Projectile Motion: Hat-Trick Design’s Stockwell Project Bring Local Art to Wayfinding
By Patrick Sisson / Published by Dwell

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.

Bird Box tile near the pond. Photo by hat-trick design.

“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.”

Signage on the Chute House. Photo by hat-trick design.

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.

Flat Sign on Robarts Street. Photo by hat-trick design.

A graffiti-inspired tile by Boyd decorates the Skate Park. Photo by hat-trick design.

Red, banner-like patterns decorate a map in Stockwell. Photo by hat-trick design.

Wall featuring an array of modular tiling. You can see the Roman road motif in the foreground. Photo by hat-trick design.

Wynter House signage, tile designed by Linda Florence. Photo by hat-trick design.

Patrick Sisson


During the course of his career writing about music and design, Patrick Sisson has made Stefan Sagmeister late for a date and was scolded by Gil Scott-Heron for asking too many questions. His work has appeared in Pitchfork, Nothing Major, Wax Poetics, Stop Smiling and Chicago Magazine.

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