DMA Signs: Bath Abbey
The last Gothic Church in England, Bath Abbey, was started in 1499 and built on the ruins of the Norman Cathedral. The Discovery Centre is Bath Abbey’s brand-new heritage centre, designed to bring the Abbey’s history to life. Opened in March 2023 and objects from the Abbey’s archives are displayed in this custom-built area, constructed within the ancient vaults beneath the Abbey building.
DMA Signs were commissioned to manufacture and install interpretation boards, bronzed finish noticeboards and bespoke freestanding displays, along with complementary internal and external signage to direct and inform visitors about this exciting new space
The interpretation boards included beautiful hand-drawn illustrations showcasing the history and architecture of the Abbey. To ensure every board fitted perfectly, we undertook a full site survey, as we had to fit around freestanding displays, interactive screens, arches and even monks’ robes!
The signs showcased a range of materials, including folded clear acrylic, specialist bronzed finished signs, optically clear window manifestation and timber-finished internal directional signage.
Working alongside the client and consultants ABG Design, DMA Signs had a tight window to erect the boards and signage, working around an array of forthcoming events. The centre is now open and receiving fantastic reviews, inspiring all those that enter.
Into Print Digital: Trainers: A Global Obsession
Working with a longstanding client, Into Print Digital brought to life the Northampton Borough Council Museum and Art Gallery’s Pop-Up Exhibition titled “Trainers: A Global Obsession.” This exhibition celebrated the trainer’s cultural significance and was a tribute to NMAG’s Designated Shoe collection, an assembly of over 15,000 shoes and 60,000 shoe-related artefacts of national and international importance.
Between 2008 and 2011, NMAG was part of the Heritage Lottery’s Collecting Cultures Project, aimed at broadening the museum’s acquisitions. While the trainer collection had garnered global loans, it lacked a dedicated display after the 2009 “Sport to Street” exhibition, leading to the need for a fresh approach. The objective was to curate an accessible exhibition to engage a wider audience, particularly those who wouldn’t typically visit the museum, fostering curiosity about the historical and cultural nuances of trainers.
The exhibition was structured around seven key themes: Origins, Sports and Athletics, Street Culture, Celebrity Endorsements, Technology and Innovation, Sustainability and Ethics, and Trainers Today. These themes guided visitors through the journey of trainers, from their inception to contemporary designs.
The project faced challenges in achieving sustainability through the use of eco-friendly printed materials like wallpaper and floor graphics while repurposing existing hardware. An innovative solution involved installing a basketball court, adding an interactive and thematic element to the story.
The exhibition eloquently showcased NMAG’s extensive collection, spotlighting 720 pairs of trainers and related items. Iconic pieces like Nike’s waffle sole, Air Jordans, Adidas Forest Hills, and Reebok Instapump endorsed by Jackie Chan were on display, alongside unique items like a two-meter plastic training shoe created for an advertising campaign.
The exhibition achieved resounding success, drawing diverse audiences and garnering media attention both in the UK and abroad. This accomplishment highlighted the collection and Northampton’s rich shoe manufacturing history. Following this triumph, our client has planned subsequent exhibitions for the same space.
MacroArt: The Photographers Gallery – Turning Soho’s Streets Into A Gallery
The Photographers’ Gallery wanted to turn the alleys and streets around Soho into a permanent new art gallery. MacroArt worked with the client and its partners to get the necessary permissions and structures in place to create the perfect spaces for artwork to bring the impact of exhibitions into the public eye.
In 2022, they worked with The Photographer’s Gallery in Soho, London, by installing a large-scale interchangeable art frieze and banner graphics to create a reusable exhibition space on the streets outside. They met considerable challenges in producing and installing the complex permanent and reusable 45m x 8.5m frame onto a building opposite the Gallery.
After a full survey, brackets and lighting troughs were manufactured. MacroArt produced framework sections to meet the necessary specifications and secure the impressive graphics, which were then printed as a single element on a 5m wide printer.
