Australian architectural practices Neeson Murcutt + Neille and COX Architecture have worked in conjunction with wayfinding specialists Entro to complete the signposting of the first phase of the Australian Museum redevelopment — titled Project Discover — that was opened to the public in December 2020.
Featuring 3,000sqm of new public space, the highly strategic design prioritises changes that will prolong the life of the museum, which aims to educate and shape the learning of local and worldwide visitors alike.
Entro were hired to complete the wayfinding of the museum, which is now a seamless, open-ended experience that allows for the visitor to go about their journey in whichever direction they desire.
Rachel Neeson, director at Neeson Murcutt + Neille says that the work conducted by Entro reflects the core ideals her practice have held throughout the design process of the redevelopment.
“It was a joy to discover Entro’s enthusiasm for this project matched our own. Effective wayfinding really complements architecture and, with this project, Jan gives us a masterclass in realising the positive impact of that marriage of disciplines.”
The ‘Jan’ Neeson speaks of is Entro principal Jan Ashdown, who says every wayfinding decision was met with careful consideration, to ensure it aligned with the architectural characteristics of the project.
“We were mindful of sharing our concepts with Rachel at every juncture — after all, it was imperative that our wayfinding designs aligned with her overall vision.”
Ashdown goes on to say that the wayfinding design by Entro is intuitive, and encourages people to enter and exit gallery spaces at their own pace.
“In a museum space, visitors like to meander and to discover. Our intention is not to rush people from point A to point B, instead, we lead them through with little breadcrumbs that allow patrons to choose their own path and shape their own journey through space.”
Neeson and Ashdown developed such a strong connection that when Neeson Murcutt + Neille sought to repurpose bronze balustrades from an original staircase in the Museum’s Parkes Famer Wing, it was Ashdown that Neeson turned to to reimagine them. The result was the bronze of the balustrades was recycled by Entro’s in-house foundry team and turned into elegant typography that signposted each floor of the Museum.
Entro collaborated with the Museum’s First Nations team to create an aesthetic that reflected the land and waterways on which the Museum stands. The team drew inspiration from natural landscapes, such as mountains, trees, and rivers. Scarred trees in particular, trees that provide wood or bark for the creation of cultural objects, were an influence as they have played a part in sharing knowledge and living in balance for millennia on the lands now known as Australia.
The new Project Discover section of the Australian Museum, located in Darlinghurst, is now open. To find out more, head to australian.museum.