The Thai government recognizes design as an important tool for business growth and development and, in 2005, it established the Thailand Creative & Design Center to provide Thai businesses with design inspiration and resources. Located inside a Bangkok shopping mall, the 40,000-sq.-ft. center is a long, rectangular space with primary rooms connected by long corridors. Project architects used vertical surfaces to divide space and functions innovatively, but Graphic49 Limited was faced with the challenges created by the long, empty halls, floating booths in a huge open library, and a gigantic space that houses rotating design and educational events. While the center's primary functional spaces are set, constantly changing events demanded that a wayfinding and sign system be flexible. A changeable system also seemed an appropriate way to reflect the changes and evolution inherent in the creative process. And Graphic49 also had a vast real estate of raw steel-clad corridor and dividing walls to work with. So the firm's solution is a modular system with magnetic puzzle pieces that can be used and rearranged in infinite ways. Molded of economical pvc, the puzzle pieces also solve their own installation challenges, adhering directly to the TCDC's steel-clad walls. The pieces come in three sizes: 12x12-in. for capital letters, large symbols, and large area patterns; 12x6-in. pieces for lower-case letters; and 3x3-in. pieces for smaller letters, symbols, and small area patterns. Though the system has a toy-like quality, Graphics49 chose the size and scaling of typography carefully to ensure the signs' functionality. Avenir, TCDC's corporate font, was also chosen for the signage, and vivid, almost fluorescent orange, purple, and green combine with white and gray on the raised letters to contrast with the black background. Reflective agents were mixed in the colored pvc to aid visibility in dimmer areas. In the entrance hall, a huge directory map includes hundreds of sign pieces that can be moved when space needs change. Other major signs are placed directly on the walls, on steel floor-mounted panels, or on hanging steel panels made from steel cladding. A large supply of puzzle pieces was fabricated so the signs can be changed by an in-house team. The sign system is so popular, you can buy puzzle-piece coasters in the TCDC gift shop.
“A strong concept underpins this beautifully executed design. I love the fact that it is meant to be changed, re-used, and adapted to the specific needs of each exhibit, and the wayfinding challenges that change brings, but that the power of the whole ensemble will create a memorable sense of place however it is applied.” “It's perfect…I can't write enough! The whole submission was self explanatory. It might be not only the best project for this year, but the best submission. Clarity and completion of the information and images was superb.”
Krissana Tanatanit, Nattaya Chaiwanakupt, Watcharapong Treerattanapan (principals in charge); Kardkamhang Joramas, Numsak Thaithavorn, Namon Komolprittinan (designers)
Duangrit Bunnag Architect Limited
TP World Product Co. Ltd. (pvc); Tanakul Design Group (signage system)