTOWN



Mott ST & Canal ST



Broadway & Sixth AVE


PARTNER MANAGED CONTENT Content managed by local partner promoting up-to-date local events, destinations, information

Malcolm X Malcolm X BLVD BLVD


& Canal

Confucious Plaza Chinatown Information Kiosk Business Improvement District Identification



Malcolm X BLVD

New York

I Walk New York

36 segdDESIGN

I Walk New York

I Wal

Are there other things to do ca nearby? na ls t

My line doesn't run from here—can I walk to the F train?

Which way is Uptown?

Museum of Chinese in America

wo Where can I catch rth stmy bus?

Am I going the right way?

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What line can I get from this subway station?

Major Decision Point

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How do I get to NYU?

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bowe ry st

Which way is 150 Mercer Street?

The functionality of the wayfinding strategy will vary from borough to borough. To the right is a preliminary analysis of pedestrian movement in central Chinatown. It shows keyIsroutes, decision points there information around here to help to the and destinations. It points me get around?and where types of signs needed they are to be located to best support pedestrian movement.

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Street Sign Augmentation

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e to make decisions entation, direction, nd are located at key n points, and areas of rest.

These are the tools that allow people to make decisions about their journey when changing from one mode to another. These tools are necessary at interchanges such as subway stations and bus stops.



I Walk New York

SIGN DENSITY: MANHATTAN NEIGHBORHOOD This is a schematic view of the sign density in an area of Manhattan. It should be noted that many of these are existing street name signs that would merely be augmented.

fully endorsed the wayfinding plan and reviewed it with the Mayor, City Hall, and other city agencies to gather their input and win their endorsement. With city government’s collective approval of the plan, the next step was to issue an RFP for a phased implementation, which is currently underway.

I Walk New York

segdDESIGN 37



Through a series of examples, the master plan further defines some programming guidelines to inform the placement of signs. The client team at NYCDOT saw the wayfinding project as a natural companion to their safe streets, pedestrian plazas, and bike-share initiatives. The Commissioner


I Walk New York



EMPLOYERS Job Seekers · · · · · · ·

NEW! Record a 30-second elevator pitch NEW! Social networking profile NEW! SEGD logo by your name Free resume listing Your account stores your documents, simplifying the application process Automatic emails alert you to jobs that match your criteria Searches by stage or service help you find the right job faster

Employers · · · · · ·

NEW! SEGD’s Facebook page shows most recent job postings Fast and easy job posting and management Searchable resume database helps you locate more candidates Automatic emails notify you of new resumes matching your criteria On-line reports provide you with job activity statistics Reference checking and employer verification

38 segdDESIGN

no. 35


9 West 57th Street New York City Excerpt from Identify: Basic Principles of Identity Design in the Iconic Trademarks of Chermayeff & Geismar (Print Publishing, 2011)

“The Solow Building at 9 West 57th Street is a major office building in midtown Manhattan, rising above the surrounding buildings just south of Central Park with a striking ski-slope façade. In 1979, developer Sheldon H. Solow asked us to design the identity for his distinguished building, designed by Gordon Bunshaft of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.” “He was expecting a street number for the façade with a trademark, perhaps and a primary-color palette.” “What we came up with turned an identity into public art. In lieu of a number for the façade, we designed a massive, nine-foot-high, sculptural numeral 9 to be placed on the sidewalk, right in the flow of pedestrian traffic.” “The 9 is made from half-inch-thick steel plate and weighs 3,000 pounds, necessitating a steel supporting column that runs through three floors of underground garage. And the actual space the 9 occupies is public property and had to be leased from the city for an annual charge. Since the sculpture is directly in the sidewalk, we chose a hard paint veneer to cover it; still, the diamond rings of passersby leave scratches in the paint. To keep the color fresh, the 9 is repainted several times a year.” “The 9 has become a New York City attraction, and, having appeared in films like Superman and television shows like Sex and the City, it has taken a place in popular culture as an American landmark.”

segdDESIGN 39

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2012 no.


Lincoln Center + The High Line + Paula Scher Maps + I Walk New New York + 9 West 57th Street

Signs Environments Graphics Designs


NUMBER 35, 2012

Brooklyn Signs Environments Graphics Designs 2012 no.


Brooklyn Wayfinding + Jane’s Carousel + Campus Graphics + The Accidental App Developer

no. 35


e Haiku

New York City Department of Transportation in collaboration with artist John Morse Autumn 2011


John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation



st writes screenplay tures bike lane drama How pedestrian

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

Puerta del coche Se abre al ciclista. Un freno duro



Brooklyn Rising Brooklyn’s new branding and wayfinding system are rolled out just in time for the borough’s renaissance.


Jane’s Carousel Brooklyn Bridge Park gets a beautiful restored piece of history in a “jewel box” designed by Jean Nouvel. An elegant graphic identity puts a new twist on old traditions.


Poetry and Motion The New York City Department of Transportation combines signage and haiku—yes, you read that right—to promote pedestrian safety.

e walks in beauty night. Maybe that’s why vers can’t see her.

Aggressive driver. Aggressive pedestrian. Two crash test dummies.


A sudden car door, Cyclist’s story rewritten. Fractured narrative


John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation


John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation


School’s In New wayfinding and environmental graphic design programs aim to identify, unify, and beautify urban campuses.


The Accidental App Developer How a New York architect built an award-winning app and a platform for public art appreciation


18 Design Marketplace 19 Ad Index Oncoming cars rush 28 Out There Each a 3-ton bullet. And you, flesh and bone. John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

On the cover: Brooklyn, through the eyes of Pentagram Partner Paula Scher. From Paula Scher Maps, 2011. (Image: Princeton Architectural Press)

RISING Downtown Brooklyn’s new pedestrian wayfinding system was a decade in the making. It comes to fruition just as Brooklyn blooms again. By Leslie Wolke

In 1975, Woody Allen belittled it as “the heart of the old world.” Last November, GQ Magazine dubbed it “the coolest city on the planet.” The renaissance of the borough of Brooklyn, home to more than 2.6 million people, has been an unexpected and electrifying episode in the area’s colorful history. A new pedestrian wayfinding system for the borough—a decade in development—was unveiled last year just in time to guide a resurgence of appreciative visitors, as well as residents, through its storied neighborhoods and historical landmarks.

