This month, we celebrate 21 years since Placemarque began its journey.
It has been a wonderful two decades filled with incredible projects, standout clients, innovative solutions, and plenty of good times.
Last year we couldn’t celebrate in the way we intended. For our birthday this year, we’re publishing our long-awaited book – originally intended to commemorate our 20th birthday but, like many things in 2020, was put on hold. It celebrates some of our achievements and most memorable projects from the last 21 years, and we’re pretty proud of it.
Take University College London, for example. UCL’s campus is embedded in a highly urban environment with porous borders and many differing destinations and uses adjoining it. Our key objective was to help reinforce the university’s brand as an internationally-leading university. We are still working closely with UCL, bringing brand continuity across approximately 300 college buildings, including one of their newest landmark buildings, UCL Pearl, in East London
Maybe we’re getting nostalgic in our old age, but we’ve found ourselves reflecting on how the world has changed since we’ve been on the scene and what might be around the corner.
These past 12 months have seen more change than we ever expected. And whilst it’s true that some of these changes we would never have predicted, others have been part of a steady tide of change, merely accelerated by these strange times.
For some time we have been aware of a growing voice saying that in our complex, congested environments, people seek simple information, natural clues and genuine human interaction.
The world around us is becoming ever more digital – in both design and navigation. It’s opening up huge opportunities to enhance visitor experience and help people to navigate. I am sure we have all gratefully relied on digital technologies to enable communication when “in-person” wasn’t possible. But, all the same, we have been starved of face-to-face interactions.
The pandemic has made it painfully clear that it’s in our nature to be connected to one another and that we flourish in real communities and real places. And whilst digital innovation makes life easier in many ways, it simply cannot replace the experience of engaging with and exploring a real place.
So, we press on. Whatever the location, we make it our mission to keep encouraging visitors to walk a little further, stay a little longer, and always be that little bit more curious.
As our milestone birthday coincides with the gradual return to the office, we are opening the proverbial door with our newly acquired key. And, peering around the corner at what the next 21 years might hold, we see a future where local communities value their public spaces more highly, use their green areas more frequently and protect their local identities more fiercely.
We are sure that, wherever we work, our approach to wayfinding and placemaking will help to create great places that connect with people.