Light at the End of the Tunnel: Transit Wayfinding in Underground Spaces

Mr Anthony Ferri1

1Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany


How does colour and lighting affect navigational experience in underground spaces? The act of navigating is ingrained in daily life, and the more one performs that act, the more automatic the act becomes (Montello, 2005). Individuals who travel the same public transit routes daily, tend to perform these tasks “without thinking” of their navigational choices. When a disturbance occurs in their routines, navigational decisions have to be made. These are typically based off of previous experience, comfort levels, and how the surrounding environment is perceived. Indoor and underground transit environments can be unclear and feel chaotic, leading to high levels of disorientation. Here, users rely heavily on lighting, colours, and wayfinding devices in order to help orient themselves in this, often confusing, setting. A Destination-Task Investigation (DTI) used in this study, helps to explore a user’s experience while navigating through indoor and underground transit spaces, how environmental characteristics (such as colour, lighting, and physical design) elicit certain emotional responses in navigational decisions, and how perception to certain navigational challenges impacts route and mode choice. The DTI involves recording first-hand experience from participants as they navigate through unfamiliar transit environments followed by an interview focusing on the participant’s decision-making process.


Anthony Ferri, holds a Masters degree in Urban Development and Design from the University of New South Wales and a Masters of Science from the Technical Univeristy of Munich. He is currently a PhD candidate with the mobil.LAB at the Technical University of Munich in Germany. His research focuses on wayfinding and mobilities. His e-mail address is:

AIRPORT COLOUR Re-imagining airport space through the application and manipulation of colour, via physical and digital surfaces

Mrs Clare Booker1

1Royal Holloway, London, UK


How are airports defined and shaped by colour? How can colour affect our perception of the space? Through a series of art projects, I attempt to respond to these questions, and present a series of re-imaginings of the space through paintings and digital images. I respond to existing images of the airport which are presented through architectural visualisations and airport websites. Through painterly experiments with colour I aim to reinstate the intensity and heat of the actual experience of being in an airport.  The painted surface allows the space to be transformed into a richer, more embodied image, with atmosphere and feeling.   Representing these spaces through digital rendering is in fact, an unachievable hyper-reality (Bridle, 2013), whereas the colour and texture of the painted surface can be more successful in achieving the intangible sense of tension, atmosphere and ‘feeling’ of being in an actual space, and in this case, an actual airport.


Current PhD student, Royal Holloway.

Practice Based.  Human Geography.

BA (Hons) Fine Art. (Manchester Metropolitan University)

MA Creative Technology (University of Salford)

Lecturer in Digital & Graphic Design (Craven College, Leeds)

Alert but not alarmed: Colour coding the in/securities of airport mobilities

Dr Kaya Barry1, Ms Diti Bhattacharya1

1Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia


Wayfaring designs organise movement through transit spaces using representational cues embedded in the architecture, lighting, colour, and signage. This is exemplified in airports where colour coding is universalised though stringent OH&S regulations that dictate how and where travelling publics can and should move. ‘Right’ and ‘wrong’ mobilities are communicated through reds, greens, and fluorescent oranges, priming individuals to be alert of their position and movements at all times. Compounding this are the restrictions for certain bodies and nationalities who attract closer scrutiny, where heavy surveillance and increased securitisation that accentuate the representations of global mobilities. Drawing on experiences of passing through borders in Auckland and Copenhagen airports, the paper analyses how colour extenuates and heightens alertness, vigilance, and compliance with expected mobility behaviours. We propose that colour coding standards curate atmospheres of in/securities and performances of mobile identities, further universalising the ‘travelling public’.


Kaya Barry is an artist-geographer and current Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Griffith University, Brisbane. Research interests include mobilities, migration, creative arts, air travel, aesthetics, materiality, and tourist practices.

Into the blue // Oceans I have known

Dr Rebecca Olive1

1The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia


‘Bluespace’ and ‘greenspace’ are terms used to refer to nature, wilderness and outdoors spaces. The emphasis on colour evokes the more-than-human elements that make up these spaces – water, trees and other plants. In the case of ‘bluespace’, it is used to talk about nature-based water spaces – oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, canals, ponds – yet the focus on blue does not connect with many experiences of bodies of water. Not only hues of turquoise, navy and cobalt, oceans too are various shades of green, grey, silver, black, white and brown. They glow and sparkle with light, are dotted by the brightness of debris and bodies, and by the smudges and smears of pollution.

In this presentation, I will follow on from critiques of the descriptive focus on one colour, which makes invisible the diverse and dynamic nature of, in this case, oceans. Drawing on experience and memories to rethink oceans I have known, through what the colours told me.


Rebecca Olive is a researcher in the School of Human Movement & Nutrition Sciences at The University of Queensland. Her current work explores how participation in ‘nature sports’ such as surfing and ocean swimming leads to ecological sensibilities and ethics. Stemming from her work about women as recreational surfers, this work builds on feminist approaches to recreational lifestyle sport cultures and ethics and was recently funded as a DECRA. She is co-editor of the book, ‘Women in Action Sport Cultures’ (2016).

Considering a Geography of Colour

Dr Tim Edensor1

1Melbourne University


This paper will introduce the session by sketching out what geographers might focus on in considering how we can account for the vital role of colour in space, place and landscape. I suggest that we first need to explore the values, aesthetics and symbolic meanings that are mobilised around colour in different, highly situated cultural contexts, and how this shapes both the remaking and reading of the material world. Secondly, I focus on how colour is invariably more than representational, stimulating affective, emotional and sensory responses that are often beneath conscious apprehension. In considering these themes, I subsequently look at how power is manifest through colour and examine how a more consciously applied politics of colour might contribute to a redistribution of the sensory across space.


Principal Research Fellow, Geography, Melbourne University,

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