Case Studies : Duke on 42nd Street. : New York : July 27, 2011

After one missed appointment via jetlag, we made it to the New 42nd Street Studios amidst the hustle and bustle of the theatre district. It’s immaculate neon facade, impressive in the photos, was decidedly understated compared to it’s neighbours. This being a positive. It’s restraint makes it different in a ubiquitous neon playground. The building houses 10 floors of rehearsal space for various performing-arts groups, along with the Duke Theater. The internal spaces are logical, repetitive and basic. The graphics are loud, clear and whimsical. Each floor is slightly different. Our guide, Alma, talked about the complexity of the wayfinding being in part a guise to keep the privacy of the building and the studios and the rehearsals for top-secret performances. The graphics are inspired by De Stijl and the tape marks put down on stages to indicate performers’ positioning. There are some problems with the upkeep of the signage and repainting of the walls and replacing of the floor which haven’t been resolved in terms of long term upkeep. New signage that was created in the building has faded must faster than the originals.

Click on any of the thumbnails below to view the images full size.
New and other 42nd Street.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. One of a new set of signage of a notably different graphic style.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. A long term strategy for painting around the letters has not been found.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. The way it was.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. The way it was.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. Changeable signs - not so attractive.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. We question what it means to be
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. Directional Signage - new work that doesn't quite fit in with the old. The new printing techniques have proven to be short term solutions only.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. The Offices - showing much less character than the common areas.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. The original perspective for the external neon.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. Close up of the floor lino.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. Failing changeable signage.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. Again - printing levels on the tactile signage is chipping.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. The level directory board is intentionally chaotic.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios. A project that has just been too difficult to finish so they have remained like this for some years.
Duke on 42nd Street Studios.