Glenn Kaino: A Forest for the Trees

Polymode designed exhibition and navigational graphics for A Forest by the Trees, which is an immersive experience that draws the viewer in to reimagine, reconsider, and reflect on our relationship to the natural world designed by multimedia artist Glenn Kaino. 

Our poetic research process referenced ecological and environmental frameworks, Indigenous systems of knowledge, and visual imagery inspired by the interconnectedness of Rhizome maps. Our concept stemmed from reversing the phrase to a holistic understanding of the forest and acknowledging the intricacies of nature and the details within that ecology; someone who can truly see: “A Forest for the Trees”. We activated the space by using Compagnie I, which is an expressive, tall, and condensed typeface that references the trees that tower us in the forest. The typeface is legible and remains expressive across different scales. The type was designed by Pyte Foundry, where they translate the notion of defamiliarization into type design. In a sense, the viewers are entering a space that they might be unfamiliar with and coming out with a new perspective and respect towards the natural world. 


Floods of gradients that visually speak to the unearthing of human connection to nature were used for navigating the space; creating a cohesive visual language that the viewers can identify. In the case of the title wall, a white background was used to ensure accessibility and legibility in a dark, warm toned space.