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Nestled in the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo mountains of New Mexico, the Santa Fe Opera presents the opportunity for wayfinding signage and placemaking at its best. It is a perfect blend of nature and art, with striking views from the open-air theater that leave an indelible impression on members, spectators, and performers alike. A cultural destination at heart, the Santa Fe Opera begs a design that not only integrates the architecture and landscape, but fosters and enriches the opera experience.
After a multi-year renovation, funded by contributions, Two Twelve updated the Santa Fe Opera’s donor recognition signage system. The goal was to overhaul the donor strategy and design and install all-new signage that would recognize the generous benefactors of the Opera, capture the Opera’s natural environment, all while creating a strong, yet subtle sense of place. Two Twelve’s design focused on using these donor recognition opportunities to create an experience that connects people to place – a natural extension of the donors that are inextricably linked to the Santa Fe Opera.
New Mexico with its harsh climate of sandstorms and harsh UV rays presented pragmatic maintenance needs. The Opera’s open layout set against this natural environment became a wellspring to creating a solution that is materially sensitive and natural. Two Twelve worked closely with the Opera and Design Communications, Ltd. to identify materials and finishes that would withstand weathering without compromising design.
Drawing on the functional needs of the environment, responding to the scale and intimacy of the architecture, and inspired by the Opera’s mission and artistic forms, the character of Two Twelve’s design is an extension of the singular passion and commitment of a community united by their appreciation for the Opera. The signage program provides personal moments to the dramatic physicality of the theater for people to interact with. Further, this placemaking communicates the value of the Santa Fe Opera through each functional donor space and furniture element, and the meaning that the Opera holds for each of its respective donors – and collectively as a community.