2 segdDESIGN

Brooklyn’s new pedestrian wayfinding program includes 45 information kiosks and 33 post-and-panel directionals. Two Twelve also created a new logo for the borough. (Images: Two Twelve)

Boom and bust

The pace of Brooklyn’s initial development was astonishing. Brooklyn first emerged as an urban community in the early 1800s and by the end of the century had grown from 5,000 to more than one million residents. From 1860 to 1880, Brooklyn ranked as the third largest city in the country and infrastructure and transportation kept pace with its burgeoning economy. In 1894, Brooklynites voted to consolidate with New York City as one of its five boroughs. (If it were an independent city today, it would rank fourthlargest city in the U.S.) With the production output of its navy yards, its rail and shipping network, and bridges to Manhattan, Brooklyn’s economic fortunes grew dramatically through the first half of the 20th century and then waned due to a decrease in military production, the flight of residents and commerce to suburban areas, and New York’s financial crisis in the 1970s. As the borough lost much of its economic strength, the decline was most visible in Downtown Brooklyn, which had always been the borough’s governmental and commercial center. Downtown is centered between the ends of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges and flanked by historic neighborhoods such as Brooklyn Heights and Vinegar Hill. Perhaps its best-known landmark is Borough Hall, Brooklyn’s former city hall, an imposing, marble-clad Greek Revival colossus. In the early 1900s, Downtown Brooklyn shone as a commercial center, home to the

famous Abraham & Straus flagship department store. But as Brooklyn’s prospects diminished from 1965 to 1985, the vitality and density that had powered the prosperous downtown district waned. Branding Brooklyn

By the 1990s, efforts to revitalize Downtown Brooklyn were underway. The MetroTech Business Improvement District, a non-profit economic development group whose mission is to further the revitalization of Downtown Brooklyn, was chartered. Recognizing that a clear and accessible wayfinding system would contribute dramatically to the vibrancy of the district, in 2000 MetroTech issued an RFP for a new pedestrian wayfinding system and selected Manhattan-based Two Twelve, a graphic design firm headed by Ann Harakawa and David Gibson, to design it. While MetroTech spearheaded the effort, Two Twelve also collaborated with a large stakeholder group including a consortium of Downtown Brooklyn business groups and cultural institutions. Through a series of public meetings, the design team learned about the differing agendas of the constituencies—from concerns about sign placement to contention over which landmarks would appear on the signs. The project soon outgrew its original intent, says Gibson. “It was first envisioned as a pedestrian signage project, but early on it was apparent that it was an opportunity to brand and define Downtown Brooklyn.” segdDESIGN 3

The design team asked: What is the idea of downtown Brooklyn? They discovered, as Gibson explains, that “it is the commercial and civic core surrounded by a necklace of historic neighborhoods—a cluster of neighborhoods without fixed borders.” To understand the perspective of residents, tourists, and business owners, the Two Twelve team undertook a research study that resulted in a positioning statement: “Downtown Brooklyn: You Can See the World from Here.” The optimistic, expansive, and lively tone of the statement defined the design direction for a logo and the visual vocabulary for the sign system. Beyond the Dodgers

Borough President and all-time Brooklyn booster Marty Markowitz weighed in on the logo design. He was a fan of what Gibson calls the “Entenmann’s script” of the old Brooklyn Dodgers logo. But Brooklyn needed a mark that looked forward, not one that celebrated the past. The final logo frames the abbreviation “Bklyn” in a rectangular border extruded from the “y” and “n” descenders. It conveys the immediacy of a rubber stamp and the vitality of a contemporary nickname. With Markowitz and other stakeholders on board with the new identity, Gibson and the design team turned their attention to defining the components of the wayfinding system. They identified the need for two sign types: a map kiosk for pedestrian orientation and a directional postand-panel sign to guide to landmarks, neighborhoods, and transit stops.

4 segdDESIGN

Double-barreled approvals

Via a funding agreement with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Metrotech managed the funds for the project contributed by various public sources and helped shepherd the project through what Gibson described as “a double-barreled approval process.” The city’s Public Design Commission reviews the aesthetics of anything built on city property, including streets, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission has purview over designated historic districts, many of which are areas within the Downtown Brooklyn wayfinding project perimeter. At each phase of the project, there were approval milestones set by MetroTech and other BIDs, the city commissions, and neighborhood groups, and all of these contributed to the decade-long duration of the project from RFP to implementation. “I’m proud we maintained the vision along the way,” says Gibson. The final design of the system reflects an intense collaboration between Two Twelve, fabricator Design Communications Ltd., and Mike Weiss, MetroTech’s former executive director and project champion. As Mike Weiss stated at the project unveiling, “This strikingly unique system of map directories and directional signs will further enhance all of the hard work that has been done to put Brooklyn, and Downtown Brooklyn, in particular, in the forefront of vibrant urban centers in the country.” Meet the wayfinding kiosk

From Manhattan, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge snapping photos of its dizzying one-point perspective along the way, then descend the stairs and you are greeted by a colorful

Opposite: At 2.25 ft. wide by 7 ft. tall by 3 in. deep, the kiosks are composed of an aluminum structural core with mounted porcelain enamel panes for the graphic faces and maps printed on digital high pressure laminate. The kiosks highlight local history and landmarks. Magazine-like layouts and prominent quotes make the information visually appealing. Each panel can be removed separately for updating.

