Designed by dn&co, this project represents an innovative and bespoke signage and wayfinding program for Here East, London’s home for making. Here East is a 1.2 million-square-foot tech and creative industries campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London.
In an environment that reflects contemporary thinking in technology and business models, wayfinding was not only a functional necessity but an opportunity to connect people, build a sense of community and create a memorable experience.The wayfinding was designed to celebrate the disruptive nature of the work that happens at Here East.
The vast size of the campus, with multiple entrances and businesses of very different scales needed a comprehensive program across the site from dn&co. Signs had to be visible at significant distances and display enough information to enable people to make a decision, without overwhelming them.
Externally, the concept of disruption was embodied by the dn&co team through a series of bold large-scale forms: bent monoliths with digital screens that display a sequence of digital maps, signposting and community messages. They are clear signals to help get visitors quickly to where they need to go.
The lit edges, sheer scale and unique profile of the monoliths makes certain that they won’t get lost in the vast landscape of the site. The digital screens also allow Here East to communicate with visitors in a flexible way, adapting to daily changing requirements.
Internally, a custom-made signage system uses the language of technology and electronic circuit diagrams common to Here East’s community of makers, encouraging visitors to make the connection and take their own journey through the building. The internal wayfinding accepts that a visitor may spend a little longer lingering in reception, allowing them a moment to engage and enjoy the environment they are in.
Circuit lines physically lead visitors to where they need to go, while those who choose to can also pick up postcards at reception that reveal the hidden meaning of the symbols. Diodes become directional arrows showing the flow of energy. Reception desks are gatekeepers to the building, or transistors. Lifts become motors and bathrooms are represented by the "flushing" function of capacitors.
The result is a dn&co-designed wayfinding solution that both directs and inspires, embodying the uniqueness of the place and the people within it. The system was launched in October 2016 and successfully rolled out across the campus. The design was well received by tenants and guests, and its innovative nature celebrated by some of the most influential design and architectural publications, including Dezeen and Modus.
"A simple bold highly unified and functional system integrated into the culture of the building's users, this identifies a unique way for new visitors to learn about the various electronic symbols used to navigate the building."
"I applaud the use of electronic circuit language to not only lead through the building but to also teach about various electronic symbols. Its bold single-color simplicity is visually captivating with quirky and sweet moments throughout."
dn&co Design Team: Patrick Eley (creative director), Ed Hawkins (lead designer), Michael Lemmetti (designer), Jenny Whetstone (account director)
Poke Interactive Experience Design: Tom Hostler (founding partner)
Hawkins/Brown (architecture), Alan Stevenson / All Points West