UCL Pearl

University College London | East London, UK


The challenge

Long-standing client University College London commissioned us to create the ultimate wayfinding strategy: one for a 9,500 square metre research facility focused on people movement and exploring how good design can improve safety and wellbeing.


UCL Pearl (Person Environment Activity Research Laboratory) will explore the behaviour of crowds in places and spaces, including moving environments such as public transport. The enormous laboratory will contain examples of modes of transport, including railway carriages and an Airbus aircraft, to enable researchers to recreate emergency scenarios.


What we did

We worked with project architect Penoyre & Prassad to develop a wayfinding strategy and a suite of internal signs to direct users to rooms, spaces, and facilities. Signs are positioned for maximum visibility and legibility, and information is clear and concise. We recommended the use of matte white lettering on black rubber backgrounds to provide the maximum contrast to legends and maps.


Externally, with accessibility in mind, we recommended the use of large corten totems and coloured running track pathways to guide visitors to the entrance. These also create a strong brand for the new facility.


Why it works

Accessibility is a design driver on all of our projects, but it was by far the most important consideration for this one. A high proportion of visitors will have mobility, visual, and cognitive challenges. If our designs work for them, they will work for everyone.

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