Right: Design Communications used exacting processes for the post-and-panel directional signs, which measure 24-in. wide by 37.7-in. tall and are mounted 90-in. off the ground. Porcelain enamel production on thin-gauge steel substrates required separate registration of nine colors. For every sign post, there are two double-sided panels hung at an offset to create depth and interest from various viewing angles. In profile, each panel zigzags slightly, emphasizing the different zones of information.

kiosk poised on an angled footing. At 7 ft. tall and 2.25 ft. wide, the kiosk is capped with a large map to orient visitors. Below, the story of Downtown Brooklyn is told through a collection of nearby landmarks. This friendly totem and its 45 cousins include historic and cultural anecdotes in a browsable magazine-like layout. Here one can learn that the cobblestones from Cobble Hill were used as ship ballast during the revolutionary war. The design team placed the kiosks where they would be of most use to residents and visitors alike: in the heart of each neighborhood, near important subway stations, and at important crossroads. “We wanted to make the maps a distinctive feature of the kiosks,” Gibson recalls. The bright orange color scheme was perhaps the boldest move. The designers simplified the street geography to highlight the landmarks and destinations. All maps are oriented north-up regardless of position on the sidewalk, following New Yorkers’ innate compass, honed on Manhattan’s north/south grid. “That’s what New Yorkers know and expect,” says Gibson. “This attitude carries to the parts of Brooklyn adjacent to Manhattan.” Tight tolerances and exacting details

Lauren Vallier, Design Communications’ project manager, contributed to the project from bidding through installation, which was completed last year. Her goal was “to deliver the aesthetic as designed by Two Twelve in a way that would be sustainable and flexible for the client.” The kiosk is composed of an aluminum structural core with mounted porcelain enamel pans for the graphic faces. segdDESIGN 5

Maps were printed on digital high pressure laminate. Each pane can be removed separately for updating. Both DHPL and porcelain are graffiti resistant and are easily cleaned. To print the porcelain enamel panels, each of the five colors were fired separately onto a steel substrate, requiring exact registration. The angled base of the kiosk and aluminum kickplate footing meant seams and joints between materials demanded extra attention during production. Vallier notes, “My peers in fabrication might appreciate the tight tolerances and complexity of this project.” The post-and-panel directional signs utilize the same exacting process of porcelain enamel paint on thingauge steel substrates, with the additional complication of registering nine colors. Each of the 33 signs features two double-sided panels hung at an offset to create depth and interest from various viewing angles. In profile, each panel zigzags slightly, emphasizing the different zones of information. The components of both the kiosk and the directional sign are not rectilinear, says Gibson, but “tilted and shifted to give the forms some energy.” Installers as tour guides

Installation provided its own set of challenges. Isaac Esterman of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership worked on the project with Mike Weiss, who has since retired. While managing installation over the last two years, Esterman reports, “there is no test like the streets and sidewalks of New York City.” When Vallier was onsite with her installation team, she discovered Brooklyn’s strong draw as a tourist destination. “Tourists were looking at maps over the shoulders of our installers, who, over the course of the project became ‘Brooklyn Diplomats’—giving directions to passers-by.”

BROOKLYN WAYFINDING SYSTEM Client MetroTech Location Brooklyn, N.Y. Design Two Twelve Design Team David Gibson (principal in charge); Anthony Ferrara/Cesar Sanchez (creative director/project manager through 2007); Michelle Cates (creative director/project manager 2008-present); Dominic Borgia, Whitney Grant, Yanira Hernandez, Alexandria Lee, Tom McLaughlin, Naomi Pearson, Jenny Uchida, Diana Zantropp (designers) Fabrication Design Communications Ltd. CONSULTANTS Stantec Engineers PHOTOS Two Twelve

With installation completed, 77 directional signs and kiosks serve visitors across the 12 neighborhoods of Fulton Ferry Landing, Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Dumbo, Brooklyn Civic Center, Fulton Mall, Fort Greene, Vinegar Hill, MetroTech, Boerum Hill, and Clinton Hill. Esterman, a 12-year Brooklyn resident, says, “It’s a thrill to see people using the kiosks. People notice the color and the language of the signs and the system is a credit to the neighborhood.” Brooklyn revival

At the same time that the project team was engaged in the 10-year marathon of design, approvals, and installation, Brooklyn itself was undergoing yet another transformation: reasserting its cultural and commercial leadership along with an emphasis on community and quality of life. A unique recipe of creativity, entrepreneurship, and the growing diversity and ethnicity of its neighborhoods was brewing. Esterman believes that re-investing (both economically and personally) in Brooklyn’s neighborhoods was a catalyst for this tremendous revitalization. “A confluence of factors—such as improvements to the physical infrastructure along with a renewed commitment to civic institutions like schools, streets, and sidewalks— led to the resurgence we’ve seen over the last ten to fifteen years.” Gibson says the perspective provided by working on the project for a decade has been fascinating. “Brooklyn was a completely different place in 2000 when we started. Today it’s a creative culture of designers, entrepreneurs, and an energy all of its own.” Maps of Downtown Brooklyn are printed on digital high-pressure laminate that can be updated easily and is resistant to weather and graffiti.

6 segdDESIGN

Leslie Wolke ( is a consultant who specializes in wayfinding technology and interactive donor recognition systems. She is a member of the SEGD Board of Directors and co-chair of SEGD’s annual innovation event, Xlab.

Brooklyn Bridge Park gets a beautifully restored legacy of American history. Its elegant graphic identity puts a new twist on old traditions. By Naomi Pearson

When artist and designer Jane Walentas and her husband, New York real estate developer David Walentas, bought a dilapidated 1922 carousel at auction in 1984, they envisioned it as part of their plan to transform the Brooklyn neighborhood known as Dumbo (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) into an artistic, vibrant mixed-use neighborhood.

