New route in the old city

Developing the City of London’s Culture Mile.

We were thrilled to have made the shortlist of the City of London Corporation’s design competition to create a temporary wayfinding installation in the City’s Culture Mile.

Open to architects, artists and designers the competition sought conceptual proposals for an innovative public-realm intervention intended to boost walkability along the Culture Mile’s North-South route connecting the Millennium Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Museum of London and the Barbican Centre.

Culture Mile is as much about place as it is about culture. The North-South axis from the Barbican Centre to the Millennium Bridge is an important route, but one which many still find hard to reach and difficult to navigate in the day and certainly at night.

We developed a series of distinctive and recognisable beacons to mark the route. We took our inspiration from the brutalist architecture of the Barbican. Our concept was brutalist forms characterised by their monolithic and geometric appearance. Two key shapes and a singular colour were adopted to underpin the visual thread. Suspended stage-like down lighting gave theatrical after dark illumination. The installations would be unmissable by day or night.

Simon Duckworth, deputy chair of the City Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee, said: ‘There was a strong field of entries and this competition will help us realise our ambition to create an unrivalled visitor experience and a welcoming environment for everyone to enjoy this cultural and learning destination.’

It was an exciting brief and we very much enjoyed developing our approach to solving the problem of route legibility as well as celebrating and achieving cohesiveness in this part of the City of London.