Wellcome Collection 09
10 May 2022

From A to B. Wayfinding is, in essence, very simple. The act of navigating, effortlessly and intuitively, from one point to another.

But as is often the case, obstacles and nuances can create complexity. As wayfinding consultants (we are a sister company to Pragma), our role is to resolve these challenges with elegance and style. One of the techniques we use to gain a deeper understanding of a scheme is to plot user journeys through a space.

Every journey begins with information
Coordinates. Data. Directions. The essential knowledge and instructions we need to get to where we want to go. We call this `progressive disclosure' – the controlled release of information, whereby we compartmentalise a journey into manageable and memorable stages. But once the journey begins, does the means of conveyance bring us to the right place? If it does, perfect. If not, we need to be somewhere else, and we need to know how to get there. Defining arrival points and the arrival sequence is therefore fundamental to our process.

When it comes to arrival, regular users and first-time visitors alike should feel any number of emotions – reassurance, pride, excitement, anticipation. What they shouldn't feel is fear or uncertainty. Upon arrival, questions arise. Are we at the right level of a building? Once we move past the welcome directory, where will we find our next cue? How do we know we are heading in the right direction?

A central focus of our wayfinding and UX strategy is the optimal placement of signs and navigational cues. But we always aim to add as few touchpoints as possible into the built environment. The architecture, narrative and experience are what draw people into and through a space. Our work must support, simplify and enhance this process.

Catering for all end users
We must also consider the needs and wishes of every possible end-user. VIPs, visitors, guest speakers, tradespeople, browsers, passers-by. Are people running late, or do they have time to take a less direct route? In educational environments, we might consider serendipitous encounters between students in between lectures. In cultural spaces, we might gently nudge people towards another exhibition or installation. The crucial point is that a building performs in ways that cater for a wide variety of needs and expectations. And it’s our job to ensure that it functions, through intelligent and relevant wayfinding, as well as possible for everyone.

These notional, top-line stages address just some of the elements within a wayfinding journey. The processes outlined above don't even touch upon design. Within a wayfinding scheme, design considerations are numerous and varied, but at all times our work must be respectful to, and align effortlessly with, the overall development. From design motifs and signature statements, through to product design and materiality, we must ensure that our work seamlessly integrates with a project’s ambitions and architecture.

Rightly, everyone involved in the built environment today wants to express their sustainability credentials. In this regard, a wayfinding scheme should function in two key ways. Firstly, through decisions relating to process and product. Lightness of touch through construction, for example, can help to ensure that, in 15-20 years' time, when a product reaches the end of its functional life, its materials can be reused and repurposed elsewhere. Secondly, the rigor, craft and refinement of our design means that the product we create stands the test of time – in terms of physical robustness, environmental sustainability, and enduring resolution of the original wayfinding challenge.

This is another key component of our wayfinding solutions. To ensure equality of access and enable as many people as possible to benefit from our schemes, we aim not only to meet industry standards, but to exceed them. At the same time, we must ensure that each scheme is context-relevant. From the time-critical navigation of a busy airport to the quiet reflection of a gallery visit, our work must be a calibrated response to the unique requirements of a particular space.

Over the next few years, we will doubtless see an increasing emphasis upon the seamless integration of digital – in terms of both personal devices that interact with a wayfinding scheme, and screens and interfaces within the sign system itself. But digital has to support the long-term goal of a project and space, enabling a wayfinding scheme to consistently perform to the same level over the course of its lifetime.

More than ever before, wayfinding brings with it a sense of responsibility. We must always design in a way that is future-fit, adaptable and updatable. We must consider a wide range of end-users and their requirements. And we must elegantly embed into architecture while striking a balance between functionality and aesthetic expression. Once we have resolved all of these challenges, we might be able to achieve wayfinding’s ultimate goal – effortless and intuitive navigation from one point to another. From A to B.

Albi Fielder
Creative Director
Holmes Wood

Stephen Schwartz
25 February 2022

Holmes Wood are delighted to be working with Hopkins Architects on the The Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities at the University of Oxford.

Seven faculties, two Institutes and seven libraries, along with a world-class concert hall and three other performance venues, plus exhibition and film screening spaces, will come together in a unique academic and public building near the centre of the city.

Holmes Wood will be delivering wayfinding strategy and design for the project.

