Single brief for London might mean a lack of soul

I understand that Pentagram partner David Hillman and Holmes Wood director Alex Holmes are extremely well intentioned (News, DW 15 May), however, I would like to raise a few issues.

First, in addition to the excellent South Bank signage illustrated there are other elegant examples of pedestrian signage in London – not least the work of Hillman’s partner John McConnell implemented around Broadgate.

Second, London is a city comprising many individual areas with quite unique and different characters. While I agree that the design of bins, seating, signage, lighting and paving treatment within any one of these areas should be coherent, well designed and implemented, I also think that they should be appropriate within their environment.

Holmes’ view may be entirely relevant for a small city, a single brief for London’s public landscape – ‘one visual language’ – may well result in a sterile and ultimately rather dull solution that works for some areas, but are entirely incongruous within others.

While I’m all for a walking-friendly city, I cannot envision that a single brief, ‘one size fits all’ approach is necessarily the most pertinent way of achieving the quite clearly worthy aspiration of the Central London Partnership.

Ian Whybrow



London SE1

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