Delmore 'Buddy' Daye Learning Institute

Delmore 'Buddy' Daye Learning Institute


As an Africentric-based institute that focuses on educational excellence, the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute (DBDLI)  assists learners of African ancestry in Nova Scotia, identifying and addressing gaps and equity issues through research, publication and education. In many regards, the DBDLI is the clearing house in Nova Scotia for those with African ancestry, passing along wisdom and shaping scholarship.

This project started with the notion of the DBDLI as the collectors and distributors of knowledge related to African ancestry in Nova Scotia. Ghanaian culture was a focus of our research, in particular Adinkra symbols, which are essential in that culture to express ideas. These symbols, woven into cloth, and stamped on pottery, are rich with proverbial meaning, depicting historical events, human behaviour and attitudes, animal behaviour, plant life, and the shapes of objects. Adinkra cloth uses a combination of symbols for storytelling and passing on knowledge, an apt trope for DBDLI, an organization that acts as elder for its community.

Adinkra printing blocks, often made of carved calabash (a type of gourd) or woodcuts, are inked for use in print, using natural dyes. From architecture to signage, from material to finish, the Adinkra woodcuts, used to print on storytelling cloth, informed our designs. At the large scale, individual offices seem to have been carved from a large block with a blackened exterior and natural wood interior finish. At the small scale, multiple stacked inked blocks make up walls: sometimes adorned sometimes not. Simple black-vinyl linework, evocative of screen printing and handmade cloth, provides safety and privacy screening on glass. Black, natural wood, and white are the basis of the project’s palette, along with hints of red and yellow, referencing its African roots. We also make sparing use of brass, on door identification, lighting and in some desk surfaces.

The environment provides flexible work space: meant to be either open or sectioned off. A movable partition allows a large community space to subdivide into a boardroom and a classroom. The rest of the office combines private and open workspaces. In addition to culturally-appropriate artwork, the office includes a gallery for the display of contemporary artwork from the community.




Branding, Interior Design


Delmore ‘Buddy’ Daye Learning Institute


Halifax, Nova Scotia


2018 - Best of Canada’s Sign Industry (BOCSI): Best in Show
2018 - Best of Canada’s Sign Industry (BOCSI): Premier Award, Sign Systems

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open office-077.jpg
Kitchen 1 - DBDLI - credit Julian Parkinson - 23Jul2018_043-Edit.jpg
Gallery 1 - BDBLI - credit Julian Parkinson - 23Jul2018_123.jpg
Sign 4 - DBDLI - credit Julian Parkinson - 23Jul2018_8919.jpg