Økern Portal is a commercial building located in the center of Hovinbyen, Økern. It offers a place for business and community to meet, and covers a staggering 55,000 square meters.
Our work started with grounding the strategy and creating an identity that visually represented the goals of the place – to create a destination with a village community and metropolitan diversity. We wanted to focus on the true story of Økern as Oslo’s first suburb and bustling crossroads for trade.
Working alongside our sister companies Lark and DARK Architects puts us in a unique position to have history and insights into their architectural choices. We wanted to ensure we played to this strength and recognized the areas where we could complement and strengthen the project.
A meeting place
The footprint of the building has been repeated as a visual manifestation of coming together. They form an intersection and meeting place, embracing the local community in a warm hug. This same way of thinking is repeated in the architecture where one walks through the portal from Løren to Økern. The portal becomes the transition point between the urban exterior and the sheltered inner courtyard.
This site is big! With 55,000 square meters of office space, rooftop garden, running track, children’s play areas, restaurants, cafes and retail spaces we wanted to keep things simple.
The challenge was to create a multifaceted communication system that would assist users when transitioning through the different spaces. To add an additional layer of complexity, the building was still in development while we were mapping out user journeys. This meant that we needed to be mindful of what was true today vs what would be true in the future, and to ensure both scenarios were planned for.
Colour was one of the main identification markers to indicate entrances and zones. We used this system in combination with icons, arrows and a lettering system that was established in the drawings from the architects. Working with the designated naming system proved to be a challenge, but something that needed to be adopted.
The building is composed of 8 entrances and 10 levels – each with the option of stairs or lifts. By using a simple base of black, white and aluminium for the signage, it meant that the colours would have a better chance of creating more impact.
It was important to us that we explore a range of construction forms for the signage. Taking the lead from the facade of the building we explored a series of designs. Our intention was to create something that could blend in, but stand out when needed. These design choices would then translate through the family of signs for both internal, external and back of house.
Økern Portal as a destination is positioned to welcome international guests and residents, so naturally English needed to be accommodated in the signage designs. We also developed a suite of icons and numbers that could become as much a part of the identity as the logo itself.