A link to nature
The GOSS Aravallis office of Mercer is situated in the backdrop of the low-lying Aravallis in the lush surrounds of a bio-diversity park. Here, we had to create a vast set of graphics all over the Mercer offices. Our challenge was to be different yet maintain the link with the enduring graphic narratives of the Tree of Life and Aesop Fables we had created at Mercer Noida. Human values stem from our primary connect with the natural world and we wanted to continue to present these perspectives at Mercer GOSS Aravallis.
Mercer’s corporate values are crisp directives to engage with tasks and aim towards excellence and consistent performance. A customer-oriented organization, Mercer prides itself in its greatest asset – its people. Our approach at Lopez Design has always been about transforming Mercer’s principles and expectations into immersive environments. We embrace an Indo-centric approach.
An Indian temple, a miniature painting or patachitra art presents a certain structure and picturesque scene from afar. As you go closer, there are stories within stories and endless variations unfold. This jewel-boxed type of narrative is peculiar to Asia and India. Think of Scheherzade and the 1001 Nights, hopping from one story to another to another. From Ali Baba to Sindbad the Sailor, sometimes we cannot remember even where the story began! Open the Mahabharatha and you will find trails and sub-plots within the main narrative, with connections difficult to trace. Even the popular Panchatantra starts off with a king taking instruction from his wise minister about how to rule his land: from here, we journey onwards to many parts of the country to learn from parables of animals and people. The immersive quality of storytelling in the East, makes you forget ‘where and when’ delving more into the ‘what and why’.
Patachitra paintings and jewel-boxing pictorials seen as geometric forms from far and narratives from up close
Mercer’s ethos comes alive
What did we want to show at Mercer? Mercer’s mission “Make Tomorrow, Today” is supported by the explanation, “Through proven and powerful solutions built on creativity, a commitment to innovation and a belief that we can shape tomorrow, we are building a better future today.” This led us to three primary areas – Creativity, Innovation and Belief. With this stable triangle, we zoomed out to five proven qualities for success- Courage, Immersion, Passion, Endurance and Simplicity. As human beings, we are constantly inspired by nature, learning and forming our perceptions to go forward. Water became a pure metaphor, which could celebrate the power and force of these eight vectors.
At Mercer GOSS Aravallis, we explored the shape-shifting nature of water as a transforming and creative medium. Water takes many forms from vapour, fluid and ice and adapts itself to rivers, waterfalls, lakes and the ocean. Making Waves became our move towards 16 super-graphics across floors. We drew connections to how successful people with such qualities have transformed the world in every age of mankind. From Gandhi to Edison and Mandela to Malala Yousafsai, powerful stories and quotes pepper these large graphics.
The jewel-boxed narrative
Our approach to environmental graphics has always been exhaustive, detailed and immersive. In exploring the theme of Belief for instance, from far away, you see two waves rising in a frothy fountain at the centre and many other swirls of water. As you go closer, you will find many stories within the waves: a man nurtures a tree with belief to grow it; Akbar and Birbal stand under an arbor in a picture of “Mutual belief and respect”; mountain tops sit on the crest of waves, beckoning you to climb with the words “Every mountain top is within reach if you keep climbing.” The stories are detailed out in a meticulous way for people to discover different quotes or illustrations each time they walk by the corridors. We invite people from afar to come near, explore, move away and return another time.
The triangle and water waves were our basic elements that set the pace for a system that allowed growth in many directions.The triangle is a repetitive geometric element, a subtle reminder of Mercer’s triangle, starting from the Corian wall at the reception and the copper plate wall that uses varied depths to indulge in a play of tones.
Materials and the message
Our approach led us to create beautiful illustrations by certain constraints we set for ourselves. We decided that all the super graphics would be printed on wood laminate and all the passageways would have frosted glass. Water and waveforms also appear as graphic elements on frosted glass partitions to create soothing patterns. Key words printed along waves resonate with the operative imperatives of Mercer as Mercer Pride and Operational Excellence. The water wave is the base for all the super-graphics and the frosted glass renderings. The story of Mercer seamlessly flows out like water into waterfalls, lakes and rivers making it all comes together as one “ocean of experience” as India’s Kathasaritasagara – literally meaning “Ocean of the streams of stories.”
Break out area
These messages are continually reinforced in many layers, bringing together vibrant experiences in passages, breakout areas and the gym. The pillars, break-out area and cafeteria use colored graphics.
“Be water my friend”
A sense of immediacy punctuates the gym graphics lending to the importance of thinking on your feet. Spontaneous messages appear on an LED ‘Speaking Wall’ reaching out to the people in corridors in a lighter vein.
by Sujatha Shankar Kumar