8 segdDESIGN

Opposite: Embedded in the concrete apron in front of it, the name of the carousel becomes a giant welcome mat for visitors.

Doyle Partners created an ornamental typeface that reflects the baroque styling of the carousel and recalls the up-anddown movement of the dancing horses.

Above: Jane’s Carousel is protected from the elements by the acrylic “jewelbox” designed by architect Jean Nouvel. A 60-in. wide by 126-in. high stainless steel stanchion across from the carousel bears the horseshoeinspired logo long envisioned by artist and designer Jane Walentas, who painstakingly restored the carousel.

Below: At night, the carousel becomes a magic lantern, with shadows of the spinning horses projected onto a scrim that appears when the sun goes down. (Photo: Roland Halbe)


planned, the carousel has been restored to its original elegance, and spins its magic in the very happening Dumbo section of Brooklyn Bridge Park, along the shore of the East River. A former industrial cargo shipping and storage area, the sustainably developed 85-acre park was designed by landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates to reconnect the city with its waterfront. It will open in stages through 2015. Jane’s Carousel is a jewel in the new park. After rescuing it from being sold piecemeal, Walentas restored the carousel herself, then commissioned Pritzker Prize-winning French architect Jean Nouvel to design a pavilion for it. Nouvel’s 26-ft.-high transparent acrylic jewel box protects the carousel from the elements and at night, transforms it into a lantern with shadows of the horses dancing inside. segdDESIGN 9

Left: On the reverse side of the stanchion, Doyle Partners rendered an interpretive history of the carousel. The polished surface reflects the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. Dale Travis Associates pre-polished the seamless mirrored face, then etched with acid using custombuilt tanks. Left: Silver, highly reflective portable sandwich boards at the entrance list hours and house rules. Below right: Doyle Partners also created tickets that feature the polychrome palettes of the carousel horses.

“ Because of the building, I knew there was no place for signage,” she recalls. “I put this as a challenge to Doyle.”

Walentas asked Doyle Partners to design a graphic identity for the carousel that would honor its history without disrupting Nouvel’s 72-ft. clear acrylic walls. “Because of the building, I knew there was no place for signage,” she recalls. “I put this as a challenge to Doyle.” Disappearing act

A vestige from the heyday of the American carousel, Jane’s Carousel was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company and known as P.T.C. 61 when it was installed in Idora Park in Youngstown, Ohio. Walentas hadn’t intended to restore the carousel herself, but after researching its history (and the techniques required to restore it) she realized she’d need to take the project on personally in order to see her vision come to fruition. “Not a labor of love, it was a dedication to doing what needed to be done, honoring a piece of American history,” she says. A former art director at Estee Lauder, Jane pursued her vision by carefully selecting a team of exceptional artists and designers to work with her. To save costs, she took on printing, production, and installation coordination with the help of the team at her husband’s development company, Two Trees Management. When Walentas asked Doyle Partners to develop branding and signage for the site, Stephen Doyle knew his team would need to pull off an elegant disappearing act. “We strategized a nice way to identify [the carousel’s] extravagant and baroque features, but install it in a way that 10 segdDESIGN

acknowledges the minimalism of the pavilion.” In fact, the signage was not to become part of the pavilion at all. “We couldn’t put anything vertical into the space or on the box, because at night the carousel becomes a magic lantern, with shadows of the spinning horses projected onto a scrim that appears when the sun goes down.” Unable to make use of the pavilion structure, and averse to adding branded street furniture to the park, Doyle led his team instead to “find ways to infiltrate the site with typography.” Blending history with modernity

The carousel itself, as well as historic carnival imagery and old letterhead of the era, provided inspiration for the graphic identity. The Doyle team took cues from “curvy French swashes, saddle ornaments, the hand-drawn visuals of hawkers, and old letterheads where even the name is narrative,” says Doyle. The ornamental typeface they created is based on an existing typeface and reflects the carousel’s baroque styling. And importantly, “the letters go up and down, just as the horses on the carousel do.” When it came time to apply the identity to the site, Doyle made a grand but subtle gesture: a 30- by 15-ft. stainless steel graphic “welcome mat” embedded in the carousel’s concrete apron. The ornamental typeface is suitably graceful, while the use of steel and the deceptively simple installation lends a minimalist touch. Stripped of color but reflective, the type complements the colorful horses and is subtle enough to

disappear into the environment, but adds an “enchanting reflectivity” to the experience as it mirrors the conditions of the sky and surroundings, adds Doyle. Over time, sand and pedestrian foot traffic will maintain the brushed finish. Signage fabricator Dale Travis Associates sank the stainless steel letters 8 in. into the concrete apron. Perfect alignment in wet concrete was a tricky endeavor. “All of the quarterinch thick letters were built on stilts with diagonal bracing and connected to a baseplate resting on the ground below the pavement,” explains Dale Travis. “The intent was for the letters to end up on the top surface of cement.” Across from the carousel, architect Jean Nouvel designed a 60- wide by 126-in. high freestanding, polished stainless steel stanchion to conceal mechanical vents that allow hot air to escape from the carousel’s machinery. Doyle’s team used it as a canvas for the interpretive history of the carousel, etching the story into its polished surface, which also clearly reflects the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. On the reverse side of the stanchion, the horseshoe-inspired Jane’s Carousel logo appears on brushed stainless steel. Other signage includes an old-fashioned sandwich board sign near the ticketing area. A lasting gift

