SDS member, f.r.a. has boosted its bulging trophy cabinet with yet another prestigious award for their work on Borough Yards, a new dining, shopping, workplace, and cultural destination in the medieval heart of London’s Southwark. On 22 March they picked up the Gold Transform Award Europe trophy in recognition of excellence in creativity, for best wayfinding and signage. This is added to other recent wins for their work on Borough Yards, at the FX Awards and the Better Future London Design Awards 2022.
The judging panel for Transform Awards Europe which included senior figures from Channel 4, Twitter, Adidas, Pandora, and Oxford University Press, commended f.r.a’s work as, “wonderful and experiential wayfinding … artistically visually arresting.”
f.r.a. directors Wesley Meyer and Jamie Trippier collected the award. “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.”
f.r.a. set out to blur the lines of wayfinding, storytelling, and art. The Shrewsbury-based studio’s Creative Director Wesley Meyer said of the project, “Our approach to the design was to melt the site back into the fabric of Southwark … expressing 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, recounting the diverse characters who historically called Southwark home, from judges and noblemen 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. 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’” said Meyer.
23.03.2023 (3pm GMT): Want to find out more about this exciting and innovative development? It’s not too late to join us for the twilight tour of Borough Yards tonight.