paperpathfinder1

For millennia, the two-dimensional map has served its purpose; guiding navigators, explorers, travelers, and tourists to their destinations. But try as they might, two-dimensional maps do little in the way of helping people visualize the placement of locations in a three-dimensional spaces. Buildings with various floors become inherently trickier to navigate, as the tw0-dimensional map does not account for layers of elevation. This is a problem museum goers often run into, finding themselves scratching their heads at the direction provided by two-dimensional maps as they try to navigate the cavernous rooms of many major museums.

Looking to resolve this problem, and possibly redefining the map along the way, Marjin van Oosten, a Dutch graphic designer based in New York, created the Paper Pathfinder for the Rijks Museum, a particularly maze-like Netherlands museum featuring over 100 rooms housing more than 8, 000 paintings and art pieces. The map uses the concepts behind paper crafts, and pops up from compact 2D form into a miniature 3D paper model of the museum, making it easier to visualize how to get to where one needs to go.

The Paper Pathfinder has just won a Dutch Design Award at Dutch Design Week earlier this month, and we can see its applications extending well beyond museums. College campuses, tourist attractions such as Disney World and Universal Studio, airports, shopping malls and other buildings and touristic attractions could easily benefit from the Paper Path Finder, which can be folded up and stored in a pocket when not in use. It also makes for a unique keepsake from a memorable trip. The designer and her group are clearly aware of the potential and are in the process of finalizing a patent for their product. However, Van Oosen and her team still offer design and production services for any other organization that may be interested in using it. For now, Van Oosten has expressed her interest towards creating a Paper Pathfinder for the notoriously sprawling Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The design has been a long time in the works, as Van Oosten came up with the concept for while still in her third year of her graphic design bachelor’s degree nine years ago, at age 19. Tasked by her professors to create a pathfinding system for a new building, Van Oosten explains that her creation was largely guided by her desire to create, “…something that you can hold in your hands, ” she says in an email to FastCo Design.

You can find additional pictures and information on the Paper Path Finder on FastCo, and on the designer’s website, where interested parties can also learn more about the artist, who in the past has worked her hand at product design, user interface design, corporate identities and portrait photography, and has recently launched a re-vamped website and new identity of her own, found at www.mvoand.com. Interested parties can even reach out to the designer and discuss the commission of a Paper Path Finder for your own location or project.

paperpathfinder2

paperpathfinder3

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Category: Architecture