Case Study by Edmund Li RGD, Design Director, Entro
The team at Entro was asked to create a permanent installation at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre to showcase Canadian track cycling records in time for the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup, to inspire attending athletes, audience members and media from around the world.
The Mattamy National Cycling Centre is the only velodrome of its kind in Canada and only the second in North America that meets top international standards. It serves as both a community recreation facility and a venue for provincial, national and international events.
As the home of Canadian Cycling, the Mattamy National Cycling Centre is an extraordinary facility that cultivates world-class Canadian cyclists while engaging the local community with a wide range of recreational and sport opportunities for all ages and abilities.
Entro was contacted based on a referral and invited to work on the project directly.
Our goal was to design a Records Wall to both beautify and animate the space and inspire hopeful athletes by showcasing the achievements of Canada’s top performers. The wall features Canadian track records for Elite and Para-cyclists in individual and team events.
Our design approach for the wall emphasizes a deeper connection to the sport, for the athletes and audience alike. The wood panels that serve as the graphic carrier for the individual records are made from the wood strips found in the velodrome track itself and are arranged in a pattern that visually expresses speed. Clear braille was applied to six of the records, as some of the athletes have varying degrees of visual impairment. These records add another dimension of accessibility and inclusiveness to the design.
The wooden panels were chosen as a readily available asset that the client could easily provide within the limitations of budget and time. In addition to being an efficient use of resources, the wooden panels also provided an opportunity to get creative with the design in a way that is relevant to the subject matter of the project. Originally the client had the idea to create a map of Canada out of the panels, but in the end we all felt that a concept visually representing 'speed' would be more compelling and more appropriate to capture the essence of track racing.
A key challenge of this project was finding a way to display 37 records in six categories with detailed information about the race, title and athlete for each record. Colour coded and printed directly onto the wooden strips, the records for the most notable events fill the space. A digital screen will be incorporated to display additional records not represented on the physical wood panels. The decision of which category should be presented physically and what should be listed on the digital screen was made by the client.
Another challenge we had was finding an acceptable way of producing and mounting the physical records that would be secure but also changeable. The design of this wall allows for results to be easily updated when existing records are broken with the panels mounted to the wall using French cleats.
We compared the pros and cons in cost for various methods of updating and printing the records, looking at printing directly onto the wood versus applying a printed substrate or using cut vinyl. In the end we agreed to print directly on wood, even though it meant that individual wooden panels would need to be reprinted when a record gets broken. This decision was balanced between budget, time and aesthetic.
The key to resolving these challenges was open dialogue with the client. Through our collaborative approach, the client was involved in every step, which allowed us to work together and avoid any major issues. Designers are sometimes intimidated by projects with a limited budget and tight schedule, but working with clients who understand and share a vision with the designer can lead to the best design solutions, even under significant limitations.
The Canadian Records Wall made its debut to all of the attending public, athletes and media at the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup. On the first day, one of the records on the wall was already broken twice by Canadian athletes!
- Have an honest dialogue with your client about the possibilities and limitations for the project. Try to work out a balance together.
- Be inspired and see beyond the project’s limitations and focus on what the project has to offer.
- For a fast-tracked, design-built project, it is important to work with a fabricator that you can trust, and be willing to experiment.
- Share your vision and inspiration with the design team. Get them inspired.
- Acknowledge the limitations of the project, whether it is time, budget or both. Work as a team to acknowledge and resolve these challenges.
- Have trust in your team.