Excel London has appointed Holmes Wood to overhaul the wayfinding strategy for its 40ha site, ahead of the venue’s upcoming role as the secondbiggest Olympic venue in 2012.
Holmes Wood won the project two weeks ago after a four-way credentials pitch. Its first task is to create signage, wayfinding and information graphics for a new extension to the exhibition centre, designed by architect Nicholas Grimshaw (concept pictured), which opens in May.
The consultancy will then look at wayfinding on the rest of Excel’s east London site, which comprises residential housing, five hotels, bars, restaurants and shops as well as the exhibition centre.
Holmes Wood director Alex Wood claims that the new wayfinding will look ‘very different’ to the current system. ‘The problem with the current system is that there is no differentiation between vehicle and pedestrian signage,’ says Excel London head of marketing and communications Gemma Parkhouse, who is helping to oversee the project.
She adds that the site’s ‘evolving ten-year vision’ requires a ‘flexible system with longevity’.
‘The graphics will have to respect our brand and the long history of the site, and must serve the different types of people that pass through, including the public,’ she says.
Holmes Wood will incorporate the Excel London branding, designed by Imagination in 2005, into the graphics, but is likely to ditch the current blue colour scheme.
‘The new extension to the centre has a red-and-yellow colour scheme, so the new signage will have to be more neutral,’ says Parkhouse. Wood suggests that the number of signs on site may be reduced, although the kit of parts will still comprise ‘many hundreds’ of items.
During the Olympics, the venue will host seven events, including boxing, judo, wrestling, Tae Kwon Do and weightlifting. ‘We will take the Olympics into account when designing, but the games organisers will dress the venue for the events,’ says Wood.
EXCEL LONDON WAYFINDING TIMETABLE
Mid-August – Excel London appoints Holmes Wood
End of September – Holmes Wood to present masterplan
May 2010 – Excel London centre extension opens, complete with new wayfinding system
2012 – Wayfinding strategy for Excel London’s 40ha site to be completed