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Fritz Klaetke Re-Brands Boston’s Underground

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Visual Dialogue, a Boston-based creative branding agency founded by Fritz Klaetke (BFA 1988), was chosen by National Development to create the brand identity for Underground at Ink Block, an eight-acre urban park under an overpass located between Boston’s South End and South Boston neighborhoods. Underground, which opened in September 2017, offers landscaped pedestrian boardwalks and bike paths to create new connections between communities that had been separated by highway infrastructure. Underground not only connects neighborhoods, but it attracts people to its spaces with a variety of amenities and street art from world-renowned artists like Cey Adams, Hoxxoh, Marka27, and more. Klaetke and Visual Dialogue joined the Underground team after the transformation of this underused space was well underway, and they were tasked with helping garner public attention and support. Inspired by on- and off-ramps, highway signs, and the flow of traffic, they created a 170-foot black and yellow sign at the entrance to the park. Along the pathways beneath the overpass, they painted 22 miles of multicolored lines, and Visual Dialogue’s influence can also be seen on the park’s shipping containers, parking kiosks, and way-finding features.

The park itself was created by Landing Studio, another Boston-based firm, which specializes in architecture, design, and research. Dan and Marie Law Adams, 2002 graduates of the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, founded Landing Studio in 2005. The studio has worked on projects with port facilities and transit infrastructure entities in Boston and New York.

Underground has garnered rave reviews. The Boston Herald called it a new Boston hot spot,” and National Development managing partner Ted Tye hopes it can become one of the city’s hidden gems.”