SILO agency has developed a spatial identity, wayfinding elements, and corporate identity for the new Zaans Medical center in the Netherlands. With a focus on creating a healing environment, SILO worked together with the architectural practice Mecanoo to create extensive graphic installations throughout the interior of the building.
Originally hand drawn, illustrations were digitally reproduced and applied to interior surfaces including walls, glass partitions, and elevators. The drawings creatively combine the industrial history of the city, such as shipbuilding and architecture, with elements of the human body. Illustrated floor level numbers incorporate man-made or natural elements from different regions of Zaans, such as leaves for growth or butterflies.
The graphics provide positive distraction for patients and visitors, while assisting with orientation and wayfinding through the medical center. Rene Tonman of SILO describes the approach to the project, “Patients often experience an increased amount of stress and emotion, which is not conducive to recovery. With our work, we set out to improve the relationship between the building and its users. This resulted in poetic manifestations that act as positive distractions.”
To generate a large quantity of illustrations that appear individually hand drawn and don’t look repetitive, the designers used 3D software to animate and multiply the illustrations. Still images were selected from the animations for use in the building.
The graphics cover a massive area in total, over 37,500 square feet throughout the medical center. 3D software was used to strategically map out locations for the graphics. Graphics were digitally printed on a polyester fabric wallcovering with vinyl coating, produced by Vescom. Clear and frosted film was applied to glass partitions and translucent film at light boxes.