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Copernicus Science Centre

Contributed by Katarzyna Maciąg of Warsaw-based Mamastudio.

Copernicus Science Centre wayfinding

The Copernicus Science Centre wayfinding system was designed to highlight the building’s architecture and surroundings in a subtle but clear way. The designers’ task was to come up with a unique, custom-made system that would immediately create associations with the Copernicus Science Centre structure. The characteristic form of the building was used by Mamastudio as a source of inspiration. The irregular forms that were visible on architectural plans have been repeated in the shape of information modules, signs and icons. The typography used (Museo) repeats the shapes and rhythm of the icons to ensure further consistency. Associations with the Centre were additionally enhanced by the usage of the colours present in the institution’s identification system.

The Copernicus Science Centre in Warsaw is built on an open plan which means there are a few walls on which signage could be placed. Mamastudio’s solution was to create special three-dimensional and free-standing forms of whose shapes are inspired by the architecture and which are used as a source of direction. Maps and plans placed on the blocks help visitors find their way in the science centre.
Minimal use of colours, simplicity and consistency of design ensured visibility on the multi-colured background of numerous exhibitions and often changing exhibits.

The system is intuitive and easily navigable, noticeable in two languages (Polish and English) and clearly recognizable without being overwhelming or driving attention away from the exhibition.

Copernicus Science Centre wayfinding

Copernicus Science Centre wayfinding

Copernicus Science Centre wayfinding

Copernicus Science Centre wayfinding

Copernicus Science Centre wayfinding

Copernicus Science Centre wayfinding

Copernicus Science Centre wayfinding

Copernicus Science Centre wayfinding

Kopernik wayfinding

Kopernik wayfinding

Kopernik wayfinding

Kopernik wayfinding

Kopernik wayfinding

Kopernik wayfinding

Kopernik wayfinding

Kopernik wayfinding

Wayfinding system for The Copernicus Science Centre, author: Mamastudio www.mamastudio.pl
Art Direction: Magdalena Ponagajbo, art director & partner, Mamastudio
Three-dimensional forms created by Piotr Stolarski

View more work on the Mamastudio website. Mamastudio on Facebook.

7 appreciated remarks about “Copernicus Science Centre”

  1. The iconography is a bit too complicated for my liking. I didn’t ‘get’ them straight away and while they are unique, they certainly aren’t simple which icons should be. Just too much to look at.

  2. I love everything about this. The typeface and the colors are especially beautiful.

  3. I find the floor plan curious as the perspective on each floor is different – quite unlike what one would expect. I think this works well because there is less detail on the top floor.

    I agree with Abbas about the icons and would add the cut-off shape of the sign holders: I find them a bit too post-modern and playful to be timeless but maybe that is the point. Quite fittingly, the color scheme of the logo uses bold primary colors.

  4. There’s some really lovely icon work on display here but there’s a couple and specifically the wheelchair user that feels a little forced into the geometry of the concept. In a way it feels like the practicalities have been at the expense of the big idea.

  5. The minute you have to question what a symbol or icon may mean; the minute the message is lost, in my opinion. Whilst there is certainly merit for the actual iconography, I think they don’t really work as public signage. For me a simply had to question too much what each of the symbols meant.

    A major headache for any designer trying to revolutionise interior signage, is that we are all too familiar with what currently exists, and I think this is the point. We are so used to seeing the “standard” icons in every building and public space we attend that anything out of the ordinary simply confuses the matter. Visually they are a nice set.

  6. I agree with Andy, as much as we want to create something new and innovative our job is to deliver effective communication and in some instances that does mean following some form of established system. I think creativity comes in the way you present them. ie. material, lighting and technological choices which I believe provides ample room for new ideas and aesthetics.

  7. Really well said, Richard. Especially the point about how creativity comes in the way you present them (the icons). Never really thought of it like that. The possibilities are endless. In regards to Christian’s comment about the cut-off shape of the sign holders, I kind of like all the unique container shapes throughout the identity. They create a nice sense of added interest, which without, I don’t think would be as appealing.

What do you think?

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