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Maritime Innovation with OpenBridge

The design system OpenBridge provides access to innovative solutions for the maritime sector. Halogen contributes with both design and systems understanding.

In 2020, SEAM (formerly Westcon Power and Automation, WPA) contacted Halogen to get help with redesigning the system that gives digital control over the processes and alarms within the machine room in a ship.

“With the development of new solutions, we want to focus on the user. Design is not only about things looking good, but also that the systems should be simple, safe, and good in use. This also applies to the development of our new automation system called the Integrated Automation System (IAS),” says Torgeir Rasmussen, R&D Manager for Automation at SEAM.

SEAM also wanted this new solution to be developed using existing components from the design system OpenBridge.

OpenBridge is an openly accessible guide to good design for the maritime industry and includes both icons and design principles. Its content is constantly evolving, but until recently the need to design an IAS was not covered by OpenBridge.

Designers at Halogen accepted the challenge from SEAM head-on and contributed to developing an interface for IAS that has now become a part of OpenBridge.

“The OpenBridge Project is revolutionising and ambitious, and it is really cool that I, as a designer, can take part in influencing the content and the result.”

Davide Maragliano.
Designer, Halogen

Useful for the entire sector

First, the project team worked closely with users, developers, and operators. They mapped out and decided what buttons, actions, and alarms would look like and how they would be experienced and used in the machine room.

After six months, the solution for IAS is ready to be implemented at SEAM. At the same time, the results have become part of the openly available design system OpenBridge.

“We believe it is important to collaborate with competitors on basic solutions, so that the automation industry as a whole can give customers a more comprehensive user experience,” says Rasmussen of SEAM.

The result is that the latest version of OpenBridge includes design elements for IAS, designed by Halogen for SEAM, and available to the entire sector.

“Halogen has contributed with its experiences and recommendations from the close cooperation with the industry. In this way, the design solutions will benefit other companies within the industry, and the expertise contributes to raising the quality and safety of new technology for the entire maritime sector,” says Maragliano.

Example of designs from OpenBridge.

Critical competence

The OpenBridge design and research project is led by Professor Kjetil Nordby from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. The consortium has 27 national and international partners, including several key players in the maritime industry.

OpenBridge will develop solutions at the intersection of design expertise and systems understanding, a combination that Nordby believes to be a gamechanger for the entire industry.

“Because Halogen has expertise in both areas, they are an ideal partner for the research community and for OpenBridge,” he explains.

Nordby has greatly appreciated receiving direct feedback and input on OpenBridge based on how the system works in practice.

"Halogen is one of the most experienced and competent design agencies in safety-critical systems in Scandinavia. It is critical to have their expertise available in the research project."

Kjetil Nordby
Professor AHO, leader for OpenBridge

The researcher also believes that this collaboration shows the potential for design researchers and designers to work closely together, not only to create good products, but also to contribute to continuing the Norwegian maritime innovation model.

“We have shaped a direct link between long-term research and rapid innovation in the industry through the use of modern tools and methods. I believe this can be very important for OpenBridge, and that it will also be positive for other industrial areas and for the public sector in Norway,” he concludes.

For more information, please contact

Leif Verdu-Isachsen
Head of Design and Deliverables

+47 90 91 99 21