A Food Hall, but Better.
Food halls have a problem – while eclectic branding seems charming, it also creates chaotic spaces in which loud signage competes for guests’ attention. Zeppelin Station faced the challenges of any food hall or train station – ensuring guests could easily navigate and engage in a setting filled with various vendors, bars and retailers. We went against the visual clutter traditionally associated with market halls and created a design system that was streamlined and interactive. The result is a cohesive space that helps guests navigate, explore, discover and enjoy no matter what part of their journey they are on.
When we were tasked with creating a next-generation food hall and train station along the RTD A Line we knew we wanted to approach the project differently. The space presented a number of challenges: nine vendors of varying backgrounds serving different foods, two bars and three retail concepts; all organized around a central kitchen with limited sight lines. We needed to make sure that the space worked well for travelers, families and workers as a highly-functional public commons. At the end of the day, the project was private funds funding a public amenity and had to be addressed as a civic space.
Metro Made New.
We approached the project with a number of defining principles – we wanted to eschew the visual clutter traditionally associated with market halls, creating a system that overcame the lack of sight lines through the space and created a design system that was highly interactive. We drew on aesthetic traditions from the MTA, Moscow Metro and hospital striping systems, paired it with playful type design and coalesced it all around a striking warm red primary brand color. The rest of the color study was built around desaturated tones found in eastern european transit systems. We applied these elements on a human-scale subway map painted throughout the space. Instantly navigable at a glance, guests could follow any ‘line’ they chose to their desired stop -– red for food, orange for retail, grey for bars and so on. We even drew the system up onto the vertical plane where tight choke points and dense areas were an issue for visibility. By keeping the market a bright white, the colors of the wayfinding system create visual interest and constant presence.
We wanted all the vendors, each with different aesthetic backgrounds and food styles, to be on a level playing field. To do this we created easy-to-read signage that was quickly interchangeable. We designed a custom steel pegboard system where plates are interchanged quickly and are cheaply replaced as ingredients, prices and specials change. By creating a clear typographic hierarchy each vendor benefits from the same standards of readability, line height and color – this standardization across tenants helped reduce guests’ choice paralysis. Expanding beyond the market hall walls, we used the exterior facade to house a 25-ft linear LED screen that gives times for inbound and outbound trains, happy hours and other notifications.