Client, Year

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, 2021

Services

Wayfinding
ADA Signage
Donor Recognition

Awards / Press 

365: AIGA Year in Design Award, 2022

Photography

Vivian Marie Doering

Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall

Complementing a complex space

Home to the internationally renowned Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO), the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall is singular—and eccentric. Designed as an acoustic palace, its curved spaces, accompanied by years of mix-matched wayfinding, made for a challenging space to navigate. Ashton developed, designed, and implemented a new wayfinding plan that seamlessly integrates with the space and honors the building’s importance to its community.

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The Hall was built in 1982 around 50-plus precast concrete, sound-diffusing “clouds,” giving it a look reminiscent of a sci-fi Galactic Senate. Its interior also avoids the use of flat lines, ninety-degree angles, and, where possible, walls. To maintain this ethereal feel, we created signs that merge with various curvilinear surfaces to make them feel organic and original.  

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Upon entering, guests are greeted by an understated donor wall. The simple black-and-white signage system mimics the scale and bond of the lobby’s cylindrical brick walls.

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“Simple + classic, lots of visual breath, reinforces the open gestures and rhythms of the space. It’s got an easy elegance, really elevates such a clear and functional system. Beautiful.”

365: AIGA Year in Design competition Juror

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Multiple named spaces and lounges utilize deep channel letters, whose white-on-white application blends into the architecture. Smaller pops of tomato red tie what’s above into the red carpet below.

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The Hall is a mirrored building with two identical wings on either side. Unfortunately, its nested hallways and stairwells proved disorienting for first-time visitors and even seasoned concert-goers. It was critical that we create clear, robust wayfinding to help guests reach their seats.

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Full architectural integration was our top priority. Primary signs were rendered floor to ceiling, while secondary signs and supporting directionals matched the dimensions of the hall’s bricks.

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Before, the symphony had to rely on an army of docents to direct patrons around the Hall for every performance or event (even locating the bathroom was difficult!). Now, the building guides, rather than confounds its guests, helping all attendees to better enjoy the show.

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PO Box 50337, Balt., MD 21211

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