In September 2015, the Adult Education Center and the Municipal Library of the City of Bonn, Germany, moved into a new common home, the House of Education (Haus der Bildung).
A new modern entrance building was added to the existing former administration building to provide barrier-free access to the House of Education and to accommodate additional functions and services such as an event hall.
The library and the adult education center are grouped around a light atrium with a reading hall spanning multiple levels. The two institutions are located on different floors, address different audiences and don’t share the same informational structure. The challenge for Polyform was to make a clear distinction between the two destinations and at the same time develop a visually unified system with a strong identity.
The highly unusual floor plan hampers intuitive orientation and made it necessary for the Polyform team to simplify maps to make the building legible. Another objective was to develop an understandable room-numbering system.
The studio completed the design and all planning phases of the guidance and information system. After almost two years of planning, the system was implemented in September 2015.
Polyform’s design is based on the idea of a mind map. It represents the additive process of learning, the expansion of knowledge and the visualization of connections. This non-linear approach provides an interesting framework for the wayfinding system, making the spatial layout of rooms visible through the positioning of typography.
Throughout the wayshowing elements, the visitor’s position forms the center of the mind map, with paths provided to the destination nodes and junctions. The visitor can retrieve information about location, orientation and guidance information in one layout.
The system distinguishes the two institutions by different colors of equal value. The system is applied as vinyl film lettering on various building surfaces and the almost completely graphical implementation—with basically no additional signage hardware—proved a light and cost-effective solution.
The system includes 90 guidance elements, 30 floor overviews plans, 50 large-format identifications, 100 floor numbers and service pictograms and 100 door labels. Polyform used Corporate S Pro BQ and adapted FF Netto icons (Monotype).
"The movement of this system is playful yet minimalist. I'd love to wander this space just to follow the type."
"Using the angles, shapes and corners of the architectural surfaces for progressive wayfinding information, this system is simple, bold and continually connects people with where they are in their journey. Minimal signage used in favor of wall graphics allows for distance legibility and is an economical, easily changeable solution. Organizational color-coding helps visitors navigate the facilities and is used sparingly to increase the impact of the colored zones. The icon-based information system is clear, but also augmented with English and German in a manner that avoids the clutter and confusion found in many bilingual wayfinding systems."
Dietmar Götzelmann (art director/project manager); Sarah März (conception/ graphic design); Melanie Quednau, Nina Bantschnow (graphic design)
Klamke Schildersysteme (guidance system production and assembly)