Mind Design’s driftwood signage

Mind Design has created signage for the Metropolitan Wharf building in London, using driftwood collected from the River Thames.

The tenants board

Metropolitan Wharf is a Victorian warehouse built on the banks of the Thames in Wapping. Owned by developer UK Real Estate it now houses a mix of retail, restaurant and office space, as well as a gallery.

Metropolitan Wharf frontage

Source: Steve Cadman

Mind Design was tasked to create signage for the system, as well as a customised typeface.

The tenants board

Working with recent graduate Neal Fletcher, Mind developed a typeface based on the historic lettering on the outside of the new building.

Metropolitan Wharf typeface

The font has two versions – one for sandblasting and one for printing.

Metropolitan Wharf typeface

Mind then applied this typeface to driftwood, to create the building’s tenants board.

The tenants board

The consultancy says, ‘Although it now looks quite easy, the project was technically quite challenging.’

Collecting driftwood

Mind first had to collect driftwood of the right size and dimensions, then clean it, dry it and write on it using sandblasting, with some of the letters enhanced with wood dye.

Drying driftwood

The individual pieces of driftwood are fitted with studs and clamped on to copper rails, which means they can be moved or removed.

Applying the typeface

Mind says about half of the Metropolitan Wharf units are still unoccupied, so new signs will be added as tenants move in.

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