PALADIN is a help-point access project that my partner Michelle Chung and I were commissioned to work on. Emcom Systems, in Trenton New Jersey, approached us to design a housing unit for their help-point access unit software. A help-point access unit, aka those blue light boxes you see in subways, college campuses, etc., act as a point of help for people in emergency situations, or of whom need information. Together, Michelle and I designed a housing unit that Emcom hopes to bring to market one day.
Starting off our design process, we looked to existing objects for inspiration. As Emcom needed to create a product that set itself apart from its many competitors, we were going to have to make PALADIN revolutionary in aesthetic; we were very inspired by fluid moving lines, curved surfaces, and most notably, pen design. We looked to these inspiring forms as we moved forward into our ideation process.
My first sketches explored ideas without too much consideration to rationality; large voids for a blue glow to emanate, hyper organic surfaces, etc. I wanted to explore as many options as I could before being bogged down by the reality of production.
For our first design review, we present two options: one curvilinear, hyper tapered, help point unit with a stripe void for emanating light, and one more rectilinear unit, with aesthetically divided light and steel sections. We chose to go forward with our more realistic, rectilinear design.
Our next set of designs see a widening of the unit. A large point of discussion in our meetings was, do we make our unit large enough to accommodate our competitors panels, making our product more accessible and open to a larger market, or do we disregard this to make our unit more aesthetically pleasing by being slimmer?
We start to look at creating a new interface for the unit, instead of Emcom's initial plan to stick their existing panel onto whatever we design. Creating a custom panel will make the entire unit more cohesive and pleasing; this is something we all agreed upon. Below are two of our interface options, which use the blue light of the system to illuminate certain parts of the interface.
Above are our final design solutions; one free-standing unit and one floor unit.
Dimensions following ADA requirements.
2016, Madeline Profio + Michelle Chung