Dance House Helsinki aims to make dance part of the everyday life of the city of Helsinki — one of the leading capitals of dance. The project has been talked about for years, decades even. Now it finally becomes reality: the building project located in Helsinki’s Ruoholahti district will be completed in 2020 and is targeting an audience of more than 150,000 people every year.
At first, we were only asked to rethink and redesign the client’s website, but it soon became clear that a whole visual identity was needed. Ultimately, the goal was to create a flexible and easy-to-use identity to serve the needs of the dance-loving audience, professionals and partners of the project. Vividness, lightness, diversity and clarity were found as the keywords in the project workshops.
The solution is based on versatile, monogram-like building blocks and patterns that keep the identity coherent but resilient. Just like in the up-coming building, a combination of the old Salmisaari Cable Factory and the new wing — these blocks combine two elements to form a new entity.
In these typographic elements you can see the foundations of a building, constructions of a stage or facades — like temples and sanctuaries. The pattern can be used as a grid-like vehicle or as a frame, keeping the applications recognisable despite what happens inside. When sketching, several ways to apply the frame were uncovered, but at this stage of the project only one has been introduced to the audience.
The expansive and diverse colour palette differs from the typical dark tones of Finnish dance imagery. It was loosely inspired by the marine location and the landmark of the district — the old factory building.
Production type’s Gemeli (2014) by Jean-Baptiste Levée was chosen as the brand typeface because of its crisp, contemporary, but somewhat down-to-earth, grotesque quality. Gemeli also matched well with the drawn Tanssin talo (dance house) wordmark.
The identity guidelines aim to give a solid foundation for a building project like this: there’s still room for interpretation, and the element-based approach allows the identity to flex.
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