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The Velvet Principle

Brief: Wayfinding & Sign Design

Sector: Commercial Offices

Client: Canary Wharf Developments, Land Securities

Designed by renowned architect Rafael Vinoly, 20 Fenchurch St is one of the latest office towers adding interest to the London Skyline. With access to the main reception from Fenchurch St to the north and Eastcheap to the south; plus a dedicated entrance to the Sky Garden attraction, wayfinding information was needed at street level to help with visitor navigation to and from the building.

When viewed from a distance, the architecture provides its own landmark. However, due to the sheer size of the building, the closer you get, the more its landmark capacity diminishes. So when it came to designing the sign product, The Velvet Principle were keen to maintain a connection between what visitors see from afar and what they encounter in the immediate vicinity.

The outcome is a unique design, with a flat panel at the base gradually transitioning up the length of the totem, to a curve at the top. This concept is carried through into the internal signs, with the level identification and directional prompts similarly evolving from flat to curved along the horizontal or vertical planes. 

The design of the sign forms express  ‘the building as the brand’.  They have an important role in connecting distant views of 20 Fenchurch St, with the relatively unrecognisable perspective when viewed up close. The signs represent the building at a human scale, providing wayfinding cues to visitors as they approach at street level and confirmation that they have arrived.