“Sant’Orsola”

Branding for the contemporary, community-focused revival of the historical Sant’Orsola complex in Firenze. 

The History

Romano-British Christian Sant’Orsola is regarded as the patroness of young people, especially young girls and the model of teachers. She and 11,000 virgin handmaidens were tragically killed during a Christian pilgrimage upon arrival to Hun-occupied Cologne, Germany for refusing to denounce their faith.

That’s heavy.

But she is still venerated and admired all over the world today.

What the Building Was

The Sant’Orsola complex in Florence was originally a female monastery satellite to the church of San Lorenzo. The structure has evolved in purpose over the years from a monastery, a tobacco factory, a shelter for displaced people after the war and even home to the Guardia di Finanza.

What the Building Will Be

Sant’Orsola is a currently abandoned but is being renewed and reimagined as a place for the community. The finalized project will consist of spaces open to the public inclusive of restaurants, bars, and outdoor courtyards. There will also be space dedicated to cultural exhibition, a museum, and a school of music.

The Design

The logo is is constructed from the jagged silhouette of the Sant’Orsola complex. The three main courtyards form the apostrophe in the Sant’Orsola name and the O is snagged from the circular opening to the underground levels located in the largest courtyard. The O also expresses the communal, open environment intended for the reimagined Sant’Orsola.

There are 5 colors in the palette, all derived from the colors found in historical paintings of Sant’Orsola herself. The color names recognize the Sant’Orsola Complex’s diverse past and speak to it’s progressive future. 

Our Guide

Sant’Orsola’s cheeky guide- Orso is part of the Sant’Orsola name, but more than that “Orso” means bear in Italian which is ironic because he’s really not so scary. Orso is is courageous thorough. He is here to lead you through the Sant’Orsola complex and help you best experience this exciting new space.

Environmental Graphics

The environmental graphics intended for the wayfinding signage within the Sant’Orsola complex mimic the same language used in the logo. The language radiates a spontaneous energy with the erratic angles and forms.