Grace Farms Signage and Wayfinding

Finalist 2017

Located on 80 open acres of lush, rolling meadows, woods, and wetlands in New Canaan, Connecticut, Grace Farms provides a place for people to experience nature, foster community, pursue social justice and explore the connections between art and faith, all while immersed in a beautiful landscape. A complex system of signage and environmental graphics for the Grace Farms building and grounds has been developed by Pentagram, expanding on the design of the institution’s identity and website. Grace Farms centers on “the River,” an extraordinary ribbon-like building of glass, wood, and steel designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architects SANAA that echoes the curves of a river. The switchbacks in the structure encompass facilities for the arts, worship, sports, performances and education. The identity provides the basis for a carefully calibrated graphic system that bridges the built environment and the natural world and displays openness, accessibility and, of course, grace. The wordmark takes its cue from the delicate architecture of the building and the goals of the organization.

The environmental graphics extend the identity to a comprehensive system of wayfinding, identification and interpretive signage throughout the building and grounds. Like many elements within the building, the environmental graphics use a refined material palette. Signs are composed of front and back panels made of aluminum with a soft-brushed finish, taking a cue from the materials used by SANAA for the reflective roof. The panels surround a polished chrome core and legs, and lettering is etched and filled with white paint. The sleek metal and elemental forms are set off by and quietly attuned to the lush tranquil landscape, adding to the feeling that this is truly a unique place. Some signs use letters pin-mounted directly on the concrete, while others affix vinyl lettering to the glass, preserving the openness and transparency in the architecture.

Design Firms: 

Pentagram

Client: 

Grace Farms

Project Area: 

3,484,800 sq ft

Open Date: 

July 2016

Photo Credits: 

Claudia Mandlik

Design Team: 

Eddie Opara (Art Director and Designer), Brankica Harvey (Associate and Designer), Ken Deegan (Associate and Designer), Pedro Mendes (Designer)

Consultants: 

Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA (design architects), Handel Architects (executive architects), OLIN (landscape architects), Paratus Group (project management)

Fabricators: 

Design Communications Ltd. (signage and wayfinding), Lauren Vallier, Design Communications Ltd. (project executive), Mike McCarthy, Design Communications Ltd. (vice president)

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