Doyle Partners signed on in February 2011 and saw the completion of the project in time for the carousel’s opening in September 2011. Walentas’ involvement, however, spanned 27 years. One of the last steps in the restoration, the painting of the 48 ornately carved horses and two chariots, alone took two years. Walentas did much of the underpainting herself to save money, but again sought the best talent to

help complete her vision. A Mercedes Benz detailing expert hand-painted the bridles and saddles for custom flourishes. Artist Christian Fagerlund painted feathers, flowers, and horse skins. Learning from neighborhood sculptors, Walentas found it less expensive to apply real gold leaf than to restore the original gold-tinted aluminum leaf. Evergreen Design Studios produced thousands of laser-cut stencils to be used in the process. Brooklyn design maverik Mark Ellison designed butterfly-wing-inspired ticket booths. At a price tag of $34 million for its restoration and housing, the carousel is the Walentas’ gift to the city of New York. The couple also gave the city an additional $3.5 million toward development of the park. Coined Jane’s Carousel by her husband (Jane had preferred P.T.C. 61), the carousel’s operation continues to be an ongoing endeavor: Friends of Jane’s Carousel, a not-for-profit entity, is guaranteeing its upkeep for up to 30 years. Once again a popular amusement, Jane’s Carousel is destined to remain an enduring fixture on the American landscape. The carousel, and its graphic presence, is both a link to the past and a modern twist on a lasting tradition. Thinking long term, Doyle emphasizes that “durability and beauty” are the surest way to create something designed to stand the test of time. Indeed, the carousel and its accompanying design are a thing of beauty to be enjoyed and admired long onto the future. Naomi Pearson is a designer, illustrator, and consultant living in Brooklyn. She works for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Exhibit and Graphic Arts Department in the Center for Global Conservation at the Bronx Zoo. She is a member of the SEGD Sustainability Forum.

JANE’S CAROUSEL Client Jane Walentas Location Brooklyn, N.Y. Design Doyle Partners Design Team Stephen Doyle (creative director); Drew Heffron (designer); Staci MacKenzie, Rosemarie Turk (project managers) Fabrication Dale Travis Associates (primary fabricator), Alp Signs (sandwich board) Pavilion Architect Jean Nouvel Photos Julienne Schaer, Ben Tousley (except as noted)

segdDESIGN 11





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November 7-8

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Visit for an up-to-the-minute calendar of events!!

cooper union DesigN: Abbott Miller, peNtAgrAM fifa trophY DesigN: MichAel gericke, peNtAgrAM lincoln center film societY DesigN: 2x4 Jane’s carousel

before iNstAllAtioN

DesigN: DoYle pArtNers haYden planetarium, rose center DesigN: MichAel bierut, peNtAgrAM

Dale Travis associaTes, iNc. fine architectural signage 45 West 21st street NY NY 10010 212 243-8373 WWW.DAletrAvis.coM

Curbside Haiku

in collaboration with artist John Morse Autumn 2011

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

Cars crossing sidewalk: Worst New York City hotspot To run into friends

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

Cyclist writes screenplay Plot features bike lane drama How pedestrian

Puerta del coche Se abre al ciclista. Un freno duro

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

A sudden car door, Cyclist’s story rewritten. Fractured narrative

Poetry and Motion The New York City Department of Transportation combines signage and haiku——haiku??——to promote traffic safety. By Pat Matson KnaPP

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

She walks in beauty Like the night. Maybe that’s why Drivers can’t see her.

Aggressive driver. Aggressive pedestrian. Two crash test dummies.

me John Morse C urbside Haiku © 2011 NYC D e part nt of Transportation

It’s rare that the words “poetry” and “traffic engineering” up inlane the Car stops show near bike entering raffle sameCyclist sentence. But this is a story Unwanted about howdoor theyprize did, and do, in one of the largest and most traffic-gnarled cities in the world. Janette Sadik-Khan, the New York City Department of Transportation’s gamechanging and controversial commissioner, has been on a mission since she took the job in 2007: to create “world-class” streets and radically decrease the numberToo of averse injuriestoand risk To chance the lottery, yet deaths to pedestrians, Steps into traffic cyclists, motorists, and passengers. Her attack has been many-pronged and often news-worthy: blocking off streets to set up dance classes and pop-up swimming pools, transforming a portion of Times Square into a pedestrian plaza, and installing speed boards that display an LED image of a skeleton next to the words “Slow Down” when a passing motorist exceeds the speed limit.

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

8 million swimming, The traffic rolling like waves. Watch for undertow.

Imagine a world Where your every move matters. Welcome to that world.

top: Curbside Haiku was a joint effort of the new york City Department of transportation and the safe streets Fund in collaboration with artist John Morse. It launched in november 2011 and will be in place for 11 months.

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

Oncoming cars rush Each a 3-ton bullet. And you, flesh and bone.

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

Coches ciegos Comunicarse en Braille. Remate brutal.

above: the small signs are meant to be discovered, not to distract. In some locations, they feature only an image, with the haiku embedded in a QR code that can be read with smartphone apps. (Photo: nyCDot)

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John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

Car stops near bike lane Cyclist entering raffle Unwanted door prize

“I’ve always believed that pictures speak louder than words,” says Sadik-Khan. “We’re looking for creative ways to get the word out about safety. And quite often, Too averse to risk the audience we’re trying to To chance the lottery, yet Steps into traffic reach is not interested in the ‘Thou Shalt Not Cross the Street’ approach.” This is where artist John Morse enters the story. In 2010, inspired by the bandit signs that proliferate in Atlanta and other cities these days (think “Lose Weight Fast” or “We Buy Ugly Houses”), Morse created a guerilla sign campaign featuring witty haiku. With funding from a private arts organization called Flux Projects, he put up 500 of these illegal signs overnight. They caused an immediate sensation. “Rolling up to a red light and seeing a sign with black Helvetica lettering, dollar signs, and exclamation points, you naturally assume ‘Someone wants to sell me something,’” says Morse. “But instead, in the time it takes for the light to turn green, we delivered art.” John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

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Cyclist writes screenplay Plot features bike lane drama How pedestrian

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

Puerta del coche Se abre al ciclista. Un freno duro

She walks in beauty Like the night. Maybe that’s why Drivers can’t see her.

Aggressive driver. Aggressive pedestrian. Two crash test dummies.

