Felicidad Pública’s rebrand for Site Santa Fe connects to its cultural and environmental roots

The Chile and Spain-based creative agency incorporates the museum’s 30-year history into a dynamic identity.

29 February 2024

When the creative agency Felicidad Pública were invited to conduct a paid rebrand pitch for New Mexico’s very own contemporary museum Site Santa Fe, the team felt an immediate connection. Mostly due to the pair’s shared ethos of taking on community and culture projects, Felicidad Pública felt that the project would be an extension of its mission “to contribute to projects that help to generate more empathetic and tolerant spaces,” Simón Sepúlveda, design director of the agency tells us.

Felicidad Pública launched in Santiago, Chile a few years ago, and has since grown its clientele and projects across the US and Europe, leading to a second studio opening in Spain. The team often applies its understanding of the societal boundaries placed on marginalised people to its design choices, which is particularly evident in its visual overhaul for Site Santa Fe.

When beginning the project, Felicidad Pública first considered Site Sante Fe’s history as an avant-garde biennial, which was founded in 1995. “After a time they transformed this energy into a cultural space,” Simón tells us. But what most alarmed the team was that its design system and narrative had been lost along the way. “It was a bit of a mess to understand what was going on in the space.” Felicidad Pública took a collaborative approach, working with Site Santa Fe through interviews, workshops and visits, all in attempt to identify the needs of the team and community. “We found out what was useful and and also what didn’t fit for them, even if some of the designs would have been good for our portfolio or ego,” Simón says.


Felicidad Pública: Site Santa Fe (Copyright © Felicidad Pública, 2024)

Throughout the identity a system of three blocks allude to the building blocks of Site Santa Fe, with Felicidad Pública’s believing its greatest attribute is “its ability to change while maintaining its root mission to be a space that welcomes visitors with kindness and tolerance.”

Its earth-toned palette comes from Sante Fe’s local environment. “Being that New Mexico is marked and enveloped by its mountains, we wanted to capture it and connect the space with the territory and community,” says Simón. “The system can be super flashy and strong and also can almost disappear, with this we wanted to veer away from trendy design, and instead create a project that can last and be useful for them.” Also considering the user experience, the team wanted to create something “diverse and complex” as well as “friendly and welcoming” for locals, while being “cool enough for the art community.”

But that’s not where the project ends – the team is constantly updating the system and widening its use. Felicidad Pública is currently working on a new website, incorporating a digital archive of all the data and previous activities throughout the space across its 29 years, while implementing signage and physical updates across the space. Social media is being used as a “laboratory of experimentation” where Felicidad Pública endeavour to find new ways of sending out a clear message about Site Santa Fe’s new era, where all are welcome.

Felicidad Pública hopes that the new identity reflects the power of contemporary art to offer a beam of hope during troubling times, while bolstering the need for us to “think collectively about how we want to live as a society over the next few years.” Simón says: “Ultimately, we hope that the rebrand and process connects with the spirit of Site in a simple and gentle way.”

GalleryFelicidad Pública: Site Santa Fe (Copyright © Felicidad Pública, 2024)

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Felicidad Pública: Site Santa Fe (Copyright © Felicidad Pública, 2024)

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About the Author

Yaya Azariah Clarke

Yaya (they/them) joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in June 2023 and became a staff writer in November of the same year. With a particular interest in Black visual culture, they have previously written for publications such as WePresent, alongside work as a researcher and facilitator for Barbican and Dulwich Picture Gallery.

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