DIGroup Architecture worked on behalf the Foundation Academies, a public K-12 charter school in Trenton, to create a sweeping graphic design and wayfinding program that aims to engage students with a mix of lessons, messages and historical references. — Courtesy: DIGroup
By Joshua Burd
DIGroup Architecture has completed a project to transform the interior of a Trenton charter school, unveiling a sweeping graphic design and wayfinding program that aims to engage students with a mix of lessons, messages and historical references.
The New Brunswick-based firm worked on behalf the Foundation Academies, a public K-12 school, to redesign an interior that was previously “devoid of any sense of identity and place,” according to a project description. The result was a series of graphics that function as landmarks throughout the schools — evoking themes such as music, space exploration and history — all meant to help guide, educate and inspire students, staff and visitors.
DIGroup added that, since each academy floor serves three to four grade levels, themes were chosen to align with age- and grade-appropriate representation within each academy. The design by the firm’s environmental graphics studio also used Foundation Academies’ branded colors to encourage school spirit and emphasize the school’s values.
“Understanding how an individual interacts with a space is just as important as the space itself,” said Marina Stern, the firm’s director of graphic design. “DIGroup is raising the bar for evaluating the appropriateness of and incorporation of graphic design, wayfinding and signage wherever and whenever appropriate. Including an up-front plan for these important — yet often overlooked — elements ensures that a space successfully meets the needs of its users, makes sense and incorporates visual cues that are critical to navigating a new space.”
The team is also handling graphics-inspired designs for the atrium and cinema at the Jewish Community Housing Corp.’s Lester Senior Living facility, a full-service, multitiered campus in Hanover’s Whippany section that provides independent, assisted and memory care levels as well as respite-stay services. Its work at the property includes a floor-to-ceiling screen and chalkboard graphics.
In Long Branch, DIGroup is working on behalf of the Carnegie Library to create engaging graphics displays for the new teen area, according to the firm, as part of a major renovation and restoration of the 23,500-square-foot facility. The project also includes a business and career center, a local history room and additional reading spaces.
The work is underway alongside several other assignments for the graphic design team, which often works in tandem with DIGroup’s architecture and interior design units. One such project is on behalf of UNITI Cultural Center, a 4,000-square-foot facility at Stony Brook University that opened in late 2021 and was conceptualized to convey cultural diversity, inclusion and equity.
In addition to a curated mix of multicultural-inspired organic structures, furnishing, finishes and graphics, the UCC features prominent wall graphics highlighting people of color and meaningful quotes.
“Our team immersed themselves in capturing the essence of UCC’s multicultural energy, from texture and textile designs, weaving and basket making to elements associated with international festivals, celebrations and ethnic food trucks,” Stern said.