The rehabilitation of Chapultepec Park in Mexico City included a new signage system to guide and inform the 15 million annual visitors to the park, one of the oldest and largest in Latin America. Design proposals were subject to the approval of forest management, private investors, project managers, users, and the government.
The design team was guided by the needs of the users, and the sign design and location plan was based on a study of visitor flow. To start the project, the team conducted a one-year study to determine the requirements and understand the operation of the park, followed by a six-month design phase and finally the executive phase, which took approximately eight months. The budget was limited to 3.7 million Mexican pesos, about $320,000.
Working in collaboration with urban landscapers Grupo de Diseño Urbano, Diseño Neko developed directional signage, a porcelain enamal site map sign, historical signposts, street signs, and other elements such as porcelain enamel donor recognition and a main entrance identity sign made of 1m-high bronze letters.
To ensure visitors can see the directional signs from a distance of 20m while moving through a crowd, Diseño Neko designed sculptural, powdercoated steel pylons that are 4m high, with text measuring 7cm. Letters are cut out of the steel. Material selection and imaging techniques were chosen based on the need for durability/vandal resistance, low maintenance, and cost and ease of manufacture.
Environmental considerations were of major concern in the project. The steel signpost material is 100% recyclable and made of 80% recycled material. PVC was completely eliminated from the project. The design was intentionally kept simple and timeless so that it will stay relevant for a long time and not need to be replaced, and the sign pieces were produced locally to minimize unnecessary transportation.
The historical nature of the park did not allow for complete liberty in the signage design or locations, as there are many historically or archaeologically significant elements in the park. While sign height was planned carefully to ensure visibility, the graphics and design are respectful of the historical environment. The signage system was a unique opportunity to renew the park’s graphic system and develop guidelines that can serve as a starting point for future interventions.
“The strength of its conception and its powerful execution—as well as the use of a clear and simple, yet relaxed, font—made it immediately appealing. Its economy of means—a single folded sheet of pierced steel to create directional orientation, and the use of the existing (elegant) fence to carry the bronzed letters of its name— made it deserving of this juror's admiration.”
Mario Schjetnan (principal in charge); Luis Daniel Olvera (project manager); Karime Tosca, Hiroshi Ikenaga, Alice Pegman, Paulina Salazar, Jesus Santillan (design support)
Alejandra Creel (graphic design)
Imaco (primary fabricators; directionals, site map, information sign posts), Alfher (porcelain enamel), Aceros y Metales Internacionales (laser cutting, stainless steel), Fundición Crill (bronze letters)