Western Australia Museum

Embodying the State’s rich architectural and cultural heritage, the new Western Australian Museum designed by Hassell + OMA was conceived as an ‘activated’ museum housing a collection of stories. The stories act to guide visitors through the major galleries to experience and explore the collections.


Studio Ongarato

Practice Area


Multiplex, Hassell+OMA


The Challenge

A new wayfinding and signage system was needed to seamlessly integrate with the old and new buildings of the new Museum and respond to the client’s brief for an “activated” museum. The signage and wayfinding were opportunities to contribute to an approach that shifted the museum from a static container to an interactive and engaging experience, whilst acknowledging the Indigenous land upon which the building sits.

Project Vision

A range of communication media was used to sample the past while looking to the future and activating the wayfinding experience through sound and vision. Key wayfinding elements display messages in Noongar as well as English, layering Indigenous narrative on place. Rotating message boards display multiple welcome messages in English and the Noongar language, in recognition of the Whadjuk Noongar land that the museum sits on.

Large scale ‘What’s On’ billboard.

Peter Bennetts

Main entry identification signage with multiple messages.

Peter Bennetts

Information and ticketing identification prism signage with multiple messages.

Peter Bennetts

Large scale museum maps.

Peter Bennetts

Design + Execution

The studio’s creative theme and conceptual notion of “sample” underpins the approach to wayfinding and signage, as an integral part of the creative and memorable visitor experience of the museum. The museum empowers visitors to create their own experience and encourages the active consumption of knowledge, facilitated by a signage system that employs a self-directed navigation approach through variable technologies, from hi- res screens to mechanistic low-tech flip dots and rotating prisms.

Signage features a collection of display technologies from LED to flip dots that activate the wayfinding experience through sound and vision. An activated tri-fold sign announces the formal entry within the museum’s expansive public forecourt. Rotating message boards display multiple welcome messages in English and the Noongar language, recognizing the Whadjuk Noongar land upon which the museum sits.

Developed in parallel with the architectural design to ensure a sensitive and distinctive design outcome, the wayfinding signage design acts together with the built form and architectural interior to reflect and reinforce the museum’s objective to be a place to actively share Western Australia’s many stories of their people, their places and their roles in the world.

Destination identification.

Peter Bennetts

Room signage.

Peter Bennetts

Top left: Sign family, Top right: Custom typeface, Bottom Left: Amenities signage, Bottom right: Level Identification.

Peter Bennetts

Project Details
The use of mixed media technologies coupled with a beautiful design language gives this wayfinding project its own smart definition.
Juror 1
This wayfinding system is very well integrated into the architecture while at the same time maintaining a strong design language.
Juror 2
An interesting mix of older and newer electronic signage technologies link the past to the future, as this museum’s collections do. Axonometric maps effectively convey the spatial positions and relationships of the museum’s thematic and functional elements. Sign forms, messages, and the custom typeface visually reference the traditional indigenous owners of the land.
Juror 3
Design Team

Fabio Ongarato (creative direction)
Sarah Cope (project management/strategy)
Ben Kluger (design direction/strategy/design)
Jordan Rowe (strategy/design/typography)
Josh Aucutt (design)


assell+OMA (architecture)

Photo Credits

Peter Bennetts (photography)

Open Date

November 2020