Green Square, a precinct of Sydney, held an international competition for the design of their new public library in 2012. The area is urban and quite densely populated. With the majority of Green Square residents living in apartments, public spaces are highly valued and important to urban life. The architecture and urban design firm Studio Hollenstein submitted the winning design, with a large plaza and a library building that is partially below grade. Collider took on the signage and wayfinding design component and worked together with the architect on the project for over six years.
Collider developed signage and design elements that are both functional and playful, providing surprises throughout the site. The designers explored the physical elements of libraries, such as books and their movement, being pushed and pulled out of shelves. The resulting design concepts and sign shapes reflect these studies.
Signs embedded in book stacks are monotone in color, to visually stand out among multi-colored book spines. Accent colors at other signs were selected from the City of Sydney brand colors. Meeting room signs have e-ink screens to display changing room programming information.
Collider designed several installations that express the history of the site. Dugong remains had been excavated nearby. Dugongs are gentle water dwelling mammals, similar in appearance to manatees and found along the coast from Australia to Africa. Collider generated an anatomically realistic dugong model, then created an abstract version that visually connects with the angular architecture of the building. Dugong sculptures were installed around the plaza’s water feature, encouraging children to play and interact with the water.
Three-dimensional graphic art within an elevator shaft ties into the site and Green Square’s industrial past. Graphics at the concrete shaft walls depict the old skyline of chimneys and smoke billowing into the sky. The mold for the original concrete pour included reliefs of the artwork. Graphics stretch up over six stories and can be viewed while riding up and down within the elevator cab.
Project: Green Square Library & Community Center
Location: Sydney, Australia
Architect: Studio Hollenstein
Photography: Andrew van der Westhuyzen, Collider