MIZA Innovation Hub | Design Research and Branding
HMW design a sustainable system that will make MINA the creative talent magnet of Abu Dhabi, through fertile interactions and a diversified business model?
Mina Zayed (MIZA) sits at the top of Abu Dhabi as a beacon of opportunity for the Gulf region. It is an economic center point, catalyzing connection, exchange and exploration. The port itself is a gateway for local and global minds to come together to live, play, learn and grow. It’s a living organism made of ideas and dreamers.
The Innovation Hub will be one of the primary components of MIZA, as a space that brings in a diverse mix of people and organizations. From solopreneurs to start-ups, enterprises to corporate and government entities; it will be a hub of connection and collaboration that imagines and realizes stories of the future.
In the MIZA innovation hub project, we worked as a group of 4. This involves a design strategist, local design researcher, visual communication designer, and project manager. Besides delivering a comprehensive business design strategy document and a draft architectural design brief, we also crafted brand strategy, ideated on brand names and logotypes.
As a visual communication designer of the project; I took part in all phases (from design research to design strategy) and created all visual assets but the most important part of role was to develop two branding approaches for MIZA Innovation Hub: APM and CO.
‘It’s a perfect mess, perfected every day.’
APM is short for a perfect mess, the essence of any creative process. It’s our code word for what we want to achieve in the Hub - the freedom to experiment.
APM is free for everyone to interpret in their own way: A Place and More for some,
A Purposeful Mission for others.
It’s a mysterious and unique abbreviation open to play.
The concept of our design system comes from the polarity between “perfect” and “messy”—that is essential for the creative process.
This concept is translated into “structured un-grid” where each item is thoughtfully placed even though it seems random—that also gives a sense of change. While the grid implies structure and perfectionism, breaking it into seemingly arbitrary shapes and placing graphic elements accordingly gives us a sense of careful messiness.
As APM has endless expansions, this system is open to new formations with each use.
‘For us, the thrill is in the journey, taken together.’
Co- is a morpheme, the smallest meaningful unit in language. It is used to transform words into ones that mean ‘together, in association with’.
By itself, the word means little, but it comes to life when joined by other words.
Co- is a starting point, an intention.
Just as the Hub itself: a base for new sounds, a space for endless possibilities.
Just as co- is the linguistic base, the existing warehouse site is the spatial base that will come to life and produce new meanings with each addition. We drew inspiration from the space; now a container, soon to be a connector.
The existing architecture, unique to its surrounding urban fabric, has details that will function to cherish the legacy while signifying the contemporary use of the buildings. In a way, these details will carry the building’s past as a container of goods, to its present as a connector of people and their ideas.
Co symbolizes the Cobalt element on the periodic table.
While in it's natural, raw state it's a somewhat burnished silver color, it is famously known for producing vibrant blues in pigments.