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    Design is Served

    University of Washington North Campus Dining

    Design is Served

    If you stroll through a college campus, it’s hard to miss the connection between people and place. From first meals with friends to that perfect study nook, a student’s experience is shaped by community, connection, and culture. That’s why the University of Washington had a clear vision for their new North Campus dining facility, and why we transformed the space to celebrate the cuisines served and cultures on campus.

    Working with Graham Baba Architects, we set out by rethinking the way a dining hall could look. UW wanted this high-traffic facility to serve as a “center table” for student life on campus: a space for students to feel at home and connect with each other over a diverse array of food offerings. In turn, we developed a comprehensive environmental graphics and wayfinding system to convey doing just that.

    Our work began with a visual story. We explored the root of human experience within the space, and examined the ways the facility’s architecture fosters connection. Graphics were carefully designed to ensure cultures and cuisines were represented appropriately, while pulling in creative “food” nods with functional purpose. The central graphics surrounding the main seating area showcase patterns found on plates across the globe while an accent wall in the space references night markets from a multitude of countries arranged like the periodic table, giving a nod to the science behind the food offerings.

    Graham Baba UW Center Table 0650 web Composite 3

    We also worked closely with the architectural team to integrate the graphics systems into the unique qualities of the space. Special attention was given to ensure all graphics not only worked together as a cohesive system, but also integrated with the physical architecture throughout the building. Colors and materials for signage were selected to ensure alignment with architectural finishes, while still reflecting and complimenting the vision for the space as a whole.

    Graham Baba UW Center Table 1526 web

    The result is a dynamic environment for students to connect and recharge over a curated dining experience. Striking graphics invite diners in, while working cohesively to aid navigation and convey values. These systems elevate the facility and transpire UW’s vision through a visual story, while helping the space connect seamlessly back to the campus as a whole.

    Whether it’s for a quick bite on the run or a late-night dinner shared with someone new, the dining hall – now officially named Center Table – serves up that connection between people and place.