The “wayfinding” system of signs and staircases at the New School’s University Center, opening early next year, is designed to do more than get people from one point to another.
“This is more about orientation than specific information,” said Mr. Marshall, who joined Mr. Baur on a tour recently. “As you move into the building, there are room numbers and specificity.”
The lettering has a three-dimensional appearance that plays on perspective to point people in the right direction. It is as though someone were shining a flashlight above the letters, and once you understand the system, you can tell which way to go from the way the letters face.
The letters differ from floor to floor, although the typefaces are all variations on a single font: Irma, designed by Peter Bil’ak. The lettering on the top floor has a deep shadow. The lettering on the ground floor has almost none.
“The idea is to give a tool for a place, a typeface for a place,” Mr. Baur said. “It’s a language which can be adopted in different contexts.”
Mr. Baur said the biggest challenge was not the staircases or the signs, but the “donor wall” in the lobby, with the names of people who had contributed money for the building.
“We never do that in Europe,” he said.
[faciities planning, wayfinding, North Atlantic, NY]