Manhattan’s newest public park and performance space, Little Island, is a re-imagination of Pier 55, which was badly damaged in Hurricane Sandy. The park was conceived by Barry Diller in partnership with Hudson River Park Trust. Creative studio C&G Partners was called upon to design the signage, wayfinding and graphic system for Little Island, joining a team of design and construction partners that includes Heatherwick Studio and Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects.
The graphic and signage elements appear at numerous touch points, including a two-block long array of poster cabinets along the Hudson River esplanade to inform visitors about upcoming performances on the Island. Granite piers are sandblasted to mark the point of entry to Little Island’s elevated maritime botanic garden.
The park map is deliberately simple, designed to embrace the joy of the park’s playful brand colors in a simple style, directing visitors to various destinations and amenities. The wayfinding system orients visitors to the undulating, meandering landscape, and is designed to integrate with the environment. Built from the same 1/4″ thick corten sheet piling steel as the Island’s retaining structures, the weathering steel signs continually form a layer of rust when exposed to the elements. The same metallic sculptural approach can be found in other park elements, like identification signs applied directly to the architecture in dimensional bronze. And each of the luminous, double-sided directional monuments is a unique sculpture of its own.
The graphic system developed for the park abstracts natural foliage forms into playful cut-paper-style shapes. The brand color palette changes with every season, and the whole system is based on the deliberately lo-fi Chelsea Market typeface. C&G’s visuals for Little Island include mini-logo-pattern graphic wraps for food trucks and ice cream bicycles. Branding guidelines were also created. The wayfinding and signage fabrication and installation for Little Island was done by longtime C&G collaborators DCL (Design Communications Ltd.