Sina Plaza by Aedas is located in Zhongguancun Science Park, a technology hub akin to Silicon Valley, in northwestern Beijing.
Central to the design concept of “limitless,” and as a nod to traditional Chinese architecture, the building frames two major courtyard gardens, creating an internal circulation route that resembles a flowing infinity symbol. The vast hub features 120,000 m2 of office and R & D space, TV studios, conference and meeting areas, corporate exhibition space, staff amenities, leisure facilities and canteens, in addition to a supermarket, carpark and a rooftop running track. To navigate the rectangular 550 m perimeters, a comprehensive system of colour coded signage allows users to commute with ease from one end of the building to the other, across nine levels and five lift cores. The signage form takes its cues from the notion of sinuous lines of data that pinch and fold to create discrete zones as well as providing structural integrity to ultra-thin aluminum blades. A suite of bespoke emojis referencing travel, entertainment, sport, and finance are embedded throughout the environmental graphics to reflect the contemporary online communication that is core to Sina’s influential microblogging platform, Weibo.
External and internal wayfinding and base building signage design
Workplace environmental graphics
Interior Designers: HASSELL & AB Concept
Corlette created an art deco inspired signage system for Primus Hotel Sydney.
Perfectly positioned in the heart of the city, this heritage sensitive refit of the former Sydney Water Board headquarters has breathed new life into an iconic 1930’s building. Once empty offices have now been reinvigorated with charm and grandeur which pays homage to the original art deco design. Corlette worked closely with interior design firm Woods Bagot, along with GBA Heritage, to craft a bespoke, integrated and seamless signage design program as an ode to a time of design decadence that remains heritage-listed today.
Their design concept, ‘Typography with Manners’ was inspired by fascinating historical photographs of the building during its previous life as a public office. Heritage features of the site, such as original Italian marble columns, were celebrated with complementary finishes and materials to create an elegant, modern feel. Featuring polite language of the times, all messages follow this original tone of voice, elevating the communications and wayfinding and expressing warmth and hospitality associated with grand hotels of the past.
Carrying their ‘Manners’ concept into F&B, Corlette crafted the naming, identity, and branding for The Wilmot fine dining bar and restaurant.
Bosque is a Costa Rica-based brand design consultancy. They recently developed the environmental graphic design program for one of the world’s leading life science companies, Bayer.
Inspired by chemistry and later reinterpreted into a visual signifier, the space becomes an integral experience for the user. Lighting, interior, and environmental graphic design come together to share a unified vision.
Interior Design: 3g Office Costa Rica
Photography: Roberto D’Ambrosio
Drakes Supermarkets is Australia’s largest independent grocery retailer. When they asked We’re Open to reimagine what the interior of their new Wayville Supermarket, they wanted to create an in-store environment that felt like it belonged to the Drakes brand and where customers would love to shop.
The graphic design studio based in Adelaide, South Australia, brought in a good friend of the studio, Jaquie Hagan, and got down to work to develop an interior and signage system that reflected the circular visual language and pop of yellow present in the Drakes logo.
The AMRC (Australian Migrant Resource Centre) is the leading settlement and multicultural community development agency in South Australia, providing services and programs to assist new arrival refugees and other migrants.
When moving into a newly built five-story building in Adelaide’s CBD, new external and interior signage were required, and AMRC hired We’re Open for the task.
The signage solutions draw upon the client’s new identity developed to coincide with construction of the new building. Floors are distinguished by the use of different pattern elements pulled from the logo. Large-scale painted graphics transform working spaces, stairwells and lift areas and reflect the diverse cultures occupying the building. This is complemented by more detailed architectural signage.
I’m the biggest fan of Studio Ongarato design. Their work is modern, different, and well-thought-out, down to the very last detail. Their new project for W Shanghai is exceptional. By mixing contemporary interior design and art pieces by various commissioned artists, they managed to translate the essence of one of the world’s cultural capitals into a destination that is both hyper-local and yet distinctively ‘W’.
A mirror and brass kaleidoscopic installation occupies the reception. The custom design reflects the multitude of cultures and influences flowing through the area.
Designed in collaboration with Assume Vivid Astro Focus, a unique art installation is draped from the skylight above the Living Room, offering texture and movement as it plays with light to bring never-ending contrast to the space.
A dramatic agamograph mirror at the ballroom entry casts reflections of guests amongst Qi Pao florals.
Local artist Coozie created the vast white mural on black handmade tiles titled “Hongkou Tales”, commemorating legends of the past 110 years of the Hongkou District, where the hotel is situated.
