Manufacture and installation of 400 wayfinding signs at the V&A

Image courtesy of Sam Bush and dn&co

The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, with a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects. The Museum engaged award winning designers, dn&co to design a new wayfinding scheme. Developed in collaboration with allpointswest, the new system helps guide visitors through its vast 145 galleries, inviting them to explore the lesser-known parts of the museum collection. 

Reade Signs won a competitive tender to supply the wayfinding signage for the entire scheme throughout this iconic building. The project was recently featured in Design WeekCreative Review and Wallpaper. Read the full case study.  

As part of the project, we manufactured and installed over 400 directional signs made from Valchromat – a type of MDF. We selected this material because it’s uniquely dyed all the way through and cuts very well. The edges of all the sign panels were chamfered, so we needed a material that would give us a crisp cut. The signs were then faced with beautiful tulipwood veneers, which were dyed black. Tulipwood is pinkish yellowish wood, which is very light, but also very strong. This makes it a perfect choice for quality signage that will stand the test of time.

The hanging signs had to be very light, due to the physical constraints of the building, so we used another unique material called Banova plywood. This is a material made from sheets of laminated balsa wood and is very strong and unbelievably light. These signs were also faced with dyed tulipwood veneer.

When the Victoria and Albert Museum was founded in 1852, the buildings were intended to represent the best of contemporary architecture and design. Victorian parts of the building have a complex history, with additions made by different architects over the years. Many of the wall and ceiling materials were unknown to us, so we had to research and create multiple bespoke fixings that both protected the listed building and made it safe for visitors.

Philippa Simpson, Director of Design, Estate and FuturePlan at the V&A said: “Installing wayfinding at the V&A was an ambitious and enormously complex undertaking, and relied on excellent communication and collaboration. Reade Signs were a pleasure to work with throughout, showing sensitivity to the demands of the Grade 1* listed building as well as a full understanding of the design intent. They were quick and innovative in proposing solutions to any challenges, and made sure any disruption to the day-to-day operations of the museum was kept to a minimum.” Philippa explains the V&A wayfinding project here.

The finished wayfinding signage looks and fantastic and help visitors to make the most of their experience of this iconic and beautiful museum. 

If you would like to find out more about our wayfinding signage, museum panels and interpretation board services for museums and heritage buildings or other wayfinding projects for public areas, please get in touch on 01252 336000 or email [email protected]

All Images courtesy of Sam Bush and dn&co

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