f.r.a. boosted its bulging trophy cabinet with an award for efforts on Borough Yards, a new dining, shopping, workplace, and cultural destination in the medieval heart London’s Southwark.
The design studio picked up the winning Gold Transform Award Europe trophy, which recognises excellence in creativity, for best wayfinding and signage in front of hundreds of guests and fellow nominees at The Brewery in the City of London.
The judging panel included senior figures from Channel 4, Twitter, Adidas, Pandora, and Oxford University Press who on f.r.a’s work commented that it was, “wonderful and experiential wayfinding” and “artistically visually arresting.”
f.r.a. directors Wesley Meyer and Jamie Trippier collected the award.
They said: “We are so proud to have been recognised for our work which celebrates design from all over Europe and huge thanks goes to the whole f.r.a. team, our client MARK, and the architects SPPARC.
"It has been a wonderful project to collaborate on and we’ve enjoyed injecting a bit of wit and joy into the fabric of Borough Yards and putting a smile on people’s faces in the process, our intention all along.”
“Our approach to the design was to melt the site back into the fabric of Southwark," Wesly added.
"Each of the five entrances are treated as individual experiences which express the site’s rich history and contemporary lifestyle with an added touch of the neighbourhood’s signature wit and grit."
At the main entrance to Borough Yards, visitors are greeted by a huge 7m x 5.6m work of neon art wrapped across two walls.
This ‘clock’ recounts the diverse characters who historically called Southwark home, from judges and Lords to revellers and pickpockets.
The complex artwork hosts one hundred and thirteen neon words, two hundred and thirteen metres of glass, and two hundred and twenty cables to power the installation.
“It’s a bold and intriguing Instagram moment for visitors," added project director, Jamie.
Wall murals and traditional ghost signs, some at four storeys high, help to blend the new and historic components of Borough Yards.
Several smaller ‘hidden’ designs can be discovered and shared over time including a sign featuring an actual human tooth, one of the project managers’ bikes being put three metres in the air to indicate where to park your bike, a playful interactive bike bell wall and a very obscure ‘The Simpsons’ reference.
The reuse of existing industrial brackets turned into whimsical ‘gargoyles’ have become a big hit with visitors.
"We wanted to help people find their way whilst lending an element of joy to aid their journey. It’s a process we call ‘wanderfinding’,” added Wesley.