The feature wall within Cantonese restaurant YEN is embellished with custom-designed enameled discs forming a dragon motif, working with local craftsmen practicing a centuries-old craft to create the installation.
A “W Metropolis” is created from bright lights and city towers hanging alongside a net of laundry and signage, all suspended at varying heights down a dramatic void.
‘Melting Qi Pao’ mosaics in the ground floor amenities; a fusion of Traditional eastern Qi Pao pattern and the melting pot of western influences.
“The Shanghai W Hotel on the Bund combines the feeling of old Shanghai with the avant-garde pioneers of the new era with innovative design, interprets the collision between the East and Western culture, creating a passionate journey through time and space.” —NOBLESSE
Famed for its exotic allure, Shanghai is a vibrant fusion of eclectic influences and captivating historical, social and physical contrasts—a mix of tradition and modernity, glamour and pragmatism expressed through installation, art consultancy and styling by the studio’s W Shanghai site narrative.
The hotel arrival sequence begins in a 22-metre atrium. Intended to delight guests and seduce passers-by, this dramatic void is activated by a suspended, multistorey neon installation created in homage to the iconic Lilong laneway laundry tradition. Layered first with stylised clothing, then the bright lights of Nanjing Road and, ultimately, the high-rise futurism of Pudong, it establishes a memorable and immersive entry that sets the scene for the experience to follow.
Whisked by elevator to the lobby reception area, guests are greeted by a second installation: a custom brass mirror and finished-steel kaleidoscopic screen intended to reflect the multitude of cultures and influences flowing through the area. Beyond, in the courtyards of the ‘Living Room’, Studio Ongarato commissioned artists Assume Vivid Astro Focus (AVAF) to create a site-specific installation that reflects their interpretation of the city. Signature styling elements continue throughout the hotel.
For its all-day diner, The Kitchen Table, we commissioned local artist Coozie to create a vast mural. Entitled ‘Hongkou Tales’, it commemorates legends of the past 110 years of the Hongkou District, where the W Shanghai is situated. In the hotel’s EWOW presidential suite, a custom dragon-smoke neon installation drifts up the double height space, transforming the room from day to night. By reinterpreting its urban context through a design that is both hyper-local yet unmistakably W, the hotel succeeds in both drawing upon and giving back to the city. The atrium installation in particular, generates social equity for the hotel, contributing to its fame and notoriety.
Custom Interior Installations
The Migration Museum works towards the preservation, understanding and enjoyment of South Australia’s diverse cultures.
As the first museum of its kind in the world, the Migration Museum is one of South Australia’s most significant cultural institutions. For a long time the museum had lacked an obvious street presence and new signage needed to fall in line with the museum’s new identity and meet with council and heritage approval. We’re Open was in charge of creating a project that incorporated a diversity of signage solutions from large free-standing signs through to window decals and smaller interpretive signs.
Frost Collective designed the new experiential graphics for NUBO, a brand that has developed a new concept in children’s play centers, enabling self-learning through connection and play.
Collaborating with NUBO and architects Joey Ho and Patrick Leung from PAL Design Architects, Frost Collective created a brand to express an engaging play experience that helps children and families explore, connect, and learn.
Recognising that the average play-center fails parents and children with loud and over-stimulated destinations, NUBO set out to redefine the sector with a beautiful, innovative space. Frost Collective embarked on a comprehensive strategic phase to arrive at the idea of “exercise your imagination” and to develop the naming. These insights were instrumental in the architectural design of the new play experience and directly informed how the brand was expressed throughout the space.
EXERCISE YOUR IMAGINATION
The brand philosophy is built around the notion of exercising your imagination while celebrating the uncomplicated innocence of children. We know play nourishes children’s development as well as their social, physical and emotional skills.
THE WORD NUBO TRANSLATES TO “CLOUD” IN ESPERANTO.
The word Nubo translates to “cloud” in Esperanto, a universal language invented in the 19th century to foster harmony between different nationalities. When looking at clouds, we each see something different and unique while they are also a universal reference to dreaming and imagination, both of which facilitate learning. This idea is visually demonstrated in the brand logo utilising the ‘B’ as a cloud device and is flexibly executed across multiple brand touchpoints including the environmental signage program.
“WORKING WITH JOEY HO AND THE FROST*COLLECTIVE TEAM HAS BEEN AN EXCITING AND ENRICHING EXPERIENCE. THE OUTCOME IS QUITE STUNNING AND WE HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED INCREDIBLY POSITIVE FEEDBACK FROM PARENTS AND CHILDREN WHO HAVE VISITED” —MOLLIE LICHIEF IMAGINATION OFFICER, NUBO