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Aerial view of Parc des Expositions at night

City scale signage

Larger than many airports in its horizontal scale, yet subtle in its overall impact, the Parc des Expositions (PEX) is highly flexible by design in order to accommodate an infinite range of events and activities. We collaborated with world-renowned architects, OMA, to develop an equally malleable signage system.

Simulation of different signages in the middle of Parc des Expositions

The scale of the PEX can only truly be appreciated through a visit to the site. With the characteristics and logic of a future city, the infrastructure is lined with a main street, plazas, and communal squares for both work and entertainment. The commanding spaces are like cities within cities, where exhibitions are transformed into their own districts.

Illustration of the five signage levels designed with OMA

With an infrastructure that is designed to support car, plane and foot, we began by outlining the platforms by which users would engage with the space. This allowed us to determine and define each interaction through scale, flow and function, further establishing our graphic approach and signage material selection.

Jasmine De Bruycker, Strategist & Copywriter
Simulation of the large figures signages designed for OMA in the middle of the exhibition

“Modularity everywhere” was the motto. The halls can be configured in an array of sizes, so we developed monolithic numbers that, like giant pawns, can be moved with a forklift from one place to another. Though highly visual and functional in approach, the signage preserves a natural and inclusive playfulness.

Erwin De Muer, Designer
Simulation of the figures signages in the PEX designed with OMA
Led panel for a signage designed with OMA

It was essential for the signage material to be easy to manipulate, able to display a constant stream of content in ‘real-time’, and to withstand the light of day. Matching our grand ambitions, the solution was an inspired LED double-sided interlocking screen system. This system informed our approach and provided a solution that was adaptable to various wayfinding: displaying both content and information.

Signage designed with OMA to show the way to the Hall 5

The signage clicks into place both horizontally and vertically, and may be assembled in myriad ways to function as a single screen. These screens are updatable from a simple smartphone.

A simulation of the interior of the building of Parc des Expositions
Simulation of a direction sign with the signage designed with OMA in the Parc des Expositions

Interesting side note: the modular signage was inspired by the highway!

Simulation of a direction sign with the signage designed with OMA in the Parc des Expositions
A simulation of a direction sign designed with OMA in Parc des Expositions leading to the Hall 3 in a hallway
Another version of the signage leading to the Hall 5
signage designed for OMA to show the way of different areas

One of our objectives was to help OMA showcase the monumental architecture. Aerial “floating signage” became a principle which allowed us to highlight the expansiveness of the buildings. The idea for the floating signage was inspired by the title sequence from the David Fincher film, Panic Room.

Thierry Brunfaut, Creative Director & Partner
Series of signages designed with OMA
Simulation of the large signage of "PEX" with people walking around
Iconography designed with OMA signage for Parc des Expositions

Maintaining graphic design neutrality and universality is key so as not to compete with the aesthetics of the exhibitions.

A signage concept for the OMA to show the way to the parking floor
Aerial view of the "PEX" signage designed for Parc des Expositions
A led light on the table
A huge wall inside Parc des Expositions

With the signage, we created a dialogue between “permanent vs temporary" information. Invisible within the walls, giant LED surfaces allow the building to fully transform itself into live communication. Play a movie in broad daylight, brand a hall, rename the entire space. It allows the user of the spaces to make them whatever he or she wants them to be.

Simulation of the exterior screen of a building in Parc des Expositions
A simulation of visitors coming to Parc des Expositions
Simulation of the exterior signages Parc des Expositions with the signages designed with OMA
A quote from Gilles Guyot on his experience with Base Design