Hat-Trick uses public art in London signage scheme

Hat-Trick Design is creating wayfinding and signage for a housing estate in south London. Graffiti artist Boyd and graphic design group Telegramme are among seven public art collaborators on the scheme.

Housing estate developer Network Housing Group appointed Hat-Trick in February 2009, following a three-way credentials pitch. The estate – Stockwell Park and Robsart Village – covers roughly a 194ha area, according to Hat-Trick. ’

The estate is fairly historic, containing a famous skate park, and the area is quite gritty and urban,’ says Hat-Trick creative director Gareth Howat.

The wayfinding contract is part of the first major refurbishment of the estate since it was built in the 1970s. Network Housing has a public art budget for the project, with which Hat-Trick has commissioned six artists and designers to create graphics to accompany the signage scheme. The 35 resulting patterns are inspired by local history, people and architecture, and are being printed on to decorative tiles (Telegramme’s work pictured).

’We decided against using the graphics to delineate areas, as the public art element should be separate from wayfinding,’ says Howat. Instead, the tiles will be mixed and found across the estates, providing ’a visual identity for the area’.

Hat-Trick has also contributed to the public art element, inspired by the contents of local Stockwell institution The Type Museum.

The consultancy is working closely with masterplanner BPTW Architects and landscape architect Mesh Partnership, and hopes to embed the tile patterns into metal screens, concrete and public seating. ’We have tried to come up with a really individual system,’ says Howat.

Currently in production, the scheme will roll out from next month and over the next three years.

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