In 1991, Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer Jr. commissioned Tadao Ando to design a space to house their art collection. This building would become his first free-standing public building in the United States. Over the next decade, the space evolved into a non-collecting art museum presenting exhibitions of historic and contemporary art from around the world in dynamic interplay with the Tadao Ando building.
Since its inception, the museum has kept signage to an absolute minimum, keeping it both non-permanent and off the building’s walls so not to interfere with the atmosphere and architecture of the space. Yet as a result, visitors have long-struggled to find the museum and navigate the building. In an effort to improve this experience, we were commissioned to develop a wayfinding strategy and design signage in and around the museum. To avoid applying permanent signage to the building’s walls – a requirement for the client – we designed a series of plexiglas monoliths for interior directionals and used fabricated stainless steel letters close to the ground for the exterior building ID, ensuring the main facade remained largely uninterrupted by signage.
The Pulitzer had recently launched a new identity, conceived largely as a non-identity to remain discreet within the context of the building. However, in an effort to attract a broader and more diverse public, they commissioned us to examine this system and find ways of making temporary signage more impactful and welcoming. As a first step in this transition, we maintained their single brand typeface, but introduced color and large-scale type to make information more eye-catching and clear.