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Creating a standout wayfinding system for a new cultural destination

Saadiyat Island - Masterplan wayfinding

Creating a standout wayfinding system for a new cultural destination

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A 27 square kilometre island, located just off the Abu Dhabi shoreline in the UAE, Saadiyat is a developing community divided into four distinct districts – Beach, Lagoons, Cultural, and Marina.

Entrance sign - Masterplan wayfinding by Endpoint

Masterplan wayfinding in paradise

When complete, it’ll be home to numerous high-end residential buildings, as well as world-class leisure, entertainment, and cultural venues – including the Zayed National Museum, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Our task was to design a unique masterplan wayfinding for the entire island; to help distinguish the different areas, clearly signpost directions and indicate distances, and help draw attention to the coming attractions

Masterplan wayfinding - A visitor taking a picture by our sign at Saadiyat Island

Curation, community, & consistency

Beginning our work in the Cultural District, our first step was to immerse ourselves in the environment, to uncover key issues residents and visitors could face – an exercise that helped inform our strategic approach.

To encourage future visitors to explore the district on foot; a pedestrian system was needed to help make the area easier to navigate.

However, it was also essential that we delivered something unique; that fit into the wider aesthetic – showcasing the district’s flavour, whilst consistently communicating Saadiyat’s high-end positioning.

Masterplan wayfinding by Endpoint - Copy of the signage guidelines location

Eye-catching orientation points

Our solution was to use a distinctive theme across the entire sign family: a series of bold sail-shaped pedestrian totems located at key locations across the Cultural District.

As well as providing eye-catching orientation points, the totems provided a wealth of information including directions, maps, and walking distances between attractions and areas of interest.

While the overall impact of our work won’t be evident for some time – when the entire development is complete and the wayfinding system is rolled out across the island – we’re confident our efforts will strengthen the Saadiyat brand, improve overall navigation, and ultimately give visitors a positive lasting experience: creating a better connection between people and place.

Masterplan wayfinding - Visitor walking by our sign at Saadiyat Island
Entrance sign - Masterplan wayfinding by Endpoint
Masterplan wayfinding - A visitor taking a picture by our sign at Saadiyat Island
Masterplan wayfinding by Endpoint - Copy of the signage guidelines location
Masterplan wayfinding - Visitor walking by our sign at Saadiyat Island