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Projectile Motion: Hat-Trick Design’s Stockwell Project Bring Local Art to Wayfinding

The Stockwell Park Estate in Lambeth, South London, boasts a colorful cultural history. Once part of a Roman trade route out of the city, the eclectic community has been reinvigorated over the years with immigrants from the Caribbean and Portugal.
Bird Box tile near the pond. Photo by hat-trick design.

When creative director Gareth Howat and the firm he co-founded, hat-trick design, was presented with the opportunity to design the estate’s wayfinding system, they decided to make the project reflect that story. The result is a stunning system of modular tiles designed by local artists -- graffiti artist Boyd, Linda Florence, Rebecca Harold, The Type Museum, Erica Wakerley, Telegramme and Melanie LaRocque -- inspired by the centuries-old Victorian tiles found at the estate.

“Like the place itself, the signage is deliberately a mix,” says Howat. “We wanted to create functional art that was a decorative and showcased the history of the place.”

Comprising over 60 different patterns, the tile system was made to fit on multiple surfaces of the densely packed housing estate, including concrete, plaster, brick, metal and glass. Tile placement on the signage doesn't correspond directly to certain areas, but rather provides colorful reminders of the area’s diversity across the estate. One depicts the Empire Windrush, a ship that brought immigrants over from Jamaica in 1947, and others make visual references to the estate's skate park and 19th century Victorian villas. It’s been a long time coming -- initial proposals were submitted in 2007 to cultural consultancy Future City, but budget reasons delayed complete until just this winter. But now residents can see their neighborhood in a new light.

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