SEGD Design Awards: Visual Sound

Portugal's P-06 Atelier and Demetro a Metro create sound and fury for a French performing-arts center.
October 10 SEGD -- P-06 TAP.jpg

According to P-06 Atelier’s (Lisbon, Portugal) Nuno Gusmão, Poitiers, France is a gray city. Overcast days dominate its weather, and the city’s abundance of centuries-old, stone, Romanesque architecture, while beautiful, does little to impart color to its environs.

P-06, a multidisciplinary firm, delivered visual brilliance to the somewhat melancholy burg through its wayfinding and environmental-design program for Poitier’s Theatre and Auditorium (TAP). Throughout the facility’s signage and graphics, yellow, the program’s signature color, wound through wall coatings and strategic textual and iconic placement.

Gusmão said Dadaism influenced the wayfinding system’s development: “The use of random, kinetic dadaist poetry inspired us to embrace the challenge of bringing order to disorder,” he said. “In terms of environmental graphics, we regarded the entire, cube-shaped facility as a container to be ‘wrapped’ in graphics.”

For instance, in TAP’s café area, P-06 devised wall graphics that incorporate onomatopoeia, the expression of sounds through such verbiage as “babadoum,” “zing” and “hahaha”, among other kinetic expressions.
Demetro a Metro, also of Lisbon, produced the signage and environmental graphics. The majority of the program comprises either painted graphics or vinyl. For rough surfaces, fabricators opted for liquid coatings; on smoothly finished walls, they used Oracal’s 751 high-performance, cast vinyl. Gusmão said its thin gauge and elasticity mimicked paint extremely well.

He noted an unusual testament to the project’s success: “At the grand opening, every store on the main street was decorated in yellow; yellow graffiti art covered the streets, and the mayor wore a yellow tie. A local bakery even introduced a cube-shaped cake that’s decorated yellow, and called it ‘Le TAP.’ We’re honored that our project was so well received.”

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