Kunsthal Extra City found its new location in a former Dominican monastery in the city centre of Antwerp, Belgium. It transformed the space into an inspiring exhibition space for contemporary art, a place to reflect on the city and our changing society. In their search for meaning, Extra City dares to make radical choices, guided by a deliberately open-minded – even slightly naive – attitude. The graphic identity embraces that attitude, in trying to build a meaningful relationship with the location and Extra City’s past. Settling down in a deconsecrated church also means that you will have to answer to the questions: how can you build exhibitions within this specific setting? How can you go all out with losing respect for the location itself? These questions translated into remarkable exhibitions and a fitting graphic identity.
The scope of the project overspend all sorts of logical, and illogical, applications: a logo, typefaces, colour scheme, printed matter, a new website, entrance stickers, signage, gadgets … The very specific location of the new Kunsthal was the starting point for the graphic approach. From the floor tiles to the windows with coloured glass, a square/hatch is present. This quickly became a structural element which could be manipulated to fit several supports. It’s a carrier of the word “Extra City” in the logo but can also become a grid for the constructions that form the permanent signage. (For this we used a metal roster that is often seen in Belgian churches, carrying the typical communal wooden crosses youngster leave behind.) The entrance desk of the museum was designed by the Brussels based Rotor, using leftover scraps from a previous exhibition at MuZee in Ostend. Circularity and Extra City’s nomadic existence go hand in hand.
The fresco above the former churches entrance gates could not be touched so we put a floating hatch in neon just inches above the tableau, mimicking both the Basilica of Koekelberg’s red neon cross and/or local night show signage systems. A nice blend of high and low culture, lighting up the space with losing respect for its past. The x marks the spot.
The main Extra City logo is spelled out in Dinamo’s Synt. The vertical and distinguished feel of the typeface worked when paired with Monument Grotesk: the perfect couple. For the main exhibition, branded Radically Naive/ Naively Radical, a full exhibition guide was put together. The two smaller shows (Periphery and Watermarks, silent traces) each got a leaflet, which nicely folds around the main exhibition guide. The purple for the RN/NR hints again to its religious past and pops out in the streets of Antwerp. Using a limited budget we put together a website design which could be implemented in the backend of the previous site. The same machine, but with a new look. (Sort of like the old winAmp skins.) Studio RGB was responsible for the code.