With its long industrial history of coal and steel, the city of Ostrava (in the tri-national border region Czech Republic – Poland – Slovakia) was long referred to as the “black city” or “steel backbone” of the Czech Republic. On the site of the decommissioned Karolina colliery, the 32-ha. surface area of which extends up to the city centre, a new district of residential, office and commercial buildings is rising up, to be completed by 2015. The architectural highlight here is the shopping centre designed by architects OMA (Rem Koolhaas).
A comprehensive concept was developed for the new site, incorporating both the exterior area and the shopping mall. The system comprises information points in the form of portals and pylons with floor plans, floor overviews and service information, as well as informative signposts and destination confirmation signs. At the same time the signage system was augmented to include designs for exterior fixtures such as street lamps, bus stops, benches and litter bins.
Slim, black and rectangular surfaces surrounded by radiant blue edging with an intricate, “steely” cool lettering, define a distinctive appearance.
The interaction between form, materials, light and graphics reflects the fascination between the material and the immaterial that the mining and transformation of coal into steel and electricity evokes.