DNCO, the self-described creative studio for place and culture, has unveiled its bespoke new wayfinding system for 1 New Park Square. Composed of 'opinionated colours', geometric shapes and the Beirut typeface, it promises to be a subtle yet stylish way of guiding people around the building.
Enlisting DNCO to create the wayfinding system for 1 New Park Square makes complete sense when you remember that they developed the brand identity for Edinburgh Park that launched last year. Seeing as the design studio is intimately familiar with the look and feel of the Scottish capital's sustainable urban quarter, they were able to extend this aesthetic into the building's new signage seamlessly.
Not only that, but the wayfinding system also reflects the striking architecture of 1 New Park Square. Designed by architects AHMM, the building features brick facades, terrazzo interiors and exposed concrete, and a bold landmark at the heart of Edinburgh Park. Perfectly placed in the creative campus, it offers sweeping views of the Scottish landscape, meaning DNCO had its work cut out to ensure its designs lived up to visitor needs and expectations.
As you can see, though, DNCO pulled off the brief easily. The wayfinding manages to be coherent, helpful and never distracting thanks to its elegant use of colour that underscores the building's materiality. Take the inside core of the building, where a series of hand-painted signs display level details in tall, crisp letters and numbers. Meanwhile, other signs fabricated from powder-coated aluminium reveal their numbers and icons through negative spaces cut out of the surface and rely on the material underneath to provide relief.
"We took a minimalist approach to this wayfinding project, ensuring that the power of the place was undiluted," says DNCO creative director Patrick Eley. "Bright timber lining and cast concrete give the architecture a rawness and a richness, which we reflected with a pared-back, refined material palette."
He adds that numbers in the main core were painted a soothing bright green in order to neatly distinguish them from the white signage in the secondary core. "The pairing creates a beautiful interplay, further highlighted as the cut edges of the dark green signs are painted in a brighter, contrasting green."
As for the entrance of the building, it features 1 New Park Square projecting from the glazing in a pure white courtesy of Beirut-inspired calligraphic forms. These appear to float in the reflections and strike a clear contrast with the linearity of the rest of the architecture. An accompanying bespoke icon set was also designed by DNCO and features "powerful, simple geometry" based on the angular serifs of the Beirut typeface. These are perhaps best exemplified by the toilet signs.
"Higher up on the exterior of the building, the words from author Alexander McCall Smith in praise of the Scottish capital glow in neon: "of shifting light, of changing skies" — a poetic call to the beauty of Edinburgh," adds Patrick. "Sitting directly opposite the tram lines that weave through the site on their way to the city, it's also a clear sign that you have arrived."
Speaking of the final result, AHMM associate Matthew Hart reveals that he believes that the most successful buildings are exciting, materially confident and easy to navigate. Qualities which have all been captured by DNCO's wayfinding system.
"At 1 New Park Square, the wayfinding developed by DNCO becomes an integrated part of the design, knitting together the brand and architecture to convey a sense of place," he explains. "The cut-out lettering in a bold typeface – both enhances and respects the material palette of the building – a solution we enjoy.
"The choice and colour selection of the metal panels and painted graphics reflects the raw industrial materials, bringing out the texture of the natural wood and concrete and the changing of colours between spaces and levels highlight where you are in a subtle, yet considered manner."