The Chemical & Biological Engineering department at Princeton University is located in the Engineering Quad, a white cinder block building with long sterile hallways. While each department would refresh their halls periodically, the CBE department had remained static since the 90's. They contracted the Student Design Agency to help redesign their hallway and bring it into the 21st century. Here's what it looked like when I first walked in:
After considering the relationship between Chemistry and Biology, I landed on the hexagon as a core unit to marry the two disciplines. Hexagonal patterns appear both in chemical structures and in larger biological structures like honeycomb and bubbles. I used various visual references to show how depth, variation, tesselation, line weight, and scale can be used to activate the hexagon in various types of displays. When I saw the way corkboards were being used to display job postings and new research papers, I brainstormed different ways to create more flexible and interactive displays for content that is regularly updated.
After taking stock of the existing elements of the hallway and aligning myself with the client's vision for the space, I posed my recommendations for how they might lay out new design elements in the hallway. We developed a strategy which included immediate re-designs of the student/faculty directory, a large display of CBE's six research areas, a new job board and a place to display research areas. I spearheaded those displays, while assisting in a more long-term strategy of developing a historic timeline of the department, an interactive alumni display, and photo features of staff and students working together.
For each display (Research Areas, Job Board, and Research Papers), I experimented with various tessellations of hexagons and color schemes to create clean yet dynamic visuals. We eventually settled on a monochrome fuschia color scheme that was both modern and playful.
The final product was three large scale displays that showed current job postings, recent research papers, and the six research areas the CBE department focuses on. These elements modernized the space and brought some color into the hallway.