Walls with heads – murals as office space branding’s leitmotif
Figuring it out – the part about setting project priorities
While Renoma is being transformed from a shopping mall to a service center with restaurants, offices, and its very own social innovation program we have to develop a space branding system for office space with a total area of 1400 square meters! Sounds like quite a challenge, doesn’t it? Not only the vast space and the prestige make it so special, but also this new feeling of total disorientation during the first wave of the pandemic, which even blocks access to the building. After having a quick glance at floor plans, we already know what is in front of us –the development of strategic signage for long concrete walkways with interiors arranged on both sides. We agreed with the 3XA architecture studio, which had invited us to this project, to create a visual information system with simple, non-invasive devices. What about expression and visual context? What to base on when developing artistic wall design? The answer came with Renoma’s modernist façade and a piece of art, which – as it turned out – with equal power represents the values of the founders of the building (the Wertheim brothers), as well as the ideas of our investor.
Brainstorming as a way of creating the project’s key visual
Since the 1930s, the facade of the building has been decorated with one hundred portrait sculptures by Ulrich Nitschke showing people from different ethnic groups from all over the world. The sculptures are inspired by photographs from a cosmopolitan pre-war magazine “Atlantis”, carrying the symbolism of international goods, and above all openness to the views and customs of people from different cultures. Doesn’t it just suit perfectly the IT world nowadays (based on a multicultural and global range)? That’s why we put the faces of the representatives of distant lands and times on the walls on two floors. In yellow-gray paintings, Zuza Wollny hid the good spirits and now they are all around the employees, cheering them up. And the signs of Chinese calligraphy and cultural props swirling around the characters are an allegory of the code that has been used by man since the dawn of time. Code which today has taken the form of a digital reality programming language. An interpretation that finishes the visual concept beautifully, right?
Murals are not just pretty walls. It’s a way to present the values of a company and prove passion in everyday work
Murals – modern frescos in the temple of technology
Besides graphics with images of human genealogy, in our project we also showed the wall design with themes drawn from the history of the city, its surroundings, as well as from the brand book. We want to make the interiors that build a relationship with the brand, surrounding the users with the visual language of the company. We disassembled the logo into parts and then combined them. They become the parts of abstract murals based on repetitive figures giving an idea of echo, sonar recording or mountain landscape, a ribbon of a river, or … bringing the simple “PLAY” button to mind. It was really useful fun because we’ve also created the installation replacing the logo. From the reception desk, figures taken from a sign book wander along the wall and are arranged on three-dimensional planes shaped like one of the logo’s components. This relief, besides being stylish, fulfills the process of immersion and works as a rooting brand in users’ minds. But this is not where the murals’ function ends. Where else will they work in the office corridors maze?
Outside the cyberworld – the social stage of office space
We had this feeling that large-format art will be a real stress reducer in the workplace – that’s why murals are everywhere: in conference rooms, dining spaces, or coffee spots. Those rooms are also the showcase of the company because this is where the exchange of energy and views, brainstorming, and … group lives or team meetings take place. Besides graphics with images of inspiring people placed in halls or reception, one of the main floors is covered with exotic turquoise, very buzzy orange and sandy yellow referring to brand identity. All these colors contrast a black palm leaf or a tiger head. We created a real jungle, where programmers can be a little bit off – outside the cyberworld. In other words, we managed to create an island climate of nomadic relaxation while logging out of the world of algorithms or metadata.
A non-aggression pact, or discreet magic of signage
We’ve created a visual information system based on the company’s branding. As a visual information system, we mean navigation signs, floor plans, markings of conference and meeting rooms, open spaces, corridors. We aimed for a minimalist, gentle design with a clear oval line because long communication routes are easily visually “clogged” with a sequence of signs. We designed original pictograms matching the typography – they have similar shapes and proportions to the letters in next inscriptions. We’ve put them on semaphores and boards with UV printing – all on black acrylic glass plates with yellow plexiglass edges subtly transferring the corporate key visual to the interior. We want to create a visual information system as non-invasive also in technological aspects: to maximize the simplicity, we installed the board with non-visible, easy to take off plugs. What other logistic and aesthetic challenges of visual information did we have to face?
The office is not only a workspace. This is an environment where identity is created and emotions are free
Pretty brilliant chats with space
The presentable floor of the company can’t do without internal communication integrating employees, exposing brand mission and vision, strengthening actions, and emphasizing the achievements. Especially when the company has highly developed CSR. That’s why we designed the conference room’s walls with lots of different whiteboards and a “wall of fame” – a wall with pictures, diplomas, certifications combined in an aesthetic way. Together with the company’s value wall and the timeline with the history of its development, they are places of power, where the source of team satisfaction, sense of meaning, and motivation beats.
Design can change the world
People are aware that the more time they spend isolated and working remotely, the more social contact and impact on the company’s action they need. Then loyalty and commitment are rising up. So we couldn’t miss places where views are exchanged and decisions are made because this is where begins the employee’s well-being. That all was deepened by illustrations based on the theme of multi-ethnicity and cultural codes, communicating global progress and the human dimension of digital reality created by the investor. We created the space branding system which empowers the CSR conception and exposes the historical and current Renoma functions. Let’s add to this elegant, gentle wayfinding following up with the architecture of the facility and complementing the original wall design – we have a complete mission! Even if we designed this multi-threaded project remotely in social distance, we’ve achieved a coherent, timeless effect that connects people, times, and ideas.