Powerhouse Arts

A Refreshed Identity for a Readapted Space

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Powerhouse Arts

A New Source of Power

Powerhouse Arts is a not-for-profit facility dedicated to art fabrication, collaboration, education, and events. Based in Brooklyn, New York, it has 170,000 square feet of workshop space for artists and makers working in wood, metal, ceramics, textiles, and print. The Powerhouse was built in 1903 to supply electricity to Brooklyn Rapid Transit. Due to technological changes and new transportation methods, the plant was decommissioned in the 1970s and eventually became a haven for graffiti artists. The existing derelict structure was recently redeveloped, transforming it into a centre for artists and fabricators.
  • Client

    Powerhouse Arts

  • Location

    Brooklyn, New York

  • Sector

    Cultural

  • Discipline

    Branding, Wayfinding

  • Architect

    Herzog & de Meuron

  • Photography

    Chris Cooper

  • Awards

    Graphis Design Annual Silver Award, Branding Graphis Design Annual Silver Award, Environmental Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) Branding Award

business cards displaying powerhouse arts branding
Creating an Identity

Entro developed a brand identity that represented not only the building’s unique history, but also the people and services that make up Powerhouse Arts. It needed to show the collective’s unity while also allowing each of its parts to be differentiated. The goal was to evoke an ecosystem of creative educators and professionals, all collaborating to create something larger than the sum of its parts.

A Hive of Activity

The brandmark is inspired by the concept of a collective or a hive. It’s a collection of small elements coming together to form a greater whole, showing how every Powerhouse Arts member supports – and is in turn supported by – every other member.

Being a multidisciplinary arts centre, Powerhouse Arts deserved special attention to its brand’s multimedia applications. Our work extended to include a website redesign, marketing asset templates, and brand guidelines. The entire suite was created to allow all of their creators to effectively showcase their work, no matter the medium.

Powerhouse identification signage applied directly to industrial exterior.
Reception area inside powerhouse, with desk and walls covered with graffiti.
Respect the Graffiti

The building restorations saved as much of the original structure and graffiti as possible. We designed the signage system to make the most of these preservation efforts.

 

Like the graffiti artists, we treated the building itself as a canvas. The result was signage that matches and accentuates the space’s industrial origin and features. We opted for large-scale, open-channel dimensional letters that frame and reveal the graffiti. The clean forms complement the stark industrial shapes while contrasting with the graffiti, making wayfinding cues unobtrusive but easy to locate.

Powerhouse's Great Hall.

Architect Jacques Herzog describes the significance of Powerhouse Arts in the area: “As fabrication shops disappear from the city, this building will serve local artists and the community for generations.”

Learn more about Powerhouse Arts, and follow media coverage in the New York Times.

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