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The Velvet Principle

Brief: Wayfinding strategy and sign design

Sector: Shopping Centre wayfinding

Client: Land Securities

Located in the heart of the city's shopping district, this Chapman Taylor designed shopping centre fits artfully within the existing buildings, offering a near seamless extension to the streetscape.

Using the brand logo as a framework, three different external identification signs were designed to reflect the individual character of the entrances. The sign at the main entrance features a mirror-polished frame, lined with LED lights and filled with silver discs that shimmer and move in response to sunlight and wind - creating a jewel like feel that aligns with the fashion offer. The reflective nature of the materials means that its appearance is in constant flux as it responds to the external environment. Injecting a similar dynamic feel, dichroic film graphics applied to the glass the smaller entrance off Boar Lane, changes colour depending on the viewpoint.

For the third at the crossing point at Albion St, the limited headspace meant that a different approach was needed. Research identified that this entrance was located close to the site of the old Leeds Music Hall, one of the first venues outside of London to use neon. In celebration of this history the brand logo is filled with pink neon, providing a clear connection between the two sides of the centre and the city’s cultural heritage.

The design of the wayfinding totems, prompts and index signs is inspired by the shape of the central spine of the T in the brand logo.  Continuing the dynamic theme, the information is mounted on a clear acrylic infill, enabling visitors to see through the signs to views beyond. The form design was carried through into the frame for the digital advertising screens ensuring a consistent approach throughout the shopping centre.

The development is built into the natural slope of the city so that visitors approaching from the north enter to the first floor rather than ground. To address this multi—level orientation challenge, the signs are colour coded to help visitors understand what level they are on and what is above them and below. The colour selection contrasts strongly with the build materials and all the signs are lined with LED lights to ensure standout and maximise readability for shoppers seeking information.

To anchor the centre within the city, the external streets are referenced within the orientation information and the directory maps have been designed to create continuity between Trinity Leeds and the “Walk It” city-wide wayfinding scheme.