The five main office and amenities buildings at London Gateway are spread over a three-mile site from one corner to the other. Furthermore, the architectural style used for each office varies greatly - from glass office building, to warehouse to border examinations room. To create a visual identity that linked all five buildings was key to creating a sense of cohesion throughout the site: a motif that would underpin the different colours, identities and graphics that were used in the different buildings and the different work that was carried out in each them. As the DP World global brand guidelines had no visual motif or graphic style that we could use, we decided to create our own visual identity to use throughout the project.
Drawing on the Architecture
One key design feature that was used throughout the admin building (which is the first port of call for external visitors) is a frosted glass manifestation pattern, used to create shading in the external glass panels. We got hold of the original template for this manifestation design from the architects Chetwoods and used this as a basis for our visual identity, breaking it down into a repeating pattern, with tonal variations.
We chose this pattern as it makes a formal connection between the glass admin building and the operational buildings further within the site. Furthermore, the shifting rectangular boxes in the pattern create a visual link with the containers on the quayside and in the yard, which are shifted about like a Tetris puzzle all day long by the cranes. We therefore chose to call this motif the “shifting box” motif and used it throughout the project.
Applications of the Shifting Box motif
We used the motif throughout the site, in a variety of scales and sizes. We used a large scale of the motif for the decals in the stairwells around the three main buildings: the stairwells are high footfall areas, with a high number of external visitors so we wanted to create a bold, imposing impact as you first enter the buildings.
We used the motif on a slightly smaller scale within individual meeting rooms along with key words from DP World brand messaging and photos from the port in operations. We used it along corridors, such as along the 25 metre corridor in the border control post: here we used a variety of colours to create interest along the corridor.
The motif worked well as a holder or frame for the individual visual identities of the buildings. For example, in the Terminal building, it is used as a holder for the technical drawings used throughout the building, whilst in the Amenities and Admin buildings it holds duotone photographs of the port in operations.
The shifting Box motif is also used throughout the site in smaller applications, such as on all the communications boards as well as on the wayfinding decals used on the cupboards and on external marketing collateral such as pop-ups.
The Result is a series of office and amenities buildings, across a three mile site, that feel cohesive for the first time; with a clear and unifying identity binding them, but also allowing them to have their own individual identities.