The Garlands is a beautiful Arts & Crafts Movement-inspired retirement community in Chicago's northwest suburb of Barrington, Illinois. It was meticulously designed for adults who are at or nearing retirement age and who are looking for a well-appointed, upscale lifestyle.

Forcade was commissioned to create a complete signage and wayfinding system for every element of this continuing care retirement community development (CCRC), over multiple years and phases of the project. In total, we created 3,100 signs covering 1.9 million square feet of villas, condominiums, restaurants, landscaping, underground parking and more.

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Accentuating the artisan

The attractive Arts & Crafts architecture of The Garlands was the inspiration for our design aesthetic. We created an artisan-based motif for all signage and wayfinding, elevating the experience for residents, visitors and employees across all 32 acres of the property. Bronze, brass, porcelain enamel and cherry wood were used extensively. The custom, hand-crafted look of each sign was simple, yet highly refined.

Interior and exterior signs were gorgeously framed in stained wood. Resident room numbers were elegantly lit from prairie-style lanterns above. Fabric banners hung on bronze rails complemented the warmth of wood-framed hallways. Bronze letters intricately inlaid in tile turned signage into art in the pool area. Our well-appointed design system ensured no detail was overlooked anywhere on the property.

We even celebrated the actual artisans from the Arts & Crafts era. From Louis Sullivan to Frank Lloyd Wright to Gustav Stickley, these beloved and familiar greats showed up throughout the property as landmarking elements in the signage and wayfinding system.

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Function Came First

True to the Arts & Crafts Movement, the function of our design system was just as important as its form. As a CCRC, residents of The Garlands represent an aging population with various health needs. Therefore, the fundamentals of healthcare design had to be built into our system. This included everything from careful attention to typography size to clear and deliberate wayfinding for emergency responders. The result was a distinctly beautiful approach to the unique requirements of both healthcare signage and healthcare wayfinding.

“Forcade’s innovation and organization allow each and every team member and countless seniors at The Garlands to navigate their way through our community by following impeccable signage to our neighborhoods. Additionally, the coordinated wayfinding with the Village’s emergency responders makes this community among the safest.” –  Ed Gansz, Barrington Venture LLC

The perfect balance

The Arts & Crafts Movement sought to find balance in design. Forcade sought the same result at The Garlands. Our signage and wayfinding system was created in perfect harmony with its surrounding environment and architecture and the needs of its residents.

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