Indianapolis International Airport Wayfinding Projects
Civic, Interior Design
The Luminaire project came from answering the first of three primary questions asked when arriving at the airport: Where is Concourse A or B?
The Indianapolis International Airport (IND) is rated by travelers as one of the best airports in North America. With a 10-year old terminal and a changing customer base, the Indianapolis Airport Authority created the Terminal Optimization Program (TOP) to provide the highest level of customer service and enhance the passenger experience. The importance of the TOP is to maintain the stellar reputation that IND is known for while blending accommodations between generations and cultures, inspiring economic impact, and reinforcing Hoosier Hospitality.
The Luminaire Project was the first of several created to assist and simplify the decision-making process at the airport. Two large LED displays, visible from the entrance of the terminal, identify the two concourses while complementary displays illuminate the TSA security checkpoints and display current wait times. Beyond a wayfinding tool, these forms are an iconic statement in Civic Plaza. Animations within the Luminaire displays welcome travelers into the space and create engaging experiences.
Information gathered from initial research studies indicated that the displays should stand proud of other retail signage surrounding the perimeter of Civic Plaza. Standing at 40 feet tall, the height was determined through several traveler perspective studies to ensure that the Luminaires could be seen from multiple pre-security vantage points.
Standing at 40 feet tall, the height was determined through several traveler perspective studies to ensure that the Luminaires could be seen from multiple pre-security vantage points.
IND visitors will be intrigued by captivating animation featuring basketballs for March Madness, a cityscape for year-round tourism, and a teaser for the Indy 500. The intuitive animation reacts to the environment, gaining speed as space fills with people and reducing speed in the quieter moments of the 24/7 facility.
The form was determined by its height, but also by a desire to provide an eye-catching element within the existing space. Manipulating the form to imply direction adds a layer of guidance for travelers to find the TSA security checkpoint entrances. Likewise, the material was a purposeful decision, introducing Indiana wood into the monotoned steel and limestone space provides the characteristic appeal of nature. As if growing from within, the Luminaires emerge independent of the retail and walkway paths, providing a distinctive, attention-grabbing tool to simplify the decision-making process. In order to maintain the flow of the Luminaires design, a companion piece was attached to the TSA entrances. This addition allows for further wayfinding information to be displayed, such as differentiating the location of TSA pre-check and displaying current wait times through the digital signage. By providing this information, travelers feel more informed and at ease to dictate their travel choices and take full advantage of pre-security retail and concessions prior to proceeding into the secured area.
The digital displays not only identify the two concourses but provide a canvas celebrating different events and showcases experiences travelers may have in the city. IND visitors will be intrigued by captivating animation featuring basketballs for March Madness, a cityscape for year-round tourism, and a teaser for the Indy 500. The intuitive animation reacts to the environment, gaining speed as space fills with people and reducing speed in the quieter moments of the 24/7 facility. Additional care was taken to ensure the LED displays respond appropriately as light changes in the facility. The Luminaires provide travelers the tools to relieve some of the stress of travel while highlighting the unique characteristics of the city with the intent to provide a memorable experience in this award-winning airport.
The Peek-a-Boo project came from answering one of three primary questions asked when arriving at the airport: Where is the restroom?
Inspired by the internationally recognized iconography of male and female forms, Synthesis created these bigger-than-life installations to meet the need of travelers no matter their destination or origination to feel welcome while visiting the Indianapolis International Airport (IND). The playful forms and undulating LED lights beckon travelers to a whimsical and unexpected experience as they locate the nearest restroom, one of the top three questions on their minds, as identified in a regional study conducted by the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA). Adding to the overall canvas while relieving the tension of travel and of being in a new space, these giant figurines skillfully assembled of metal, light, and acrylic create a happy disruption as visitors scan the halls of the public spaces and prove that wayfinding can be more than a sign with words.
Within complex environments such as an airport, wayfinding enhances and reassures travelers’ understanding of the physical environment, reduces stress, and increases their efficiency and time. The fun, lighthearted design creates an enjoyable and memorable user experience that reinforces the uniqueness of Indiana and its many amenities.
These carefully crafted pieces blend seamlessly into the fabric of the space while its simplicity and purposeful proportion contrast the surrounding complexity of the airport, security checks, and baggage claim. The soft glow of white light and colored frame create a bold statement that is understood from great distances no matter the time of day.
The bright colors and the peel-away look of each head, affectionally known as the peek-a-boo by the design team, warmly greets each passerby. By delicately pulling the figures into a 3-dimensional element, the playfully lit edge emits beautiful white light to provide visibility from multiple directions. The various colors used to frame each figure remind us of the diversity of the travelers that enter and exit the terminals each day. The light creates reflections on the various surfaces surrounding the installation and encourages viewers to think about the small impact we can have on everyone we come into contact with, to be a positive and bright spot in their day.
The uniqueness of its design required a collaboration of specialized craftsmen to create a simple yet impactful final product. A fish tank builder constructed the seamless opaque box that distributes light deep into its façade. A team of skilled metal fabricators worked to make the peeled edge of the symbols feel lightweight and free-floating. The team worked with lighting solutions from around the world to provide a consistent and subtly changing appearance and merged it with technology that allowed control over timing and the spectrum of colors to create a perfect balance of beauty and function.
We took this opportunity to create a truly unique and iconic experience in something as mundane as restroom wayfinding. These installations throughout the airport add to the overall traveler’s experience and help to continue to enhance the reputation that the IAA has worked tirelessly to build through their focus on providing the highest level of customer service. These simple, but elegant pieces, speak to all generations and cultures and introduce a new and exciting way to reinforce Hoosier Hospitality.