July 27, 2021

Unique wayfinding transforms the Greater Rochester International Airport

When designing the Greater Rochester International Airport, the team at SEI Design Group was challenged to create a wayfinding system that would infuse an otherwise neutral environment with a splash of color. The wayfinding system would need to colorfully guide travelers through security checkpoints and to the correct concourse, meet airport building codes, and installation would need to be done without shutting down the airport.

The design team came up with the idea to use a series of vibrant ceiling features that could be installed in segments, adding color to the environment while allowing the airport to remain open and functional.

With a Class A fire rating, a diverse array of available colors, and the ability to be thermoformed into custom shapes, Lumicor Resin was the ideal material for the project, able to address both the practical and aesthetic concerns.

Two types of ceiling features were required: Rivers, resin fins which were cold-formed onsite and clipped into a continuous top panel, and Ribbons, organic configurations of pre-thermoformed resin panels suspended from a custom cable system.

The Rivers were designed for the security checkpoint area, with a low floor-to-ceiling height and a complex system of ducts and piping to maneuver around. The Ribbons would run through the main terminal and into the two concourses, routed around ductwork and piping while also requiring different sections of each feature to be installed at varying heights.

The Lumicor Solutions team was able to meet the multiple design challenges of each environment by developing installation methods for both ceiling feature styles, including creating the custom cable system used for the Ribbons. This same flexible cable system is used for Lumicor’s kitted Fin Ceiling Features with easy-to-adjust suspension cables that can maneuver around fixed building elements, allow installation at any angle, and offer quick and efficient height adjustment.

To ensure a successful installation for each airport area, Lumicor put together a series of mockups for the SEI team to work with directly, allowing them firsthand experience with both the versatility of the resin and how the hardware would perform. Additionally, the contractors were able to use an onsite mockup to review and test the installation systems with other ceiling elements.

With the ceiling features acting as the primary source of wayfinding throughout the airport, it was essential to differentiate Concourse A from Concourse B. The features for each concourse were assigned a distinct hue; a vivid green was chosen for Concourse A, symbolizing the green hills of Rochester. For Concourse B, a rich blue would be representative of the nearby waterways. The blue and green color scheme would continue in the signage, furniture, and accent carpet for each concourse – further bolstering the differentiation of space and location.

The ceiling features provide travelers with effective wayfinding while introducing vibrant color and visual interest into the environment. As passengers emerge from the security checkpoint, the eye-catching blue and green ribbons weave through the main terminal Food Court in an energetic display before each color separates towards their respective concourse. The versatility of Lumicor Resin allowed for a playful approach to a design that is both functional and engaging for travelers.

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