S+D Works
The wayfinding signage reflects the campus' signature "C"—for Cornell.

Featured Project: Setting the Bar High and Then Meeting It


This featured project comes to us from Brooklyn, New York’s S+D Works, a signage fabrication company that spun out of Signs and Decal Corp., whose roots date back to 1971.

S+D Works was contracted by Pentagram, a company that bills itself as the world’s largest independently owned design studio with multiple office in the U.S. and in Europe, including in New York City.

Pentagram was heavily involved in the design of Cornell Tech, a technology-focused campus on New York’s Roosevelt Island. The island is located in the East River, between Midtown Manhattan and Long Island City, and is a graduate school conceived on the principals of collaboration and innovation.

Given its high-brow address and mission, you would expect the architectural design to be held to equally high standards, and such is the case for the work done by Pentagram and its partners, including the wayfinding signage fabricated by S+D Works.

One of the main features of the first phase of development is the “Tech Walk,” a car-free pathway that winds among the three buildings that are part of phase one. The signage system is designed around a series of totems that are meant to seamlessly integrate into the landscape while still being clearly noticeable to pedestrians.

As Pentagram notes on its website: “The totems acknowledge Cornell with a dimensional and highly recognizable ‘C’ shape. The signs are sized to work at human scale and carefully modulated to minimally impact the visual landscape, complementing the geometric architecture of the campus and evoking nearby skyscrapers, without getting in the way of the fantastic views. Directories are designed to be easily updated as the campus continues to expand.”

Pentagram won an award from the Society for Experiential Graphic Designs for its design work, which included signage and environmental graphics, on this project.

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