Medicine Galleries
12 January 2022

We’re delighted two announce that two Holmes Wood projects have been shortlisted for the European Museum of the Year Award: The Box in Plymouth and Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries (pictured), at the Science Museum, London.

For The Box in Plymouth, we delivered wayfinding, devising a strategy and design that helped to both juxtapose and link past and present. At Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries, we designed the interpretation and environmental graphics for the galleries (themselves designed by WilkinsonEyre), helping to bring meaning to over 3000 medical objects included in the collection.

Congratulations and best of luck to all involved.

Sadlers Foyer News
06 January 2022

We're excited to be delivering wayfinding design for Sadler's Wells East at their new site in Stratford, London. Sadler's Wells East will support artist development and training, and the creation of new work. It will build the infrastructure for dance and make it accessible to more people. It will also house a flexible theatre where we will present a wide variety of dance performances. Community will be at the heart of Sadler's Wells East with a large open foyer that can be used by everyone, as a meeting or performance space. There will also be dance studios and world-class dance facilities for dancemakers to train, create and rehearse productions. Our wayfinding design is inspired by the movement of dance. Vertical reeded glass is used to create a sense of horizontal movement, whilst subtle reveals help to visually connect visitors to the core fabric of the building. The new site is due to open in summer 2023.

Holmes Wood Olympia
10 September 2021

Working with Future Olympia, Heatherwick Studios (Concept Architect), SPPARC (Masterplan Architect), LDA (Landscape) and Studio Fractal (Lighting) we are developing the wayfinding and placemaking scheme for this iconic new entertainment destination in West London. The development includes 2.5 acres of public space, a theatre, conference centre, live music venue, 20+ F&B outlets, two hotels, offices and exhibition venue.

Our proposed scheme draws upon key components of the architecture and the brand. Where possible we embed our wayfinding elements into the fabric of the architecture and the landscape to ensure a sense of permanence and longevity that suits the broad range of contemporary and historic buildings, many of which are listed.

Placemaking and the digital experience form key components of our scheme, allowing us to communicate the diverse history of the site.

Create Image
19 August 2021

This month, we're taking part in the Create Charity #cre8in8 challenge, variously running, walking, cycling and swimming 8k each, every day, for eight consecutive days.
We started an affiliation last December with Create, the UK's leading charity empowering lives through the creative arts and Charity of the Year 2020.Their focus is on engaging the marginalised communities in inspiring, sustainable arts programmes in areas where provision is poor and engagement in the arts is low. We'd love your support to reach our fundraising target - you can make a donation here.

Medicine Gallery Image 2
29 January 2021

We were excited to see the empty vial and syringe from the first official Pfizer/BioNTech immunisation injection being added to the Science Museum’s ‘Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries’ as part of the museum’s Group Collection and wider COVID-19 Collecting project. We were responsible for the interpretation and environmental graphics at the award-winning galleries, alongside WilkinsonEyre who designed the galleries themselves.

The vial and syringe were used for the COVID-19 immunisation injection of 90 year old Margaret Keenan at Coventry University Hospital, whose injection marked the first time anywhere in the world the vaccine had been used as part of a mass immunisation programme.

Read more here.

Elephant And Castle Town Centre Peninsula
21 January 2021

We’re delighted to announce our appointment to deliver wayfinding for the redevelopment of London’s iconic Elephant & Castle.

The prestigious project, which is being led by Delancey, Gardiner & Theobald and architects Allies & Morrison, will see the creation of an open-air pedestrianised town centre that brings together education, shops, restaurants and leisure, new homes and workspace as well as a major improvement in public transport.

Red Thing 2020 Final 800X1000
23 December 2020

Tier the season

After an unprecedented 2020, we are thrilled to have started an affiliation with Create; the UK’s leading charity empowering lives through the creative arts and Charity of the Year 2020.

We look forward to supporting Create in its great work throughout 2021.

And to all of our clients, friends and colleagues, we wish you a healthy and happy Christmas, and look forward to seeing you again soon.

Artboard 1 Copy@4X 100 1
26 October 2020

Pragma Consulting joins Handley House, parent company of Holmes Wood

Handley House, the parent company overseeing international design teams Holmes Wood, Benoy and Uncommon Land, has completed the purchase of Pragma Consulting. The addition of this fourth business to the company’s portfolio provides the group with commercial advice and strategic research alongside the existing technical knowledge and design expertise.

