SMCS / Sign system 1
June 2004

Sign System / part 1

Stedelijk Museum 2004

Note: this entry is part of a larger group of texts about the SMCS assignment. To read the full story about this project, start at SMCS / Introduction, and click through all the successive pages from there.
On another note – we wrote the texts below quite a while ago. We just reread them, and noticed some of them seem a bit outdated, and might need to be rewritten. Some of the used images need some reworking as well. We'll do this in the near future.
To underline the temporary, interim character of the location, we decided to compose the sign system entirely of so-called 'document holders': hard plastic, transparent A4 cases. This proved to be a very easy and practical system. We would print out the A4s ourselves, and just fill the holders with them.
Added to these more pragmatic reasons, the bureaucratic aesthetic of the document holders also referred perfectly to the old function of the location (post office). Furthermore, this signage system was a way to channel our fascination for standardised formats (such as the A4 format) and modular systems. We also liked the fact that the document holder is such a common element at exhibitions. For our sign system, we took this common element, and we exaggerated it by blowing it up to absurd proportions: we used 2000 of these plastic A4 holders in the whole building.

We actually used two different sorts of document holders: flat, envelope-style cases, which would carry only one sheet of paper. And thicker, box-like cases, which could carry several pieces of printed matter (information sheets, folders, booklets, etc.) for visitors to take away.

Although these document holders have a strong ready-made aesthetic, we actually designed the cases ourselves: they were custom-made for us. (This because existing document holders proved to be a little bit bigger than A4, while for our system it was important that all the cases would fit perfectly).

Shown below a small selection of photographs that demonstrate the way in which we employed the sign system in the building:
experimental_jetset_smcs_signage01 experimental_jetset_smcs_signage02experimental_jetset_smcs_signage03 experimental_jetset_smcs_signage04
experimental_jetset_smcs_signage5 experimental_jetset_smcs_signage5b
experimental_jetset_smcs_signage06 experimental_jetset_smcs_signage07
experimental_jetset_smcs_signage08 experimental_jetset_smcs_signage09
experimental_jetset_smcs_prixderome experimental_jetset_smcs_prixderome2
Photos (c) 2004 by Gert-Jan van Rooij.
( c ) 1997 – 2024