Over 3,000 square feet of wall murals combine historic imagery with modern graphics to brand a new mixed-income development.

The Forge on Broadway is a new housing & retail development from SAA|EVI on the East Side of Buffalo. OW|EN worked closely with the developer and the architect to create a full brand package for this new affordable housing complex.

Built on the former site of the Buffalo Forge factory, the plan was to bring the history of this manufacturing facility into the aesthetics of the new development. As the original industrial manufacturer of forges, fans, and air handling equipment, the Buffalo Forge was once the largest employer in the city.


Services Provided:
Project Management, Research & Evaluation, Artifact Acquisition, Design & Development, 3D Rendering, Production Management, Installation Management, Delivery Coordination

Buffalo, New York

SCG Development, SAA|EVI Development


The feature wall mural in The Forge's secondary lobby welcomes you to the building, using bright stripes of color
A wall mural in shades of green leads visitors and tenants to the outdoor green roof at the Forge on Broadway

While researching the history of the manufacturer, we met with several former employees of the Buffalo Forge; these individuals helped us acquire a variety of historic manuals, books, brochures and photos to work with as visual reference for our design concepts. Using diagrams, schematics, photos, hand written notes, and formulas sourced from our research, we developed several concepts for murals and wall graphics that would add a historic quality to the new building. Our main focus was to create a visual language for the new Forge on Broadway, making connections between the old brand materials and the contemporary identity.

The huge two-story feature wall mural in The Forge's main lobby pairs a vintage map of the Buffalo with historical graphics

The OW|EN team developed a full visual branding package for the project, including a logo that retains the spirit of the site’s industrial past, but is also modern enough for this new build. A set of accompanying typefaces and colors, as well as a distinctive graphical style of combining images and technical drawings with large angled swatches of color, round out the brand.

The wall murals in the The Forge Apartments work together with interior signage to create a full wayfinding system
Wall murals in common spaces at the Forge acknowledge it's historical past while staying appealing and contemporary

Throughout this project, OW|EN managed the production, delivery, and installation of all graphics. After several months worth of work digitizing images from our source material, we designed 79 murals – hallway graphics and feature walls – totaling 3,095 square feet of wall graphics. Larger murals are positioned in key spaces; for example, the main lobby celebrates the City of Buffalo with a stylized vintage street map of the area enlarged to approximately 24’H x 20’W, spanning the two-story height of the space.

A mossy green wall mural in The Forge tenant lobby shows machine graphics and notes incorporated from vintage documents

The wall graphics that appear throughout the hallways of the building are both visually appealing and useful, acting as wayfinding tools that makes it easier to navigate throughout the 158-unit complex. We devised a system to correlate the murals with different areas – each of the four floors is assigned one dominant color from the palette, and various types of imagery are used to indicate the five wings of the building. This subtle detail improves the wayfinding experience for residents and visitors, helping them to better find where they need to go.

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