Let’s celebrate! Tychy studio honoured in world’s top design awards

Specialising in branding and wayfinding, Blank Studio were recognised for their visual information systems designed for Browary Warszawskie and Chill Inn in Łódź. Press materials

Widely considered to be the most prestigious design competition in the world, a Tychy-based studio is celebrating after two of their Polish projects were singled out as being the best in their class by the Red Dot Design Awards.

Specialising in branding and wayfinding, Blank Studio were recognised for their visual information systems designed for Browary Warszawskie in the capital, and Chill Inn in Łódź.

“We’ve received numerous awards but yes, this one was surprising. It’s certainly lifted our mood!” say the team.Press materials

Creative Director of Blank Studio, Bartłomiej Witański, told TFN: “we’ve received numerous awards but yes, this one was surprising. It’s certainly lifted our mood!”

Opened to great fanfare last year, Browary Warszawskie have won a slew of praise for their mixed-use project and the way in which they revived such a historic property. However, for Blank Studio this heritage was one of the challenges they faced when creating the project’s wayfinding system.

Opened to great fanfare last year, Browary Warszawskie have won a slew of praise for their mixed-use project.Press materials

“It’s not a simple space,” says Witański. “New architecture has been mixed with old objects, yet we still had to find a coherent design that would fit with the entire space. In addition, it’s very diverse in terms of its users because it has office and residential buildings as well a high number of shops and restaurants – every one of its users is looking for something different.”

Finding a solution meant meticulous background work.

The nature of the development demanded that the typeface, pictograms, signs and messages would harmoniously synchronise with the urban greenery, historic elements and swanky new-build structures.Press materials

“We always start by considering the specific needs of the people that will use a space,” says Witański. “In this case, we studied what their ‘goals’ were when visiting – what would they look for, how would they behave.”

Having done this, the Blank Studio team then created ‘profile portraits’ of these different users, and the kind of routes they would take when traversing this sizeable investment.

The client’s brief demanded an intelligent visual information system that would reflect Browary’s dynamic nature.Press materials

“Of course,” adds Witański, “we then listened to the client’s needs and also to the architects about their concept. Without all this, there’s no way we would have been able to prepare a successful project.”

Set in and around the footprint of the former Haberbusch i Schiele Brewery, the multi-faceted nature of the development demanded that the typeface, pictograms, signs and messages would harmoniously synchronise with the urban greenery, existing historic elements and swanky new-build structures.

A well-designed system involves knowledge of sociology and psychology, psychophysiology of vision, colour theory, principles of composition and typography, graphic design, design, ergonomics, construction and even knowledge about material types.Press materials

Moreover, as something of a flagship project, the client’s brief demanded an intelligent visual information system that would simultaneously reflect both Browary’s dynamic nature and the rich history of the 19th century brewery that once operated on the plot. As proved by their award, Blank Studio were able to deliver exactly just that.

“Obviously, a successful wayfinding system stops people from feeling lost in a space,” adds Witański, “instead they feel comfortable and secure when walking. To meet this end, simple and clear instructions are essential.”

At Chill Inn the concept was intended to be informal and casual.Press materials

As logical and straight-forward as this might sound, there cannot be one single person who has not fallen foul of wayfinding studios over-complicating their task.

“Studios do sometimes forget that a wayfinding project is designed to safely and quickly inform end-users about the directions they need to take. Properly designed wayfinding is not only about eye-catching graphics.

“The users here are mainly young people who need to spend a lot of time in this space,” says Bartłomiej Witański.Press materials

“A well-designed system involves knowledge of sociology and psychology, psychophysiology of vision, colour theory, principles of composition and typography, graphic design, design, ergonomics, construction and even knowledge about material types.”

Crucially, says Witański, whilst fundamentals exist, an individual approach is key. “Each space is different,” he says, “so there are no readymade solutions: you can’t apply one rule across the board. You need to put the user first, understand their behaviour and then prepare a signage system that meets their needs.

“This is a variation of the digital ‘user experience’, only designed for a physical world with physical barriers,” he continues.

“You need to put the user first, understand their behaviour and then prepare a signage system that meets their needs,” says Witański.Press materials

In tangible terms, evidence of this comes courtesy of Blank Studio’s other project to be hailed by the Red Dot Awards. A new generation student dormitory, it could not be more different to the aspirational Browary Warsazwskie.

“It’s completely incomparable,” says Witański. “The users here are mainly young people who need to spend a lot of time in this space. In this case, the client also asked is to ‘enrich’ the architectural design.

“The whole concept is very informal and casual, but at the same time it complements the interior design very well we think. The entire colour scheme harmonises well whilst another interesting aspect is the mural on the façade which emphasises the nature of this investment in a very interesting way.”