Diadem 6 HomeGround

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Mark Janetzki
  • Pou Rautaki / Strategic Leads
    Sam Lowth, Sung Chua
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Mike Keen, Todd Dawson, Pam Wilson
  • Client
    Auckland City Mission - Te Tāpui Atawhai

HomeGround, a visionary supportive living facility created by Auckland City Mission, has been years in the making. It serves as a permanent accommodation and social services hub for some of the city's most vulnerable individuals.

Comprising 80 apartments and a range of support services, HomeGround ensures an integrated and holistic approach to addressing the needs of its residents. Within its walls, you'll find a commercial kitchen, a community dining room, public showers and toilets, a medical centre and pharmacy accessible to the public, addiction withdrawal services, activity spaces, a rooftop garden, and a sacred space.

The approach
Good design is empathetic. It responds to the human condition and always considers the end-user.

Our comprehensive strategy considered the operational and emotional needs of various user groups, including staff, volunteers, medical consultants, residents, and visitors, as they move throughout the building. For example, ensuring clear and direct wayfinding for those seeking medical consultations from the ground floor reception area was of utmost importance. Equally vital was the design of signage that conveyed warmth and homeliness for those who call the apartment tower their home.

With no brand material to reference, we drew inspiration from the space itself and its guiding principles. The design of the wayfinding signage aimed to capture the qualities of feeling like home, having a unique personality, providing space for cultural expression, establishing a clear information hierarchy, reflecting strong architectural influence, and ensuring robustness.

The black framing detail and plywood became the unifying elements across the sign family, heavily influenced by the architecture. Varied shapes were incorporated into the sign forms to evoke the eclectic nature of a home environment, reminiscent of a gallery wall of frames. The frame design, with exposed details referencing the building's crosshatching, securely attached to surfaces to ensure safety.

By digitally printing onto plywood, we achieved a warmth rarely associated with signage. The use of colour harmonised with the finishes of each level and injected personality. The halo-lit laminated plywood letters at the HomeGround entry maintained their exposed edges, embodying the authentic and honest nature of the space.

Given the diversity of the sign forms, careful attention was given to hierarchy, size, and typography to ensure legibility and ease of use. A typeface with humanist qualities was selected to ensure text was both legible and friendly.

The Result:
The outcome is a warm, robust and updatable wayfinding system. It boasts clear information hierarchy, exhibits a strong architectural influence, showcases a unique non-corporate design execution, and, most importantly, evokes a sense of home for its people.