Ward Heirwegh makes reference to religion in his flexible identity system for Kunsthal Extra City
Lying within a former Dominican monastery in the Belgian city of Antwerp, Kunsthal Extra City is a contemporary exhibition space with a deliberately open-minded attitude. The space provides a hub for artists, art lovers and passersby to enjoy, discuss and deliberate art on a range of challenging social and political topics; aiming to reflect the city’s diverse and ever-changing society.
Commissioned to redesign Extra City’s identity upon its move to the former monastery, locally-based designer Ward Heirwegh faced the challenge of paying respect to its historic location while establishing a fitting and diverse solution for its plethora of exhibitions. His outcome rises to the challenge by revolving around an abstract representation of an important element from Extra City’s new environment – a square hatch mark devised from the building’s mesmerising floor tiles.
Simplistic in its most reduced form, the mark is manipulated to form the basis of a vibrant graphic system. One of its primary executions sees the hatch placed on top of ‘Extra City’ set in Dinamo’s Synt – forming a memorable logomark with the ability to both lead and provide support to the exhibitions on display when necessary.
Showcasing its flexibility, the hatch mark also appears in neon – informed by the Basilica of Koekelberg’s red neon cross – above the space’s entrance, provides a church-inspired grid for its permanent signage, and acts as the basis of a modular geometric pattern used on promotional materials for exhibitions.
Synt’s striking serifs are accompanied by another typeface from Dinamo – Monument Grotesk – providing a functional workhorse for body copy as well as a contrasting sans serif option for exhibition titles in printed matter and wayfinding. This combination is showcased beautifully in the exhibition guide for ‘Radically Naive, Naively Radical’ alongside a popping shade of purple inspired by the location’s religious past.