Signbox plays a key role as landmark west London office building, The Mille, is transformed with a full refurbishment

Following its successful interior and exterior signage refit of west London office building Vantage London, announced in late 2016, Signbox headed west along the M4 and has delivered again, this time for The Mille. This now newly refurbished landmark building offers stylish, contemporary offices for modern businesses. Situated on a section of the A4 known as The Golden Mile and beside a raised section of the M4, The Mille sits alongside GSK’s global headquarters and is conveniently located for Heathrow airport and for central London.

As part of a full refurbishment of this twelve storey building over five months, from August to December 2016, Signbox worked closely with building owners McKay Securities, architects Spratley Studios and specialist contractors KeyShel Interiors to deliver high-quality bespoke signage – from high-elevation, exterior illuminated lettering to reception signage, directory listings and wayfinding totems.

Signbox had worked successfully with all three of these companies before, but what really convinced the client they were right for the job was the fact that they were able to provide a design solution to erect scaffolding at the top of the building in order to complete the crucial high-elevation aspect of the project. This was a hugely complex challenge, as there is only a gap of a few hundred millimetres between the blue light wall, to which the signage was to be attached, and the building’s edge. Signbox was able to deliver a workable solution to this problem – both in theory and in practice.

Built-up, traditional ‘back to back ‘letters were fabricated with bonded-in polycarbonate faces to ensure that the letter construction could withstand the high wind loads imposed on this exposed elevation, 60 metres above ground and the motorway. For simple and safe access when units require maintenance and replacement, Signbox set remote switchgear in accessible enclosures.

In addition to this high elevation signage, visible to tens of thousands of London motorists every day, Signbox delivered a range of interior signage, including directory listings, illuminated reception signage and back-decorated glass panels. Outside the building, Signbox also installed wayfinding totems and carpark signage, all to their usual high standards of quality.

The specialist 30mm Spectron acrylic letters for the reception area were manufactured with embedded LEDs to provide seamless long-life internal illumination, each letter controlled by a remote independent driver with its own dimming unit, allowing the circuit to be balanced and ensuring perfect even illumination.

The internal reception glass directory and desk decoration was achieved with Optiwhite low-iron glass. Optically clear, it ensured that the colour achieved through reverse decoration of glass was not altered or deflected by the green tinge created by that iron content. Specialist films and blocking materials were all applied with exacting pressure via pneumatic rollers, ensuring a perfect, blemish-free finish on these large high profile areas of glazing located in full sun.

External arrival signage was fabricated in 316 stainless steel, a high quality architectural grade material providing suitably imposing entrance signs, while secondary vehicular and pedestrian signage was achieved by way of the Signbox Stealth range, a freestanding elliptical extruded aluminium product range.

“The high elevation lettering posed the biggest challenge,” says Signbox Senior Project Manager, Andrew O’Hara. “We had to draw on our many years of collective experience in order to make that happen safely and efficiently. But beyond that, there were other challenges to overcome. The illuminated signage behind reception needed to be installed in such a way that there were no visible fixings. To achieve this we worked closely with the architects and their specialist joinery contractors to find a satisfactory solution.”

The sheer scale of a full internal and external refit in a building the size of the Mille poses further challenges of its own. “As it’s a twelve storey building, the refurbishment programme had to work to a very strict timetable and Signbox had to comply with this while working alongside multiple contractors,” O’Hara continues. “But ultimately we were able deliver on everything expected of us to a very high standard and this has immediately led on to further project work at The Mille and to subsequent projects with the client, the architects and the interior refit contractors.”