The Jacksonville International Airport’s Concourse C is often filled with travelers hustling to and from their scheduled flights. Amidst the foot traffic stand a pair of bathrooms, but the unique artwork they display is often overlooked.
What passersby don’t realize is these bathrooms showcase an inclusive set of pictographs: each tile represents the many shapes and forms of the restrooms’ users. But these tiles haven’t always been there.
JIA decided to commission this inclusive art project in 2008. It awarded the opportunity to Atlanta artist Gregor Turk, who specializes in sculpture, public art installations, photography and works on paper. His proposed design for the space included a series of 1-foot tiles featuring 68 unique pictograms.
“The public was introduced to the now ubiquitous pictograms of men and women in 1974 as a means of efficient standardized restroom signage. For years I have made wax-oil rubbings or taken photographs of these pictograms,” Turk said. “Even the most standard pictograms vary in their width, cut of the arms, broadness of the shoulders, and distance or connectivity of the head to the body.”
Turk began to document the wide range of gendered figures during his travels, and concluded that, at facilities that employ a greater sense of design, highly stylized pictograms tend to reflect a much greater range of body types, shapes, proportions and activities
“When the images of the respective figures are shown collectively, their typological differences become apparent, even amusing,” Turk said. “The pictograms I used as a source for [the JIA] installation came from Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Israel, Lebanon, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Syria and the United States.”
So when the airport submitted a call request for proposals, Turk … More