Faced with a 77-meter-long red brick wall between Tongji University and the Siping Community of Shanghai, the university’s Public Design Lab, part of the College of Design & Innovation, wondered what kind of experience they could create for passersby. By leveraging the sidewalk and the unique raised pattern of the brick, the team conceived simple graphics that change as pedestrians walked by—creating a different experience from left to right and right to left.
The solution combines typography painted directly on the sidewalk and paint applied to the brick wall. On the ground, from left to right, yellow graphics and symbols focus on the community. From right to left, the words and symbols are in white and focus on the university.
Yellow paint applied to the brick wall was used to create restroom symbols and a key message: Happiness is not far, all around.” Bright yellow stools embedded into concrete planters along the sidewalk add a welcoming touch.
Together the sidewalk graphics, wall graphics and stools connect the university and the community and have created a new energy in this interstitial space. Attracted by the painted patterns, people are exploring the messages, talking to one another and taking photos. Some even relax on the stools and stay a while.
Wu Duan (principal in charge, project manager); Gong Ping, Ma Yuhong, Huang Xin (designers)
VTong (primary fabricator)
"The project creates surprising super-graphics that reveal themselves through pedestrian movement. The low-tech solution does a lot with a little to activate the expanse of the 70-meter-long wall."
"This project's use of material, simple graphics and movement are beautifully executed. The addition of the stool, a simple graphic but communal element, provides a moment of rest and reflection in a well-traveled pedestrian walkway."