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

8 million swimming, The traffic rolling like waves. Watch for undertow.

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

A sudden car door, Cyclist’s story rewritten. Fractured narrative

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

me John Morse C urbside Haiku © 2011 NYC D e part nt of Transportation

Cars crossing sidewalk: Worst New York City hotspot To run into friends

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

Oncoming cars rush Each a 3-ton bullet. And you, flesh and bone.

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

Imagine a world Where your every move matters. Welcome to that world.

Coches ciegos Comunicarse en Braille. Remate brutal.

Above: The 8- by 8-in. signs are aluminum with a laminated vinyl face. Atlanta- and New York-based artist John Morse wrote the haiku verse and created hand-made paper collages for the images. (Photo: NYCDOT)

Opposite: A total of 144 signs were installed at high-crash intersections near schools and cultural institutions. (Photo: NYCDOT)

Car stops near bike lane Cyclist entering raffle Unwanted door prize

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation NYC Department of Transportation

Too averse to risk To chance the lottery, yet Steps into traffic

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation NYC Department of Transportation

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation NYC Department of Transportation

She walks in beauty Like the night. Maybe that’s why Drivers can’t see her.

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation

8 million swimming, The traffic rolling like waves. Watch for undertow.

Aggressive driver. Aggressive pedestrian. Two crash test dummies.

e mnen Mro e aHikaik 20210111NYNCYC paprtam tartiaotn no ion rsC se brsbidseidH e uCru JoJhonhM arnasnpsopro u© u© D eD e rt t otfoTfrT

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation NYC Department of Transportation

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation NYC Department of Transportation

Oncoming cars rush Each a 3-ton bullet. And you, flesh and bone.

John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 John Morse Curbside Haiku © 2011 NYC Department of Transportation NYC Department of Transportation

Imagine a world Where your every move matters. Welcome to that world.

Coches ciegos Comunicarse en Braille. Remate brutal.

super common and tweaking it to make it completely new.” Sadik-Khan says the small signs are designed to be discovered, not to distract. “It’s a Zen approach. People get up close and personal with them, and it’s an

unexpected way to deliver our message. It helps balance the seriousness of safety in a surprisingly fresh way.”

When Morse’s old friend Sadik-Khan heard about his Atlanta work, she met with Morse and a collaboration was born. Curbside Haiku— launched last November and scheduled to be up for 11 months—is a set of 12 bright, eye-catching pedestrian signs installed at eye level in highcrash locations near schools and cultural institutions. They feature Morse’s original haiku verse

Oncoming cars rush Each a 3-ton bullet. And you, flesh and bone. (and 11 others, some in Spanish), as well as his handmade paper collage artwork, reproduced on 8- by 8-in. aluminum signs. A total of 144 signs have been installed. Morse has long been a fan of the pedestrian crossing figure,

and he has used it often in his work. It was an obvious solution for the Curbside Haiku images, but Morse found ways to “disassemble” and reconstruct it for the poetic signs. “The deal for me is taking something that is

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no. 35

Design Marketplace

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School’s In New wayfinding and environmental graphic design programs aim to identify, unify, and beautify urban campuses in New York City. By Jenny S. Reising


s universities face increasingly stiff competition for students, and rising tuition costs make students more selective about where they choose to get in debt, campus signage is emerging as a cost-effective differentiator. “Campuses are controlled chaos in many ways,” says David Vanden-Eynden, principal of Calori & Vanden-Eynden / Design Consultants. “What we’re seeing is that signage is a brand enhancer that offers great bang for the buck—and universities are starting to realize that.” While larger universities are using mobile apps to help students and faculty navigate increasingly complex and sprawling campuses, technology is no substitute for physical wayfinding. Buildings still need identifiers, visitor parking lots still need to be clearly denoted, and classrooms and offices need to be labeled clearly. And for smaller campuses and even individual departments, signage is an opportunity to create a unique visual identity and have some fun. In New York City, several universities have turned to EGD firms to create unified wayfinding programs that not only get people from A to B, but enhance the journey. 20 segdDESIGN

New York Law School Design: Poulin + Morris Fabrication: Design Communications Ltd., Applied Image Photos: Jeffrey Totaro

The New York Law School may be sprawled out among multiple disconnected buildings, but its urban location in New York City’s legal, civic, and financial district unifies and drives its brand identity and persona. The school is also unique from other law schools in that the majority of its students are older, part-time, or otherwise nontraditional, and it also offers a wide range of work-study programs and hands-on learning experiences so that education is not limited to the classroom. When the school embarked on a $190 million expansion that doubled its campus with a new nine-story building in Lower Manhattan (designed by Smith Group), it tapped Poulin + Morris to create an environmental graphic design and wayfinding program that would unify the campus, add a cohesive brand identity, and encourage students to linger and commune with each other in social spaces. P+M took cues from the building’s architectural vocabulary—a modernist glass building—when designing elements of the signage program. A vertically oriented 34-ft.-tall blue perforated-aluminum building identifier traverses three floors of the new building at a high elevation. A more modest-sized horizontal stainless-steel building identifier appears at pedestrian level.

Opposite: Iconic black and white photography of New York, juxtaposed against colorful, kinetic graphic treatments of the school logotype, serve as floor identifiers. Below: A flexible sign panel system is used for directional, room identifier, and regulatory signs.

Right: At the New York Law School, the EGD program takes cues from the school’s new nine-story modernist glass building. The 34-ft.-tall perforated-aluminum identifier spans three top floors.

