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A Government Building You’ll Want to Get Lost In (But Can’t)

A subway map-inspired wayfinding system brings world-class design to a cultural ministry in Norway.

Leave it to Scandinavia to make even government buildings look good. The Storehagen Atrium in Førde, Norway — which houses the national lottery and a local cultural ministry — tapped “human environment design” experts Ralston & Bau to create a wonderfully simple wayfinding system that won’t let visitors get lost. In the building, that is. (In red tape is another matter.)

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The designers took inspiration from the bold, color-coded signage of public transit. Much like a Tokyo subway line, each floor of the building has a unique color and number.

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[Tokyo subway, image via Thomas Juricek on Picasa]

And each of the building’s 200 doors has a unique pattern:

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According to Ralston & Bau, the signage is effective even for colorblind people: the colored bands have distinctly different contrast levels independent of hue, and their physical arrangement never changes (for example, 2/blue is always below 3/orange).

[Read more at DesignBoom]

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About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets

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