The Discovery Garden – Te Kaapuia o Te Waoku

The Discovery Garden is an amazing living classroom where curious minds can explore and learn about the natural world.


The task was to enhance the spatial design developed by Isthmus by creating an interactive experience with environmental graphics and wayfinding, to bring the garden to life for visitors.

Open Lab brought together a passionate multi-disciplinary team of experienced and user-centred designers. We fused the expertise of an illustrator, a spatial designer and visual communication designers, and drew on academic expertise.


The Garden’s focus was on the importance of plants for food, fibre, medicine and construction. These four essential learning zones inspired a suite of garden characters and a bold colour system used for wayfinding and space definition. 

The four characters played an integral role in connecting with the young creative minds, encouraging them to explore and identify each of the garden’s themes. Super-sized garden pegs featuring each character welcomed visitors to the garden. Using peek holes and a maze-like configuration, these signs created an interactive space and reinforced the colour system. Other gamification signage was added to the food, fibre, medicine, and construction spaces. These systems helped visitors understand different plant values and their importance in the natural world while encouraging them to make their own discoveries.