Below: A 32-ft.-tall red wall acts as a dramatic backdrop for a series of cast-glass prisms that double as art and donor recognition. About 200 prisms in varying sizes recognize different levels of donorship

At the main entrance, P+M Principal Richard Poulin says, “We felt that it could function as a welcoming element and also celebrate the foundations of the American legal system in a novel, nontraditional way that represents how the school and faculty view its positioning.” A glass canopy and 9- by 30-ft. lobby wall feature excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights between two layers of backlit frosted-glass panels. According to Poulin, “The building is very intuitive and easy to navigate, so the wayfinding system is restrained.” A series of vibrantly colored wall murals on the second through fifth floors juxtapose black and white images of New York City by famous photographers with kinetic graphic interpretations of the New York Law School logotype that act as floor identifiers. Colorful wall murals depicting reflectivity on the surface of water also activate the two sublevels of the Mendik Law Library, bringing a bit of nature and color into an otherwise sterile, dense, and naturallight-challenged environment. The donor recognition program takes inspiration from the building’s all-glass façade and performs double-duty as art. A 32-ft.tall, two-story red wall on the building’s public lobby level forms a bold visual backdrop for a series of cast-glass prisms that recognize varying levels of donorship. The main donor wall comprises about 200 suspended cast-glass prisms in three varying heights with metallic grey vinyl lettering to recognize different levels of benefactors. A secondary donor wall on the lower level displays names on a glass panel system that offers room to add new donors. segdDESIGN 21

New York University Linguistics Department Design: Piscatello Design Centre Fabrication: Precision Signs Photos: Dani Piderman

When the New York University Department of Linguistics got a new home—a slim, six-story, circa-1900s manufacturing building— the redesign by 1100 Architects aimed to improve communication between the department divisions and give the program more of a presence at the university. Piscatello Design Centre created a visual identity that plays off the architecture and a wayfinding program that also speaks to the architectural vocabulary. PDC started with the font, a bitmapped version of Univers 39 Condensed, which consists of tall, thin letters that take cues from the building’s slim, vertical architecture. Largescale red vinyl letters on the all-glass façade are used to identify the building, while vertical grooves in the walls of the student lounge are integrated with dramatic, clear directories that are visible from the street. Because of the building’s verticality, the stairwell is a big part of the square footage. To make traveling from floor to floor a more engaging experience, PDC installed playful 5-ft.-tall lenticular numbers on each floor of the stairwell that appear red when walking down and blue when walking up. The low-tech solution not only solved the problem of applying signage on the irregular exposed-brick and cinderblock surface, but also created visual and auditory interest: people run their fingers along the grooves to produce a sound, which plays off the idea of linguistics. The numbers are also fabricated out of square modules, making them easy to repair when damaged.

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Opposite top: To complement the NYU Linguistics Department’s new home in a slender 1900s-era building, Piscatello Design Centre created a bitmapped version of Univers 39 Condensed for the signage. Opposite middle and bottom: In the lobby, designers worked with 1100 Architects to integrate vertical grooves in the walls seamlessly with clear, dramatic directories that are visible from the street. Left top and bottom: Tactile 5-ft.-tall lenticular numbers identify floors on the stairwell, appearing red when walking down and blue when walking up. Top and above: Room identifier and regulatory signs use the slim condensed typeface and long rectangular sign form that echo the building’s shape.

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New York University Department of Social and Cultural Analysis Design: Design360 Fabrication: Xibitz Photos: Michael Moran

Although NYU is in the process of rolling out a cohesive exterior signage program for its sprawling campus, the university lets individual departments design interior signage that is unique to each discipline. When the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis moved to a new one-floor, 16,000-sq.-ft. space in Greenwich Village, it was an opportunity not only to unify multiple disciplines that had previously been under separate roofs, but also to create a distinct yet integrated architectural and environmental graphic design aesthetic for the department. Taking cues from the neutral color and materials palette by LTL Architects, Design360 used non-photo blue for the wayfinding and signage program and juxtaposed 2D and 3D materials that play off the planes of the space. For example, large-scale letters of a conference room sign transition from vinyl appliqué on glass to 3form letterforms on the wall. Design360 also played with fragmentation of letterforms. In the restroom, the word “toilet” is fragmented in brown vinyl on the exterior (only the beginning and end of the word is visible), with the full word appearing on the restroom door in non-photo blue. And sliding resin doors at the entryway feature fragments of the letters “SCA” in vinyl.

Top and middle: Design360 blended 2D and 3D materials, with large-scale letters morphing from vinyl appliqué on glass to 3form letterforms. Above: The fragmentation theme continues to the restrooms, where the beginning and end of the word “toilet” appear in brown vinyl and the entire word appears in nonphoto blue on the door. Left: Fragmented letterforms represent the varying viewpoints that students encounter in their studies. A reception area backdrop is made of 3form panels that can be slid together in several combinations to form the initials of the department name.

24 segdDESIGN

Rockefeller University Design: Calori & Vanden-Eynden/Design Consultants Fabrication: Nordquist Signs Photos: Elliott Kaufman

Rockefeller University is housed on a modest 14-acre campus—you can walk from one end to the other in about 10 minutes—but its prestige and impact are renowned. The strictly medical research institute hosts a highly selective group of 100 post-doc students and multiple Nobel Peace Prize winners. There is only one entrance and to get on the campus, you have to be announced and someone has to come and get you. And although the university occupies one of the prettiest pieces of real estate in New York City, the preexisting hodge-podge sign system wasn’t in sync with the university’s prestigious image. Calori & Vanden-Eynden/Design Consultants was tasked with creating a unified signage system that would be visible, blend in with the surroundings, and look like it had always been there. As CV&E Principal David Vanden-Eynden puts it, “The signs function very well at a whisper rather than a shout.” Taking cues from the university’s biomedical research, the signs’ gently curving shape resembles chromosome pairs, while their oxidized-bronze construction is informed by the bronze details on the buildings. The white Stone Sans typography offers a high-contrast, contemporary counterpoint to the signs’ dark brown backdrop, making the non-illuminated signs visible at night and allowing them to integrate seamlessly with the more modern buildings that are currently under construction on campus.