To date, there have been two displays, with the interchangeable spaces being used for two separate gallery exhibitions. The first display in June 2022, called ‘Being Human, Human Being’, featured art by Dr Christian Thompson AO. This was followed in November with work from contemporary photographer Gideon Mendel’s ‘Fire / Flood’ project.
The gallery will continue to host two exhibitions a year, utilising the reusable graphic structures to display high-impact artwork across Soho.
In all, over 400m2 of graphics were produced for the displays, using PVC-free materials to enhance the overall sustainability of the project. The uniquely designed, tailor-made unobtrusive aluminium frame stands proud of the building, providing a seamless, reusable, and elegant display for each work whilst providing sufficient room for venting, service electrics and lighting.
This was a challenging project, requiring in-depth attention to the technical detail, combining complex fitting requirements, and very large graphics. The results speak for themselves, with The Photographers’ Gallery and the surrounding streets being the perfect space to showcase free displays for the public in a highly impactful and visual way.
Sapphire Signs: Falklands Memorial
How do you make thousands of cards create a picture to stand on its own so that each has its own space, presenting them as individual postcards which create one vast picture? This is the task facing Sapphire Signs for the Falklands Memorial for the Royal British Legion.
Initially, all that was created was a picture by a painter to commemorate the Falklands, approaching 40 years since the conflict. It took a lot of work and planning to figure out how to present each postcard so that it could float and be placed into a huge structure. On the reverse of each card, there was to be a message from those who support the Royal British Legion to put their thoughts or memories of the Falklands. Each card was to have its own section.
In the factory, Sapphire created acrylic sheets of 3m x 2m and then added small, evenly spaced sections made out of acrylic, which would hold each card and allow it to sit in its own setting. These had to be inserted on-site at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire. The frame was constructed in steel with concrete blocks in the base to hold and give weight to the structure. Each card was numbered so the picture would be correct and all in place.
It was all moved from Hull to Staffordshire and craned into position, then each card was placed manually to create the picture, and then the handwritten cards were placed in. It was like a sandwich of three parts, the filing was the centrepiece of acrylic, with small acrylic pieces to form holders on each side for the cards to be supported. Finally, the acrylic sheets were sealed into place to make the structure watertight and secure.
This exhibition piece was in prime position during the events which took place to mark 40 years since the Falklands and has now been moved to a Royal British Legion site. A smaller version was shipped to the Falkland Islands.
Wild Visual Communications: Talisker Distillery Experience
Wild VC took great pride in managing the creation and installation of all branding and signage for the new Talisker Experience in Skye. Commissioned by Diageo’s experience agency, BRC, they collaborated to outline the scope of work and material choices to craft an engaging visitor experience while respecting the operational nature of the distillery.
This encompassed a comprehensive array of brand touchpoints, from wallpapers and wayfinding to exterior signage. The latter proved more intricate due to the signage’s durability needs on the exposed North Atlantic coastline of Skye.
Wild VC’s commitment to being a B Corp-certified business ensures every project has ethical and sustainable considerations. Material selection, longevity, and workforce dynamics are all approached with the aim of maximising positive impact.
In the realm of interior printed elements, they opted for recycled yarn wallpaper for expansive prints. Where vinyl was necessary, they favoured PVC-free alternatives to mitigate production-related environmental effects. Exterior signage was meticulously crafted from high-quality treated materials to ensure longevity. Moreover, they collaborated with the client to design elements that could be updated with minimal replacements, further extending their lifespans.
To ensure production processes never hindered creativity, they closely aligned with the client’s vision. By experimenting with materials, they harnessed light dynamics within the space while enhancing the architectural wooden elements.
The project’s most formidable challenge was its remote location on the Isle of Skye, far from major population centres. This necessitated the transportation of items across substantial distances, with limited storage space prior to installation. Mitigating on-site issues demanded meticulous planning and phasing. Wild VC synchronised the production schedule with the onsite construction workers and distillery staff, allowing them to minimise deliveries and optimise installation efficiency.
The outcome is a remarkable brand sanctuary and visitor experience for Talisker.