Behind the Scenes: Building Signage

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Since last autumn we’ve been informing passing visitors about MK Gallery expansion with a combination of posters and vinyl signs that can be seen at eye level on our main building and project space. But yesterday we were pleased at last to add  some boldly-scaled text signs high up on the main gallery, to further promote the exciting news of our expansion.

We’ve added a few simple words that can be read in association with the existing gallery logos on two façades.  Now, from across Midsummer Boulevard, drivers and pedestrians can easily read the message “MK Gallery is expanding” and on our main entrance in Margaret Powell, thousands of theatre-goers and other passers-by will see the message “MK Gallery reopening 2017”. This signage scheme will remain in place for most of the construction period, and is intended to be visible above the safety and security site hoardings that will enclose the building later this spring.

Behind the scenes a surprising amount of work went into getting a few words up high on the building! We teamed up with MK-based company Signarama for the project who know our building well, as they successfully instated our striking branded graphics scheme over 5 years ago. Work began last summer, with the recommendation of a cost-effective and convenient vinyl signage method, that met our brief.

Tracy Clark of Signarama explains: “As the painted rendered surface of MK Gallery’s main building has an “orange peel” rather than perfectly smooth finish, we wanted to be confident that the vinyl would survive weathering and stick properly.  For this reason we produced some sample letters printed onto vinyl with an ultra tack adhesive and applied a protective matt laminate over the top.  We then ran a test application of the letters for four months on an inconspicuous bit of wall at the staff entrance. Inspecting the test patch last week, we were satisfied that the vinyl material was up to the job and happy to proceed.

In the meantime we applied to MK Council Planning Department for the relevant advertising planning consent. Once again, Signarama provided support by producing detailed scaled drawings / photographic visualisations for the application, indicating the exact position and scale of the text on the building. We also shared the design for the signs with our neighbour MK Theatre in case they had any feedback, and we were pleased to have their endorsement of our advertising planning application from their General Manager, Emma Sullivan.

Since 31 December 2015 when we were granted advertising planning approval, we’ve had very wet weather and some lively hurricane force winds! But yesterday Signarama felt that the conditions were right to work at height to install. Taking advantage of a perfectly still, sunny, if rather chilly afternoon, they completed the task in a couple of hours, carefully avoiding the hoards of school children filing around our building at the start and finish of “Gangsta Granny” at MK Theatre.

Our thanks to Signarama for all their professional assistance. We love the results and hope you do too. Here is a slide show of some pictures taken during the installation.

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6a architects nominated for European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture

We are absolutely delighted that 6a, architects and design team leaders for the MK Gallery Expansion project, have been nominated not once but twice for the 2015 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, also known as the Mies Van der Rohe Award. Nominations have been given to the firm for their designs for the Paul Smith store façade and Tree House, and they sit alongside 19 other nominations from the UK, including Zaha Hadid’s Aquatics Centre for the London Olympics and the Stirling Prize-winning Everyman Theatre in Liverpool by Haworth Tompkins.

The Mies Van der Rohe Award was established in 1983 by the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe in Barcelona. The €60,000 award is one of the most prestigious and important awards for European architecture and is awarded biennially. The prize has two key objectives: to recognise and commend excellence, and to draw attention to important contributions to European architecture.

The full list of nominess can be viewed here.

 

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Above, from L-R: Tree House and Paul Smith Store Facade by 6a Architects