Interpretation Signage for Lucknow Prani Udyan

Client: Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environmental Education and Research (content provider)
Location: Lucknow
Work: Zoo environment signage
Project fund: India Canada Environment Facility (ICEF)
Design and development: Cluster One Creative Solutions Pvt Ltd, Pune
Principal designers: Parag Ainchwar and Parag Sen


Project profile
Being an overall project to provide interpretation for zoo environment of Lucknow Prani Udyan through various media, the exhibits developed included interactive games, static displays and environmental signage. Given the history of the place, the project brief predicated the need for a vandal proof design approach. The site study and survey revealed high degree of environmental damage and material corrosion.  

Strategic aim
A critical need for way finding and directional signage was felt. The project aimed to provide environmental education and interpretation for the zoo exhibits. It was imperative to reach out to the people to disseminate information and develop interest in wildlife and habitat issues. It was felt that the approach would encourage responsible behaviour and further the cause of environmental conservation.

In order to achieve the objectives, a family of interpretation exhibits and signage was planned. Given the limited budget available, cost optimisation in material and process became an important part of the entire design and development process. The inviolability of colour and texture reproduction in zoo signage was insisted upon by the environmental research group for reasons of interpretation and educational value.
Design solution
The family of signs developed for the zoo environment included: Information signs, Way finding maps and Interpretation panels. The design thought laid stress on legibility, colour and treatment that would blend with the natural surrounding wherever possible. The non-obtrusive nature of the layout and design provided centrality to the natural and wildlife surroundings. And the material selected were durable, vandal proof to the extent possible, non-corrosive and non-staining.  

Information signs
Large panels for animal exhibits: Materials used were Black Granite. Process used was Laser Engraving and Sand Blasting. Minimal automotive paint was used to provide highlights and colour accents.

Full colour external bird and reptile signs: Material used was Cement Composite back panels, Foam mount and Polycarbonate printing media. Process used was Eco-solvent printer. The media used was not the normal Vinyl or other proprietary material. A thin polycarbonate sheet was back printed and mounted with double sided mounting film. This ensured a scratch resistant surface. It also obviated the use of lamination that normally has a short life span. Original eco-solvent print cartridges were insisted upon to ensure colour stability under open sun over a long duration of time.
Way finding maps
An 8’x10’ way finding map was developed for the entrance plaza to the zoo. Aluminium Composite Panel was used as the base over a Steel Frame. The layout map of the zoo was developed on a CAD platform. Icons and Colour coding were used as cognitive cues. The entire layout was designed in CAD and individual pieces were cut in acrylic on a flatbed router. The process gave low cost and precision cut pieces. All pieces were numbered and coded and later put together in an inlay pattern. The product was highly durable, vandal resistant, washable and cost effective.
Interpretation panels
Sets of 3’x6’ interpretation panels were developed providing highly researched content in full colour for internal and external use. Process and material used were similar to Bird and Reptile signs.


Bus Stop Shelter Design
Client: Dickson Rothschild India Pvt Ltd
Project owner: Punjab Infrastructure Development Board
Locations: Jalandhar and Mohali

Cluster One was associate consultant to Dickson Rothschild India, a new branch office started in India by Dickson Rothschild, Sydney, Australia. Cluster One was involved in the landscape development proposals and design of signage & furniture for the proposed up-gradation and beautification of urban road network and cityscape for the city of Jalandhar and Mohali.
Design thought
Centrality of urban pattern developed by Le Corbusier in the design thought was carried forward in the Urban Furniture Segment of the project. Le Corbusier is best known for his innovations in urban planning and solutions for mass housing. He believed that the stark, unornamented buildings designed would contribute to clean, bright, healthy cities. Chandigarh, one of Le Corbusier’s best works, has inspired many planned cities including Mohali to come up in India.

The greatness and significance of this city remains testimony to the designer’s thoughts and foresight. The modernist ideas found in Le Corbusier’s architecture were also expressed in the designs for simple, streamlined furniture. The design thought adopts the simple utilitarian aesthetics of machined processes for the development of a Family of Urban Furniture.
Design treatment
The proposed Bus Stop Shelters uses a combination of die cast aluminium end-brackets and internal steel frame, along with Stainless Steel Blanks and ACP panels for precision assembly on site. The material proposed were durable, weather proof and vandal resistant. The roofing material proposed were out of ACP and Multi-layered Polycarbonate sheets.

Merchandising panels were in printer friendly formats with weather-proof details. And the advertisement panels were introduced to amortise the cost of manufacturing and maintenance. The information panels were proposed out of letter cut polycarbonate on a flatbed router. Other printed maps and signs were proposed out of Eco-solvent prints on Polycarbonate films.


About Cluster One
Parag Ainchwar and Parag Sen 

Incepted as a design consultancy in 2001 (Ahmedabad) and incorporated as a multi-disciplinary design firm in Pune (2003), Cluster One has a vigorous team of professionals including product designers, landscape architects, etc. The company works in the area of environmentally relevant solutions to real time problems that one is likely to face in any development.

Providing consultancy extensively in articulation of a relevant brief and programme to the level of detailed designs and drawings, Cluster One designs and manufactures consumer and industrial products; builds environments for varied patterns; develops master plans for landscapes at regional scale and open spaces for personal and public use. TCS, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Reliance Industries Limited, Sandvik Asia, Magppie, Dickson Rothschild, Lund Halsey, etc are some national and international companies in the company’s client list.

Led by the founder members Parag Sen and Parag Ainchwar (directors), the creative team of the company comprises Mustaqueem Sayyed, architecture; Kiran Tasgaonkar, Pratik Dhande, interior design; Tapasya Vig, Kiran Tasgaonkar, landscape architects Vishal Chavan, Digvijay Tambat , multimedia designers,and many others.

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