Borough Yards is a new destination for dining, shopping, and culture in the heart of London’s Southwark. Adjacent to the vibrant, world-famous food destination of Borough Market, this well-established neighbourhood boasts everything from ancient cathedrals (Shakespeare’s brother is buried here) to ultra-modern skyscrapers such as the Shard. The mixed-use development blends soaring railway arches, public squares, and secluded shopping streets. Annually, up to 16 million well-heeled locals and diverse travellers will cross the site to encounter the likes of Everyman Cinema, Paul Smith, Barrafina, The Office Group and a growing list of trendy and influential brands.
Our studio was appointed to design and deliver the wayfinding for Borough Yards. Our initial brief was to simply provide wayfinding for the development. Working in close collaboration with the client’s design team and architect, it was quickly realised that any conventional approach to wayfinding wasn’t going to be good enough. The objective shifted to focus on blurring the lines of wayfinding, placemaking and art. The goal was beyond straight forward navigation; we began to uncover a sense of meaning, emotion and joy.
Our vision to the design was to melt the site back into the fabric of Southwark and express the sites rich history and contemporary lifestyle, with an added touch of the neighbourhood’s signature wit and grit.
Design + Execution
When designing the scheme, we didn’t just consider the wayfinding for first time visitors. Borough Yards is a place where people visit regularly, it’s a place of work, a regular meeting haunt …and these people will typically stop using the signs. They are not lost. They are in need of inspiration… We blurred the lines between wayfinding, storytelling, and art. It’s a process we came to call ‘wanderfinding’ throughout the project.
Wesley Meyer (creative director)
Jamie Trippier (project director)
SPPARC Architecture (architecture)
Burns + Nice (landscape architecture)
Gods Own Junkyard, Goodwin & Goodwin (fabrication)
Queensberry (development managers)
Phillip Cowell (writer)