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

Principal

Endpoint

London SE1

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