Photo Credit : Veeral Patel
Flexible, innovative and elegant; Principle Design’s wayfinding for Emerald Hill Aged Care Residence carefully balances the needs of residents and staff. The harmonious wayfinding and graphic system not only addresses users physical needs but also the impact that beautiful, considered design can have on wellbeing.
Sash Fernando - Creative Director
Ruwani Fernando - Studio Manager
Julian Brown - Senior Designer
Nicki Hlavacek - Designer
Emma Goldsmith - Designer
Sean Tanner - Designer
Emily Enrica - Designer
Emerald Hill Residence is an aged care facility located in South Melbourne, established in 2010 after a unification of Claremont Home and South Port Community Residential Home.
Principle Design was engaged to create a branded wayfinding package that detailed the residential building and encompassed signage, room identification, privacy decals, branding and signage for the Lionshare Cafe and a bespoke totem sign for the entrance of the facility. Our brief was to create a cohesive visual language that could be used throughout the residence and would work harmoniously with the architecture and landscape.
We aspired to make residents and visitors feel that their presence within the facility was valued by welcoming them with a unique and beautiful wayfinding. We chose to reference Emerald Hill’s prestige and progressive approach with a clean, refined and contemporary design.
Effective Room Identification
Our research showed that often those affected with dementia could recognise their past selves, which informed a signage system for the dementia wing consisting of three boards attached to a backing plate magnetically. A number, name and photograph of the resident at a memorable moment assist in room identification and allows for flexibility as signage can be rearranged. This not only aids residents practically; it creates an environment where users feel their individual histories, personalities and needs are understood.
Differing levels of depth and alternating textures were CNC routed into acrylic to create the unique and highly tactile sign for the entrance of the facility. The intricate, lattice-like textures add a sense of movement as the course of the sun alters the shadows that fall on the sign.
Natural timber is layered with white acrylic to work harmoniously the architectural finishes and provide a critical link between residents and the outdoors. A different wood was used for the signage on each of the floors, from a light birch to a deep walnut; the distinctive grains add warmth and individual character to each floor.
The challenging aspect of this project was to find a wayfinding solution for the facility that was practical and cost effective without being reminiscent of institutions. Throughout this project the ways in which the design could assist the residents were constantly reviewed and refined. Whilst some of the design decisions involved assisting the residents physically, such as the elegant yet highly legible typography used throughout the building, others were intended to improve the resident’s moods and mental health by creating a beautiful environment for them to live in.
The language of shapes, typographic styles and materials and texture creates an overarching tone for the residence without appearing sterile or institutional. In applying this distinctive yet elegant visual language throughout the facility we created a wayfinding system that residents would enjoy living with. Whilst some of the design decisions involved assisting the residents physically, such as the elegant yet highly legible typography used throughout the building, others were intended to improve the resident’s moods and mental health by creating a beautiful environment for them to live in.
The timber used throughout the signage was FSC approved. The three part signage system for rooms was designed to allow staff to rearrange room signs independently which resulted in a more economically sustainable wayfinding system.
This award celebrates creative and innovative design in the ways people orient themselves in physical space, and navigate from place to place. Consideration given to signage and other graphic communication, clues in the building's spatial grammar, logical space planning, audible communication, tactile elements and provision for special-needs users.