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.
Bold but belonging
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.
Art meets Science
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.