Cultural Center Renato Russo 508 Sul is one of the most important cultural spaces in Brasilia. In the ’70s, it went from a bunch of sheds to having theater stages, art workshops, and galleries. In July 2018, it was reopened after an accessibility renovation. While working as a senior designer to the Secretary of Culture of the Federal District, I was responsible for designing the Center’s new Wayfinding and Information systems.
Roles in the project
• Information Architect
• Communications Designer
• Project Manager
• Information Architect: space mapping, routes mapping, and new labelling of the rooms by floors and functions.
• Communications Designer: navigation signs, room labels, maps, informational signs, educational signs, typographical system and icon system.
• Project Manager: scheduling and project planning, conduction of meetings, budgeting and communicating with suppliers, team and stakeholders.
As we began to work on this project, a reopening date was already set, so we had to fit our schedule into that very tight time frame. The biggest constraint was, however, financial. The State was facing a severe financial crisis in the period, which translated to me having to deal with four different suppliers. A further challenge was to get approval from the different stakeholders: the public authorities, the contractors, and the artistic community.
After carefully planing and getting approval for the design direction and concepts, I worked closely with the architects team and the contractor’s engineers to map the rooms and routes. We used demolition steel and similar materials whenever possible. We took advantage of the walls, doors and glasses to apply vinyl adhesive, making the whole system a lot cheaper. For every piece, we tested for color contrast and legibility to guarantee a seamless navigation, and an aesthetic pleasing system that respected the cultural heritage.
It was very rewarding to contribute to an important cultural space in my hometown. On the design side, I learned a lot from the architects. Since the construction was unfinished as we began, I rely heavily on their knowledge to understand the function and navigation across rooms.
But, the biggest learning came from the management of the project. I was very humbled by the trust all the stakeholders granted me, including the former Secretary. I believe I made it possible by not being afraid to ask, discuss concepts and seek consensus before moving forward to new tasks. Also, the relationship I developed with the suppliers guaranteed we stayed on budget and on time. By staying open, communicating clearly and building trust, we were able to deliver a great project and safeguarded the reopening of the space on time.