Tower 42, famous for being the tallest building in the City of London, has made history again by being the first entrant outside the US to be recognised at The Office Building of the Year (TOBY) awards. Proud to be involved in the continuous remodeling of this remarkable building is Interior Sign of the Year Award winners, Signbox. Their innovative architectural signage has not only contributed to Tower 42's outstanding entry in the TOBY awards but is now about to completely change the wayfinding scheme with a brand new sophisticated image.
This year Tower 42 was presented with the Distinguished Entry Award at this year's Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International Annual Commercial Real Estate Congress in Dallas. The award was specifically created for their outstanding progress and standard of entry. Winners of this award are recognised for their excellence in categories including building management, operational efficiency and evacuation procedures. Tower 42, who liken their services to those provided by a top hotel, acknowledges that signage not only plays a significant part in achieving this superior status but is a huge influence on the contemporary interior architecture which differentiates this building.
"Signage is an architectural feature and changes the way people perceive a building," says Peter Merett, General Manager of Tower 42. "A stunning design is engaging especially when it is lit up by LED's. As part of our continuing improvements to keep the interior as a state of the art experience, we required modern classic signage for the entrance and lobby areas and a new innovative wayfinding system."
Peter contacted Signbox, who are one of the most innovative companies of their type in the UK. Their development of intelligently designed products has resulted in industry awards and involvement with high profile architectural projects. Project Manager, Richard Hart was delighted to be given the project:
"We were asked to provide architectural signage for the entrance area and lift lobbies to ensure continuity of image. The brief also requested us to design a wayfinding system which would simplify the visual presentation and make the lift route choice easier. Peter stipulated that the signs had to be contemporary and incorporate innovative lighting."
To create more light for the entrance and lift lobby areas, Richard opted not to use standard 'green glass' but a 'low iron' glass which is more effective in transmitting light. The glass was then installed into an aluminium 'tray' to provide a dark background which contrasts with the illuminated graphical elements on the glass. Also, the aluminium tray houses the low voltage electronic driver to illuminate the sign and its main focal points.
Using the patented LED Project lumos fixing and placing the glass onto a dark background created a striking effect and fitted in perfectly with the ethos of Tower 42. Apart from being aesthetically pleasing, LED has numerous benefits including: low emissions, a minimum life of 60,000 hrs and can be specified with automatic battery backup which ensures continuous illumination in the event of a power failure.
With just under 4000 occupants and an average of 6000 visitors a year, it's inevitable that people get lost in the matrix of lift routes that serve the 42 floors of businesses and the prestigious bar and restaurant on the top floor. After visiting Tower 42 a number of times, Richard reported that the existing system that used letters didn't communicate the routes effectively:
"My unfamiliarity with the building was a benefit as it enabled me to look at the task from a visitor's point of view and implement designs to suit someone who had never visited Tower 42. It has taken several months to design a system which is foolproof and will add a new creative element."
By using the colours red, green, blue and orange Signbox have successfully created a user friendly system. From checking in at reception visitors will be given a colour coded pass and asked to follow the matching coloured route. The new wayfinding system is due to be installed before Christmas but Peter has already received positive feedback:
"I have worked closely with Signbox over the last few months and it has been an evolutionary process. I think using colours is going to be fabulous and will give visitors and existing residents of Tower 42 an enjoyable experience. Following a colour is undoubtedly going to be user-friendly and quite fun!"
The installation of the new wayfinding system will be in conjunction with new voice announcements, buttons and new LED displays in the lifts.
"We have to be continually innovative and creative to maintain our fresh, up-to-date image. Signbox are a great company and very professional, their new wayfinding system is definitely going to make us stand out when we enter the TOBY awards next year," concludes Peter.