Port Everglades is embracing the wild side

Inspired by Florida’s natural beauty, the port has commissioned various artists to improve wayfinding and create an inviting atmosphere for visiting cruise guests

Port Everglades is embracing the wild side
Artist David Dahlquist transformed an imposing grey cement security checkpoint into a welcoming Florida Everglades-style entryway

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Spring/Summer 2019 issue of International Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.

Port Everglades in the US is using its industrial landscape as a public art palette for artists to create visually stimulating works that engage cruise guests, while serving a functional purpose, such as helping them to navigate through the port. To honour its namesake and provide a sense of place, new art at Port Everglades reflects Florida’s wild side.

“Port Everglades is one of the best kept secrets because people outside the maritime industry have no idea where we are located – most think we are in the Florida Everglades National Park, which is about 20 miles inland. We even get calls for airboat rides,” said Steven Cernak, chief executive and port director at Port Everglades. “Since Port Everglades and the Florida Everglades are both in Broward County, Florida, we decided to embrace the natural beauty that makes our location unique.”

The world’s third largest cruise port, Port Everglades is also one of the leading container ports in the US and a petroleum hub for all of southern Florida. This mixed use makes the port popular for economic development, but it can make it challenging for cruise guests to navigate the unfamiliar industrial terrain.

Port officials are working with the Broward County Cultural Division to commission various artists and designers who are capitalising on the port’s assets to create a more inviting atmosphere for the nearly four million cruise guests who travel from across the globe to enjoy cruises to the Caribbean, Latin America and Transatlantic each year.

On the horizon for next year’s winter cruise season is an innovative approach to helping drivers find their way through the 2,100 acres of port property. Directional signage with images of heron, fish and palm trees will be used to create an intuitive and colourful visual map for port visitors to find cruise terminals and parking garages. 

Port officials have also hired consultants to complete a traffic study as part of the port’s 20-Year Master/Vision Plan, which is updated every two to four years to stay current with industry and market trends. The study will gather traffic data and make recommendations for roadway improvements.

“The port’s new wayfinding system is light on words and heavy on artistic graphics, bold colours and native icons,” said Peg Buchan, assistant port director, who is also Port Everglades’ liaison for art. “Neuroscientists have found that the human brain can process images for as briefly as just over 10 seconds, and visual cues are easier to process, understand and retain. Given the high percentage of first-time visitors and those who may not read/speak English, the concept of effective visual cues was central to our wayfinding plan. In the high-stress environment of travel, our goal was to create an artistically operative signage package to ensure a sense of wellbeing, safety and security for all of our visitors.”

In addition, the port is improving its outdoor aesthetics with art installations at the security entrances and within several highly visible medians and roadside locations.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Thursday, May 9, 2019