Left and above: The totem sign forms designed for Rockefeller University are comprised of opposing curved panels that resemble chromosome pairs—a nod to the university’s biomedical research mission. LED lighting concealed in the void between the panels provides pathway lighting. Top left: White Stone Sans typography offers a contemporary, high-contrast counterpoint to the bronze signs, making them visible at night and blending well with traditional buildings and new buildings under construction.

segdDESIGN 25

Cooper Union Design: Pentagram Fabrication: Dale Travis Associates, Mega Media Concepts Photos: Iwan Baan, Chuck Choi

The new Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art building in New York’s East Village looks nothing like the original 1859 Foundation building across the street, thanks to an undulating perforated stainless-steel architectural design by Thom Mayne of Morphosis. But the signage and wayfinding program designed by Pentagram Partner Abbott Miller—a Cooper alumnus—makes a connection between the old and the new. The unique dialogue between the older structure’s more traditional bricks-and-mortar architecture and the iconic architectural design by Morphosis begins with the typeface, Foundry Gridnik. According to designers, the strong, angular look of the original signage suggests art, architecture, and engineering. Foundry Gridnik bears resemblance to the lettering on the original Foundation building but has a tough, futuristic character that works well with the bold forms and materials used in the new building. Miller also physicalized the environmental graphics program by extending typography across multiple sign surfaces, making the

letters appear extruded across corners or cut, extended, and dragged through the material. Canopy signage on the building’s façade features optically extruded lettering that looks right when viewed in strict elevation but distorts as the letter’s profile is dragged backward in space. The cutouts in the lower half of the letterforms complement the transparency of the building’s perforated stainless-steel skin. The donor signage is also designed to blur the line between signage and architecture. In the dramatic nine-story atrium lobby, which is dominated by staircases, donor names appear on the front and bottom of more than 80 hanging blades of the steps, with typography appearing in reverse on the backs of the blades. Donor signs outside of classrooms and offices appear as vertical stainless-steel corner guards for the 10-ft.-tall doors. The edges of the letterforms are visible on the edges of the bar, creating a graphic barcode-type pattern when viewed from the sides.

Above and left: Pentagram made use of a dramatic stairwell for donor signage. Donor names appear on the fronts and bottoms of more than 80 hanging blades and in reverse on the backs of the blades.

Top: The undulating stainlesssteel Cooper Union building by Thom Mayne of Morphosis contrasts starkly with the 1859 Foundation building it replaced. Above: On the canopy, identity signage features optically extruded lettering in Foundry Gridnik that looks correct when viewed in strict elevation but distorts as the letter’s profile is dragged in space.

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no. 35

Out There

The Accidental App Developer How a New York architect built an award-winning app and a platform for public art appreciation When Abby Suckle and her colleagues approached the stage to receive their award at NYC’s Big Apps 2.0 Competition, they did not fit the stereotype of app developers. “The audience thought we were the developers’ moms!” Suckle laughs. But there they were there in late 2011, shaking Mayor Bloomberg’s hand and receiving an Honorable Mention for Best Cultural App for New York City for their first endeavor in the smartphone app market CultureNOW: A Guidebook for the Museum Without Walls, Lower Manhattan edition. The app provides a comprehensive and curated guide to the public art and architecture of Lower Manhattan, complete with descriptions, photos and podcasts by artists, architects, and planners. Suckle and her colleagues began this journey about 10 years ago, when they founded

a pro bono coalition of design professionals in the weeks after September 11. The group undertook planning initiatives for post-9/11 Lower Manhattan and brainstormed ways to remind New Yorkers of the neighborhood’s cultural, architectural, historical, and artistic gems. “We wanted to get people downtown again and revitalize the community,” Suckle remembers.

By Leslie Wolke

The group’s first publication was an 8-ft.-long map of public art in Lower Manhattan. As an architect, Suckle had little experience with mapping and graphic design. “The map didn’t go over very well,” Suckle remembers. “It was awkward to use and expensive to print.” But as Suckle and the large volunteer taskforce collected, cataloged, and organized information about all the public

The free CultureNOW: Museum Without Walls app provides a curated guide to the public art and architecture of Lower Manhattan, complete with descriptions, photos, and podcasts by artists, architects, and planners.

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28 segdDESIGN

art sites and their creators, it was clear that this level of documentation had never been undertaken. It was also evident that there was an audience eager to discover and learn about art in the public realm. After the CultureNOW team presented at a national public art conference, they were overwhelmed by requests to share their methodology and their content management platform so that other cities could catalog and publish their collections. “We found ourselves inadvertently digitizing art at a national scale,” recalls Suckle. Suckle believes that art and architecture should be experienced in context. Reading about an installation or a building in a book does not convey the physicality, scale and relationships that one encounters in person. So when the iPhone app store came along, Suckle realized this was the perfect vehicle to broadcast their growing database of art and architecture to people as they navigate the environment.

Today, CultureNOW offers two editions of their guide: the free award-winning guide for Lower Manhattan and a $1.99 full version that can be used to experience more than 60 art collections across the country, including large collections in Kansas City, Portland, and Phoenix. In total, CultureNOW is currently tracking more than 10,000 sites with12,000 images and 400 podcasts. Suckle sums up the CultureNOW project: “The goal is to take the museum out of the museum—to free ourselves from print and to give the visitor an easy reference, similar to a museum’s acoustic guide.” And with an expansive definition of public art as anything you can see from a public place or paid for by public money, the apps double as travel guides for art lovers and city explorers.

Above: CultureNOW started mapping public art in Lower Manhattan in 2002 as part of efforts to revitalize the neighborhood following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Top: A $1.99 full version of the app that can be used to experience more than 60 art collections across the country. CultureNOW is currently tracking more than 10,000 sites with 12,000 images and 400 podcasts.

Leslie Wolke, SEGD (leslie. is a consultant who specializes in wayfinding technology and interactive donor recognition systems.

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