Pragma is the leading commercial advisor for investors and operators in mixed use, airports, travel, and retail property. With expertise in commercial strategy, commercial space planning and investment advice, Pragma’s offering will sit alongside the capabilities of the other Handley House businesses in masterplanning and architecture, to urban and landscape design, interior design and wayfinding.

Commenting on the acquisition, Tom Cartledge, CEO of Handley House, said: “For many years, we have considered how we bring greater analytical, research and data into our family of design businesses. We don’t aim for scale but for solutions across the broad spectrum of real estate. Unlike some of our contemporaries in the sector, we can offer clients the choice of working with one, two, three or all of our teams, depending on their preference and requirements. Alex and his team are skilled experts in their field, and we look forward to introducing our expanded offer to clients around the world.”

Alex Avery, CEO of Pragma, added: “We are really excited about joining Handley House and exploring the next chapter of Pragma’s story. After three decades, the business continues to offer market-leading commercial strategy support to our valued clients, and we are looking forward to the new opportunities ahead of us, across new sectors and new geographies.”

Pragma will be co-located with the other Handley House businesses in its studio in the City of London.

Medicine Sb 36 Web Res
15 October 2020

Congratulations to the Science Museum for winning the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year 2020 – the biggest museum prize in the world.

We’re proud to have been the graphic designers for the Science Museum’s new permanent galleries, Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries, where we were responsible for the interpretation and environmental graphics, alongside WilkinsonEyre who designed the galleries themselves.

The judges commended ‘the shift-change that has taken place in this well-known and much respected institution, not only in its spaces, but also in its relationship with its visitors and local communities,’ and suggested that ‘the museum has become the world's leading destination for people to be excited, inspired and delighted by science’.

Box Museum Update 021
30 September 2020

We're very excited to see The Box in Plymouth finally open to the public this week.

Appointed to provide wayfinding for the largest arts and heritage museum space to open in the UK in 2020, we devised a strategy and design that helped to bring together past and present. The scheme encompasses the centre’s entrances, gallery spaces and main communal areas, enabling a smooth – and COVID-secure – flow of people into and through the buildings. See more on our portfolio pages.

10 August 2020

Our sister company, Benoy, have been working on a mixed-use, sustainable development for 81–103 King’s Road.

To support their vision, our motion graphics team have helped to bring their concept to life with this engaging animation for the public consultation.

Watch to find out more about this new vibrant, biodiverse and pedestrian-friendly destination for a reimagined King’s Road.

Medicine Sb 26 Web Res
Medicine Sb 24 Edit
29 June 2020

We’re really proud to have been given an honourable mention in the Creative Review Annual 2020 Design, Installations and Exhibitions category for our work in the Science Museum’s Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries. We designed the interpretation and environmental graphics to bring the medical objects and the story of medicine to life.

The galleries have also been highly commended in the Design Week Awards 2020 Exhibition Design category. It’s fantastic recognition for these ‘elegant, timeless and captivating’ galleries – congratulations to WilkinsonEyre and the Science Museum Group too. Well done team!

22 June 2020

It’s one week to go before the announcement of the Design Week Awards 2020 winners, and we are very excited that the Science Museum has been shortlisted in two categories: Wayfinding and Environmental Graphics, and Exhibition Design. Fingers crossed!

02 June 2020

Ten weeks after lockdown started in the UK, and our work to feed the nation with Morrison’s began, we’re delighted to see our speedy shopper and social distancing work acknowledged by the Evening Standard.

Read the story here

Medicine Sb 39 Web Res
29 April 2020

We are delighted to be featured in a Museums + Heritage Advisor Q&A about our work for the Science Museum’s Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries, which opened last November to critical acclaim. Read the full article here.

Morrisons Artwork
27 March 2020

We’re proud to be helping Morrisons to feed the nation safely by working with them on a social distancing study. Our analysis of customer movement means we can advise on how best to control the flow of customers in-store while maintaining social distancing protocols and minimizing queues outside of the store.

Dj Carindale Day 1 39 Webres
16 January 2020

David Jones’ refurbished Carindale store reopened, with our new signs, for their Christmas trading. Building on our previous work with them, the new scheme makes use of sightlines across the store and a universal datum to highlight essential wayfinding information.

07 January 2020

As we enter into the new year and a new decade, we are delighted to introduce our new Motion Graphics showreel for 2020. Showcasing the many highlights that our Motion Graphics team produced last year.

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